The Evolution and Current Status of STEM Education in Thailand: Policy Directions and Recommendations

  • Sumonta PromboonEmail author
  • Fred N. Finley
  • Kittisak Kaweekijmanee
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 42)


The concept of STEM education was introduced in Thailand around 2012, and the implementation of STEM education is now required. Our review of the evolution of STEM education in Thailand, the current status of its development, and the need for STEM education results in a set of related recommendations. The key one is that a set of characteristics of STEM education be used in different combinations to formulate multiple valid forms of STEM education. The various types should be tailored to meet regional or local contexts and needs. The effects of using different forms of STEM education will be enhanced if STEM ideas and practices are taught in relation to authentic real-life activities (authentic learning). The use of such activities can be enhanced by developing moderate levels of integration between the academic and vocational education systems. We also propose that developing alternative forms of STEM education be done as modules that can be evaluated, revised, and shared rather than as a single, one size fits all curriculum. In addition, we suggest that authentic assessment systems will need to accompany these innovations. The use of multiple forms of STEM education can effectively enhance STEM education for all and help address critical human resource needs. Those needs include enhancing the STEM literacy of the general population as well as politicians and government officials, increasing the availability of qualified people to work in STEM-related fields, and expanding the pool of people who consider entering STEM fields to contribute to research, development, and innovation.


STEM Education National Science And Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) Association Of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Programme For International Student Assessment (PISA) King Mongkut’s University Of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) 
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.


  1. Abeles, Vicki. 2015. Beyond measure: Rescuing an overscheduled, overtested, underestimated generation. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  2. Applegate, Evan. 2013. Correlations: The middle-income trap. Bloomberg Businessweek.
  3. Argyris, Chris. 1980. Inner contradictions of rigorous research. New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  4. Barell, John. 2016. Moving from what to what if?: Teaching critical thinking with authentic inquiry and assessments. Taylor and Francis, 2016.
  5. Bender, William N. 2017. 20 strategies for STEM instruction. West Palm Beach: Learning Sciences International.Google Scholar
  6. Bybee, Rodger W. 2010. Advancing STEM education: A 2020 vision. Technology and Engineering Teacher 70 (1): 30–35.Google Scholar
  7. Chaiyuth Punyasavatsut. 2013. Thailand: Issues in education. In Education in South-East Asia, ed. Lorraine Pe Symaco, 275–297. London: Bloomsbury Academic.Google Scholar
  8. Chatree Faikhamta, and Luecha Ladachart. 2016. Science education in Thailand: Moving through crisis to opportunity. In Science education research and practice in Asia, ed. Mei-Hung Chiu, 197–214. Singapore: Springer. Scholar
  9. Chessler, Naomi C., Golnaz Arastoopur, Cynthis M. D’Angelo, Elizabeth A. Baglley, and Daivd Williamsom Shaffer. 2013. Advances in engineering education design of a professional practice simulator for educating and motivating first-year engineering students. Advances in Engineering Education. Winter.
  10. Chulalongkorn University. 2014. Prawat Chula [History of Chulalongkorn University]. Bangkok: Chulalongkorn University.
  11. Cohen, Patricia. 2016. A rising call to foster STEM fields, and decrease liberal arts funding. New York Times, February 22, p. B1.Google Scholar
  12. Commission for Disseminating Science, Technology, and IT, Commission on Education and Sports, National Legislative Assembly. 2014. Raingan kanphitchana sueksa khosenue choeng nayobai: Satem sueksa (STEM Education) nayobai choeng ruk phua phatana yaowachon lae kamlang khon than withayasat teknoloyi wisawakamsat lae kanitsat [Policy proposal: STEM education, proactive policy for youth and workforce development in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics]. Bangkok: National Legislative Assembly. Presented to the Assembly on September 12.Google Scholar
  13. Cronbach, Lee J. 1982. Designing evaluations of educational and social programs. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  14. Cummings, William K. 1980. Education and equality in Japan. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Feldman, Anna. 2015. STEAM rising: Why we need to put the arts into STEM education. Future Tense: The Citizens Guide to the Future, June 16.
