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32,000 Thai six graders are illiterate: Education official


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32,000 Six Graders Are Illiterate: Education Official
By Khaosod Online

school.jpg
Students at Napuey School in Kon Khaen Province using tablets in their class

BANGKOK: -- The Ministry of Education is to renew a drive against illiteracy after national test result revealed that tens of thousands of Thai school pupils somehow cannot read or write, according to an official.

Dr. Chinnapat Bhumirat, Secretary of Office of the Basic Education Commission of Thailand, said approximately 64,000 Pathomsuksa 3 and 32,000 Pathomsuksa 6 students in Thailand are illiterate. The number amount to 8% and 4% of the overall students number in their range, respectively.

The official said that the commission will tackle the issue with innovations to draw interests from illiterate children. He added that the method, which complies with the policy of Education Ministry, is expected to adopt in November 2013 – February 2014 and will be evaluated monthly.

“Students of peripheral and ethnic backgrounds who suffer difficulty to communicate in Thai are also the main group that we must follow closely” said Dr. Chinnapat, who is also formerly appointed as Permanent Secretary for Education of Thailand by the UNESCO in 2008.

He continued, “So far, we are planning to use innovations to help those children undergone with the understanding of Thai language through bilingual lessons.”

Source: http://www.khaosod.co.th/en/view_newsonline.php?newsid=TVRNM09UazBOVGsyTXc9PQ==

-- KHAOSOD English 2013-09-24

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How do they actually get through to grade 6 if they can't read or write. My 5 yr old son is being tested this week in Thai and English reading writing and Arithmetic proficiency. He is actually very good in both languages.

I realise that some children are slower at learning than others and these children should be afforded special classes and not promoted up the order. Simply elevating them only makes things harder for them.

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If all children were educated to degree level who is going to do all the boring factory jobs. We need the less well educated as well as the geniuses in society. As long as every child is given the opportunity. If they don't or cant take advantage of whats offered no problem.

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I recall reading something very recently about an apparently radical and new concept for the Thai education system: Holding back students to repeat a year if they fail their exams. I guess up until now it is standard to just progress up to the next level regardless of your scores?

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^ True! When I first arrived in Thailand I was frustrated at not being able to read signs, menu's etc. I taught myself the Thai alphabet and can now read at a very basic level. Written Thai is fairly complex and difficult to learn, compared with English. However, I might point out that it is a very regular language and once you have mastered the alphabet, you can see how every word should be pronounced.

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4-8% would roughly equate to the percentage of the population of other countries that are dyslexic. Proper assessments of special educational needs to identify what is wrong with these children, and proper provision to support them is what is needed. At the moment, there is no acceptance by either parents or schools that SEN exist.

And this all can be traced back to the quality of their Thai homeroom teachers.

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WOW...hard to believe! LOL If you can't fail the students, then they continue nt to relly care about their grades. The sad thing is, they want farang teachers to teach them English, when don't even want to learn Thai!

I wouldn't mind betting that you didn't get very good grades at school (not in English language anyway)!!!

Don't you think that is more likely to be the case that they are simply unable to learn to read and write Thai RATHER THAN not wanting to?

I do however agree with your point that not being able to fail students is clearly doing them 'no favours' in the long run as the parents must be capable of accepting the fact that their child is 'not gifted' academically, if that is indeed the case. Their total denial of the fact is hard to fathom when in most cases it is so obvious, not to be true!!

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4-8% would roughly equate to the percentage of the population of other countries that are dyslexic. Proper assessments of special educational needs to identify what is wrong with these children, and proper provision to support them is what is needed. At the moment, there is no acceptance by either parents or schools that SEN exist.

If the child goes to an international school in Thailand he or she can get help; but this does nolt help the population being talked about here. What is tragic is the door to knowledge will be closed to these students due to lack of literacy. The real loss of face will not come from not passing to the next grade, but being unable to read in the only life they will have despite what Buddhhists and Christians say.

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4-8% would roughly equate to the percentage of the population of other countries that are dyslexic. Proper assessments of special educational needs to identify what is wrong with these children, and proper provision to support them is what is needed. At the moment, there is no acceptance by either parents or schools that SEN exist.

I can read and write Thai (albeit, slowly at this point of time) and so I can appreciate just how difficult the aspect of learning Thai is.

