Regional Educational Disparities in Thailand

  • Gerald W. FryEmail author
  • Hui Bi
  • Rosarin Apahung
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 42)


Multiple theoretical/conceptual frameworks guide the analyses of this chapter, namely, central place theory (Christaller), forms of capital (Bordieu), economies of scale (Simon), and fiscal neutrality (Glenn). The analyses of this chapter are based on an extensive disaggregated provincial level data set with over 50 empirical educational, social, and economic indicators for each province of Thailand. With these extensive data, it is possible to develop a psychometrically sound index of the quality of education for each of Thailand’s 77 provinces. Then the correlates of educational quality are examined and ranked in order. Among factors having the most explanatory power are region of the province, number of universities in the province, percent of small schools (negative factor), and gross provincial per capita. Relatively high levels of economic and educational disparities are found. The ten provinces with the highest quality of education are identified as are the ten provinces with the lowest quality in rank order. Not surprisingly the provinces with the highest quality of education are in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area and Phuket. Those with the least quality were found in the remote North (Mae Hong Son), Northeast (Nong Bua Lam Phu), and South (Yala and Narathiwat). The research underlying this chapter was based on mixed methods. Qualitative field research was done in November 2015 in the most remote part of Isan (Bueng Kan) to hear local perspectives on regional disparities. One of us coauthors (Rosarin) is an educator from this remote area of Isan and shares valuable and diverse perspectives in helping to interpret our quantitative data and to develop alternative public policies for reducing regional disparities, which conclude the chapter.


Fiscal Neutrality Rosarin Educational Quality Phuket Office Of The National Education Commission (ONEC) 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and DevelopmentCollege of Education and Human Development, University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Chinese Language ProgramSt. Olaf CollegeNorthfieldUSA
  3. 3.Sang Nongthum School ClusterSang VillageBueng KanThailand

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