  16. Finley, Fred N. 2012. A perspective on STEM education. Paper prepared for the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology, and National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Office, Thailand.Google Scholar
  17. Fry, Gerald W. 2015. The value and importance of internships: A path to improved productivity. The Nation, August 17.
  18. Gladwell, Malcolm. 2008. Outliers: The story of success. New York: Little, Brown and Company.
  19. Goldin, Claudia Dale, and Lawrence F. Katz. 2008. The race between education and technology. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Institute for the Promotion of Science and Technology. 2015. STEM network manual. Bangkok: IPST.Google Scholar
  21. Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST). 2014a. Raingan nakrian rian thun pho so wo tho [Report on IPST’s scholarship students]. Bangkok: IPST.Scholars Statistics].
  22. ———. 2014b. Phon kanpramuen PISA 2012 Khanitasat kanan lae withayasat bot sarup samrab phuborihan [PISA 2012 results in mathematices, reading, and science: Executive summary]. Bangkok: Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology.Google Scholar
  23. ———. 2014c. Khana witayasat mahawitayalai Phayao [School of Science, University of Phayao].
  24. ———. 2014d. Results of PISA 2012 assessment: Mathematics, reading and science, what students know and what students can do. Bangkok: IPST.Google Scholar
  25. ———. 2014e. Khruakhai STEM sueksa [STEM Education Network].
  26. ———. 2014f. STEMsueksa prathet Thai [STEM Education Thailand].
  27. ———. 2014g. Prawat khrongkan songsuem kanpalit khru thi mi khwamsamat phiset thang withayasat lae kanitasat [History of the Promotion of Science and Mathematics Talented Teachers Project].
  28. International Institute for Management Development. 2006. IMD World competitiveness yearbook 2006. International Institute for Management Development.Google Scholar
  29. ———. 2007. IMD World competitiveness yearbook 2007. International Institute for Management Development.Google Scholar
  30. ———. 2008. IMD World competitiveness yearbook 2008. International Institute for Management Development.Google Scholar
  31. ———. 2009. IMD World competitiveness yearbook 2009. International Institute for Management Development.Google Scholar
  32. ———. 2014. The most comprehensive database on the competitiveness of nations, compiled since 1989.
  33. IPST. See Institute for the Promotion of the Teaching of Science and Technology.Google Scholar
  34. Johnson, David W., Roger T. Johnson, and Edythe Johnson Holubec. 1994. The new circles of learning: Cooperation in the classroom and school. Alexandria: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1994.
  35. Klein, Julie T. 2010. Creating interdisciplinary campus cultures: A model for strength and sustainability. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2010.Google Scholar
  36. Kline, Stephen J. 1995. Conceptual foundations for multidisciplinary thinking. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Komkrit Chomsuwan. 2014. Khrongkan phatana laksut dan withayasat teknoloyi lae nawatakam hai sot khlong kab kanpuem khidkhwamsamat nai kankhaengkhan khong prathet [Project to develop the STEM curriculum to enhance the country’s competitiveness]. Powerpoint presentation at the seminar on STEM education best practices in SCiUS project, Khon Khaen, April 1.Google Scholar
  38. Li, Yanyan, Maiga Chang, Milos Kravcik, Elvira Popescu, Ronghuai Huang, and Nian-Shing Chen Kinshuk, eds. 2016. State-of-the-art and future directions of smart learning. Singapore: Springer.Google Scholar
  39. Little Scientists’ House (LSH). 2014. Khwampenma khong khrongkan [Project rationale and origins]. LSH. See Little Scientists’ House.
  40. Magee, R. 2013. 2013 Thailand curriculum reform: FAQs. Presentation at Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Center, June 25.Google Scholar
  41. Mahidol Wittayanusorn School. 2013. 2556 Laksut rongrian mahidol withayanuson puthasakarat 2556 [Mahidol Wittayanusorn School curriculum 2013].
