Journal of Educational Controversy


Friday, January 1, 2010

Educational Controversies from Other Parts of the World. Today's Look at Thailand.

Welcome back to our blog for 2010. We thought we would start out the new year by introducing our readers to educational controversies from other parts of the world. We think a global look will help us understand ourselves better as well as acquaint us with what is going on around the world.

This morning I received an e-mail from Alain Mounier, director of research at the Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement (IRD) and adviser to several governments in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia. He has been teaching and carrying out research projects in Thailand for some years, and has created a research centre on education and labour (CELS) in Chiang Mai University. Along with his co-editor, Phasina Tangchuang, a senior researcher and director of the Centre for Education and Labour Studies (CELS), and an associate professor in the Faculty of Education, Chiang Mai University, he would like to announce a new book entitled Education and Knowledge in Thailand. The Quality Controversy, published by Silkworm Books.

The authors provide the following description of their book below:

This book is a comprehensive and critical account of current debates over the state of the Thai education system. Using contributions from philosophy and sciences of education--sociology, psychology, and didactic in particular--it focuses on the issue of the quality of education in Thailand, engaging especially with recent educational policy and reforms. The purpose is to contribute to the vivid and enduring national debate on this major and crucial issue and to corresponding controversies at a world level. It is an attempt to identify clich├ęs that disguise a lack of careful thinking, to expose ideas that are merely fashionable, and to unearth implicit or hidden postulates and premises. While the authors document the dramatic quantitative expansion of Thai education, particularly in the past four decades, the major theme of the volume relates to quality issues at all levels. The authors identify four fundamental dilemmas of Thai education: 1) quantity vs. quality, 2) perennialism-postmodernism vs. progressivism, 3) work vs. education, and 4) diploma vs. knowledge. Each time the choice of the first term of each dilemma has been made quite clearly by the society and the government. Here in this choice lies the explanation of the low quality of education across the board. Quality of education could be achieved by extirpating seven important flaws in the Thai educational system: 1) inequality, 2) commodification, 3) localism, 4) vocationalism, 5) credentialism, 6) conformism, and 7) pedagogism.

Their Public Relations sheet highlights the following topics in the book:

• An original and critical scientific
analysis of the Thai education
system in historical and
comparative perspectives

• A critical look at the 1999
Education Reform

• A comprehensive survey of
education theories

• The first study of education in
Thailand using field data from the
last half-century

• A detailed analysis of the
determinants of educational

• An analysis of current
impediments to educational

We may provide a review of the book in our upcoming issue on "Schools Our Children Deserve." If you are interested in reviewing the book, let us know at

1 comment:

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