Thai education beset by poor management, inequality, and high teacher debt

Thailand’s public education system is rarely held up as a success story. But its woes have become even more acute in the past decade. It faces a host of challenges: inequality, uneven funding and frequent policy changes by the Ministry of Education, and high levels of teacher debt. Guest contributor Mark S. Cogan takes a look at the challenges and the dim chances for improvement.

Abuse in Thai schools requires a long, hard look in the mirror

News of physical abuse of students by teachers is all but commonplace in Isaan and in Thailand more generally. Guest contributor Mark Cogan examines why such abuse is tolerated, arguing that the persistence of such abuse points to larger problems in the education system that trains students (and their parents) to focus more on obedience than learning.

Next Uniform: Teachers, be more human

“Clothing is just a basic necessity of humans. It doesn’t decrease or increase my quality as a teacher.” This is is an ad for the “Next Uniform” campaign for Khon Kaen University students who want people to look at people equally ad not evaluating them by their clothes.

Teaching LGBT rights through board games

“It’s time for us to see them as a normal man or woman. Straight men or women don’t need to consistently say they are a man or a woman.”A student, LGBT board game co-creator.

Udon Thani’s new generation: Battle over royal portraits, a monument, and a flag (Part I)

Udorn Thani’s democracy fighters are battling over symbols. Three cherished symbols of the state: the royal portrait, the city’s essential patron saint, and a desecrated flag. Protest leaders say time is on their side and they hope to change this former “Capital of Red Shirts to “the Capital of Democracy.”

Part I: Sakon Nakhon stirs: Students and academics continue a decades-old struggle (11))

The geography and history of freedom fighters set Sakon Nakhon off from the rest of Isaan. Though youth protests have been slow to start and lack some of the vigor seen in other Isaan provinces, Sakon Nakhon Rajabhat University, has played an important role in linking the province’s past with the new generation’s protests. (See “Part II: Sakon Nakhon’s rediscovered heroes of democracy” tomorrow.)

The way out of students high-stakes demand (5)

“If Thailand wants to end the conflict, the constitution needs to be amended,” says Assoc. Prof. Dr. Somchai Phatharathananunth from Mahasarakham University’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, in proposing a way out of the political crisis.

Nick Sarakham: The voice of grassroots people (4)

At political rallies, Thanawit Sepsuk or “Nick Sarakham,” who is also known as “Nattawut 2,” speaks about the problems faced by people at the grassroots after he was inspired by the red-shirt protests he had attended with his parents as a child. “People at the grassroots have been seen merely as a base of resources that the central government can take away.”

We must dare to speak the truth (3)

“It’s a lesson learned by the redshirts: it’s always been about the middle class. The thing that other leaders, including the redshirts, that everyone has tried to demand: a good life, rights and equality, that’s it.” said Thanawit Sepsuk, (Comrade Nick) MSU Democracy Front. Series: “The New Generation of Isaan rises up” – We must dare to speak the truth (3)

From classroom to prison cell (2)

From the classroom to a prison cell, Isaan students recount the aftermath of the Oct 13 arrests.

Series: The new generation of Isaan rises up: Part I

The Isaan Record launches its series, “The new generation of Isaan rises up.” How does the current student movement in Thailand compare to other student movements historically? We ask the noted scholar Thongchai WInichakul to weigh in.

Everywhere, All at Once

The youth movement shaking Thailand now is remarkable for its ability to manifest itself seemingly everywhere and at the same time. Guest contributor Eli Elinoff explores what such a phenomenon means for democracy in Thailand.

Children’s Revolt

It’s a cliche to say that a given country is at a “crossroad,” but in this case Thailand really is. Do the elders have the wisdom to hear what the younger is demanding and negotiate a very different kind of future for the country?

“We won’t take this anymore…it stops with our generation” – Observations from a youth protest in Ubon Ratchathani

Youth protests against the government are on the rise again in the Northeast and across the country. Patawee Chotanan observed a protest in Ubon Ratchathani and made eight interesting observations.