  42. Ministry of Education Thailand. 2008. The basic education core curriculum B.E.2551.
  43. Montri Chulavatanatol. 2014. STEMsueksa prathet Thai: Yuthasat lae phaen thi thamngan [STEM education Thailand: Strategies and working plan]. Powerpoint presentation presented at STEM Thailand Forum, Bangkok, Thailand, September 9.Google Scholar
  44. Narasimharao, B. PanduRanga. 2017. Handbook of research on science education and university outreach as a tool for regional development.
  45. National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB). 2012. The eleventh national economic and development plan (2012–2016).
  46. National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT). 2014. [Data and research indicators an dissemination plan].
  47. National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA). 2014a. Khrongkan mahawithayalai lek [Thailand Children’s University]. Scholar
  48. ———. 2014b. Rabob sarasonthet nakrian thun [Information system of scholarship students].
  49. National Science Technology and Innovation Policy Office. 2012a. Dachani withayasat lae teknoloyi khong prathet Thai pi 2555 [Thailand science and technology indicators 2012] Bangkok: Print City.Google Scholar
  50. ——— (STI). 2012b. Nayobai lae phaen withayasat teknoloyi lae nawatakam haeng chat chabab 1 (pho so 2555–2564) [1st National Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy Master Plan (2012–2021)]. Bangkok: STI.Google Scholar
  51. ———. 2013. Khit Khwamsamat nai kankhaengkhan khong prathet Thai dan withayasat teknologyi lae nawatakam 2556 doi International Institute for Management Development (IMD) bot wikhro lae kho senuenae chueng nayobai [Analysis and policy recommendations on Thailand’s science technology and innovation competitiveness by IMD, 2013]. In STI Review.Google Scholar
  52. November, Alan C. 2010. Empowering students with technology. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.Google Scholar
  53. ———. 2012. Who owns the learning?: Preparing students for success in the digital age. Bloomington: Solution Tree Press. Scholar
  54. Nutthanichchaya Kullatat, Chanyah Dahsah, Somson Wongyounoi, and Prasong Mateapinitkul 2015. Context-Based Learning Model: CBLM as a tool for promoting science communication abilities and learning achievement. Paper presented at the annual international conference for Science Educators and Teachers, Kasetsart University, Thailand July 17–19.Google Scholar
  55. OEC. See Office of the Education Council.Google Scholar
  56. OECD. 2016. PISA 2015: Results in focus: Paris: OECD Publishing.
  57. Office of the Civil Service Commission. 2014. Statistics of students studying abroad under the supervision of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), Thailand as of 28 February 2014. Bangkok: CSC.Google Scholar
  58. Office of the Education Council (OEC). 2009. Proposals for the second decade of education reform (2009–2018). Bangkok: OEC.Google Scholar
  59. ———. 2010. Kansueksa khwamdongkan kamlang khon puea wang phaen kanpalit lae phatana kamlang khon khong prathet [A study of manpower demand for the country’s human resource development planning]. Bangkok: OEC.Google Scholar
  60. Office of the National Education Commission. 1999. National education act of B.E.2542 (1999).
  61. Office of the National Education Commission (ONEC). 2001. National Eduction Act B.E. 2542 (1999). Bangkok: ONEC.Google Scholar
  62. ———. 2003. National Eduction Act B.E. 2542 (1999) and Amendments (Second National Education Act) B.E. 2545 (2002). Bangkok: ONEC.Google Scholar
  63. ONEC. See Office of the National Education Commission.Google Scholar
  64. OPM. See Office of the Prime Minister.Google Scholar
  65. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 2014. PISA 2012 results in focus: What 15-year-olds know and what they can do with what they know?
  66. Pahomov, Larissa. 2014. Authentic learning in the digital age: Engaging students through inquiry.
  67. Pokpong Junvith, and Sunthorn Tunmuntong. 2012. Rongrian thangluack kab thangluak nai kansueksa khong prachachon [Alternative schools: Alternative education for people]. Paper presented at a seminar,“Revamping Thai Education System: Quality for All”, Bangkok, Thailand. 15 February 2012 at TDRI, Bangkok.Google Scholar
  68. Pornchai Inchai. 2013. Kansang khruakhai khayai phon STEM nai khrongkan phatana lae songsuem phu mi khwamsamat phiset namrong lae phatana pen sun donbaeb STEM [Network building for disseminating STEM results under the project to develop and support those with special abilities (DPST) and transform this into the STEM Thailand best practices center]. Powerpoint presentation presented at STEM Thailand Forum. February 27, Bangkok, Thailand.Google Scholar
  69. Ramírez Montoya, María Soledad, ed. 2017. Handbook of research on driving STEM learning with educational technologies.
