Inequalities in Educational Attainment

  • Dilaka LathapipatEmail author
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 42)


In recent decades, Thailand has been highly successful in expanding coverage of its basic education system. However, a growing body of empirical evidence indicates that there remain serious issues related to low learning outcomes and rising inequalities in student performance in standardized assessments. For example, in the PISA 2012 reading assessment, one-third of Thai 15-year-old students were classified as “functionally illiterate,” lacking critical skills for many jobs in a modern economy. Students in rural areas, who predominantly attend small schools which are severely lacking in adequate teachers and infrastructure, are not receiving the same quality education that their counterparts in bigger, urban schools are receiving. These rural students, often from Thailand’s poorest families, are also falling further behind. The gaps in learning outcomes at the lower education levels inevitably lead to a concentration of enrolment disparities between socioeconomic groups at the upper secondary and, particularly, the tertiary level. Based on recent research evidence, this chapter identifies the most important equity and quality challenges facing the Thai education system. It argues that Thailand has the resources to build a high-performing education system – one built on schools that utilize the full potential of high-quality teachers and prepare students with the critical skills for success in a modern economy. However, a strong political will is needed if the types of reforms suggested here are to be implemented successfully.


PISA Programme For International Student Assessment (PISA) Economic, Social And Cultural Status (ESCS) Office Of The Basic Education Commission (OBEC) AFQT Scores School Received 
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.World Bank-ThailandPathumwan, BangkokThailand

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