Primary and Secondary Schools in Thailand

About Primary and Secondary Schools in Thailand

Primary and secondary education in Thailand, which is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, is defined under the National Education Act 1999 and National Education Plan 2002-2016. The new system is intended to bring about critical changes to primary and secondary education in Thailand. Primary education begins with non-compulsory pre-school education for children aged three to six. Compulsory education begins at age six and continues up till age fifteen, lasting for a total of nine years.  Thai constitution guarantees free basic education up to twelve years. Primary and secondary schools in Thailand come under the purview of Ministry of Education.
Primary Education in Thailand
Compulsory primary education in Thailand or Pratom begins at the age of six and lasts for six years. Primary schools in Thailand divide their program into two stages, namely Pratom I-III for children aged six to eight and Pratom IV-VI for children aged nine to eleven. Primary schools in Thailand teach their students eight core subjects each semester. The core courses taught at primary schools include the Thai language, mathematics, science, social science, health & physical education, arts & music and technology & foreign languages. The progression to secondary education in Thailand depends on the students’ performance on the National Education Tests (NET).
Secondary Education in Thailand
Secondary education in Thailand is also divided into two stages; lower secondary or Matayom I-III for students in twelve to fourteen year age groups, and upper secondary or Matayom IV-VI for students aged fifteen to seventeen. Upon successful completion of lower secondary education in Thailand, students are awarded the Certificate in Lower Secondary Education (CLSE). Upon receiving the CLSE, students can opt for either general upper secondary education or vocational education.
In general, upper secondary schools in Thailand, students are offered principal subjects, compulsory subjects and various subjects to elect from. General secondary schools in Thailand cover Thai & foreign languages, science & mathematics, social studies, character development, work and occupational education. Electives are allowed once students reach Matayom V. These courses typically include science, foreign language and social science. Students who successfully complete their secondary education in Thailand are awarded the Certificate of Secondary Education.
Students who complete lower secondary education in Thailand are allowed to opt for vocational education and earn one of four certificates:
  • Certificate in Vocational Education, which is a  three year program
  • Certificate in Dual Vocational Education which also take three years and combines theory and practice
  • Certificate of Vocational Education (Credit Accumulating System), which is a short program and can last from three to eight years
  • Certificate in Vocational Education (Evening Class), which is intended for people who may already be working
Besides the regular primary and secondary schools in Thailand, the country’s education system also offers a flexible Non- Formal Education (NFE) program. This program has been designed for students who are unable to fit in the primary or secondary education system in Thailand.
Students who successfully complete vocational or upper secondary education in Thailand can apply to higher education in Thailand.

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