  70. Schlossstein, Dominik. 2007. Use of technology foresight in S&T policy making: A Korean experience. In Innovation and Technology in Korea, ed. Jörg C. Mahlich and Werner Pascha, 175–193. Heidelberg: Physica-Verlag HD.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Science Society of Thailand. 1998. 50 pi samakhom withayasat haeng prathet Thai nai phraboromrachapatham [50 Years of the Science Society of Thailand under the patronage of H.M.the King.], 127–130. Bangkok: Dansuttha Printing.Google Scholar
  72. Snow, C.P., and Stefan Collini. 1993. The two cultures. London: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Sokal, Alan D., and J. Bricmont. 1998. Nonsense: Postmodern intellectuals’ abuse of science. New York: Picador.Google Scholar
  74. Somchai Jitsuchon. 2012. Thailand in a middle-income trap. TDRI Quarterly 27 (2): 13–20.Google Scholar
  75. Soumitra Dutta, and Bruno Lanvin. 2013. The global innovation index 2013: The local dynamics of innovation.Cornell University, INSEAD, and world intellectual property organization.
  76. Stern, David, Charles Dayton, and Marilyn Raby. 2010. Career academies: A proven strategy to prepare high school students for college and careers. Berkeley: Career Academy Support Network, University of California, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  77. Supot Hannongbua. 2013. STEM chuey kae wikrit kanrianwithayasat lae kanitsat dai ching rue? [Could STEM really help solve science and math education issues?] Powerpoint presentation presented at STEM Thailand Forum, Bangkok, Thailand, July 31.Google Scholar
  78. Thawat Chitrakarn. 2012. Kanpathana krabuankan rianru withayasat teknoloyi lae nawatakam phan program STEM [Development of the learning process through science, technology, and innovation across the STEM program].
  79. The Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Australia. 2006. Review of Lamplaimat Pattana school, Buri Ram Province, Thailand.
  80. Theking Somsaph. 2014. Su fan fa wan mai [Fighting for the dream of the sky of a new day]. Bangkok: Blue Sky Channel.Google Scholar
  81. Vichit Lorchirachoonkul. 2014. Banthuek kanprachum khana tamngan kanphatirup kansueksa [Notes on the working meeting for education reform]. Bangkok: NIDA.Google Scholar
  82. Walker, Darren. 2016. Internships are not a privilege. New York Times, July 5.
  83. Wannapa Khaopa. 2012. Thai students drop in math and science study. The Nation, December 12.
  84. Wichian Chaiyabang. 2015. Naeo thang kanchat kanrianru baeb buranakan khong Rongrian Lamplaimat Pattana lae withikan khayai phon [Best practices in integrated learning at Lamplaimat Pattana School and ways to disseminate more broadly these results]. Powerpoint presentation presented at STEM Thailand Forum, Pathumthani, Thailand, 10 February 2015.Google Scholar
  85. World Bank. 2012a. Knowledge Economy Index (KEI) 2012 Ranking.
  86. ———. 2012b. KEI and KI Indexes (KAM2012).
  87. ———. 2015. GDP per capita (currentUS$).
  88. World Bank Institute. 2008. Measuring knowledge in the world’s economies.
  89. World Economic Forum. 2014. The global competitiveness index data platform.
  90. Wyatt, David K. 1969. The politics of reform in Thailand: Education in the reign of King Chulalongkorn. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1969.Google Scholar
  91. Zackaria, Fareed. 2015. Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous. Washington Post, March 26.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sumonta Promboon
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fred N. Finley
    • 2
  • Kittisak Kaweekijmanee
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST)BangkokThailand
  2. 2.STEM, Department of Curriculum and InstructionUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  3. 3.National Science Technology and Innovation Policy Office (STI)BangkokThailand

Personalised recommendations