They have 44 consonants, 32 vowels, 5 tones, 3 classes of consonants - all with different rules as to pronunciation and according to whether they have specific tone marks (4 of them) or if they don't have any then the length of vowel, dead or alive ending determines how you say it etc: I could go on and on about little nuances in the language as there are many more involved, but what I am trying to point out is the complexity of it as compared to English.

It is hardly surprising that those with less aptitude than others struggle with the language!!!

It's not the problem of the language. Chinese got up to 5000 different signs and English got so many exceptions. The problems are that many use education techniques from last century and that many kids in rural areas don't attend school on regular basis. Parents of does kids often aren't aware of the importance of learning. They focus on things of daily life (cooking, rice planting, get kids)...

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4-8% would roughly equate to the percentage of the population of other countries that are dyslexic. Proper assessments of special educational needs to identify what is wrong with these children, and proper provision to support them is what is needed. At the moment, there is no acceptance by either parents or schools that SEN exist.

I can read and write Thai (albeit, slowly at this point of time) and so I can appreciate just how difficult the aspect of learning Thai is.

They have 44 consonants, 32 vowels, 5 tones, 3 classes of consonants - all with different rules as to pronunciation and according to whether they have specific tone marks (4 of them) or if they don't have any then the length of vowel, dead or alive ending determines how you say it etc: I could go on and on about little nuances in the language as there are many more involved, but what I am trying to point out is the complexity of it as compared to English.

It is hardly surprising that those with less aptitude than others struggle with the language!!!

It's not the problem of the language. Chinese got up to 5000 different signs and English got so many exceptions. The problems are that many use education techniques from last century and that many kids in rural areas don't attend school on regular basis. Parents of does kids often aren't aware of the importance of learning. They focus on things of daily life (cooking, rice planting, get kids)...

Forget the Chinese language. We are discussing learning how to read and write Thai half decently.

Without doubt, on these two aspects (reading and writing) Thai is a lot more difficult to accomplish than doing the same in English. We only have 26 letters with 5 vowels - all single elements. They have 32 vowels with 16 short and 16 long vowels. They must be placed, either all around the consonant, in front of, behind, above or below the consonant. some vowels have 2 or 3 elements to them. Our vowels (single letters) are placed in the correct position of the word only.

Another thing, they have up to 4 or 5 symbols for some letters eg: kor kai, kor kwai, kor rakung, kor koowat and kor khon all sounding like the letter k/g. Just to complicate matters, kor kai is a high class letter whereas all of the others are low class so the tone rules and enunciation are different depending upon the actual class concerned.

There is none of this with the English alphabet - don't forget, grammar (where English is far more complex admittedly so) doesn't come into the ability to be able to read or write a language WHATSOEVER, so that can be excluded from the deliberations!!

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WOW...hard to believe! LOL If you can't fail the students, then they continue nt to relly care about their grades. The sad thing is, they want farang teachers to teach them English, when don't even want to learn Thai!

Absolutely agree and reality it, Thailand drifts further into ignorance over their failure to embrace and realise the need for English proficiency - Asean fast approaches.

My gf a Filipino teacher of 20 years, dual degree and masters, is offered 16k bht a month to teach. That is why they get monkeys, because they give peanuts!!! Thais have no concept of experience and expertise, the value such attributes can bring to the classroom.

But as you say, most Thai teachers either dont care or are unable to teach. Like the Thai teacher with the masters degree that I met who could not speak English, thank buddah for Pay Pal!!!!!

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Contrary to most comments on this thread, my recently turned 4 year old can recite and recognise all the characters of the Thai alphabet as well as the English alphabet. She can write all the English letters (big and small) perfectly, and does a fair representation of most Thai characters.

Her idea of fun is tracing around the Thai characters in some learning books to become more familiar with writing them. I've learnt over half of the Thai characters by default because she pesters me to help her all the time.

She's also responsible for helping me master my spoken Thai as her ability to relate Thai and English words with actions or situations is just uncanny.

The trouble is, the parents of Thai children rely on the teachers in their school to teach them how to read and write. Sure, they learn spoken Thai from their parents, primarily, but I can't imagine those poor peasant parents buying their kiddies books to show them how to read and write!!

OK, so you have learnt to write about half of the Thai letters - what about all of the other aspects such as the vowels, numerous peculiar rules, tone marks, special letters and definitive rules for ror reua and or ahng, not to mention consonant clusters etc:

Knowing how to write 50% of the consonants is fine and dandy but it isnot going to get you very far is it!!

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WOW...hard to believe! LOL If you can't fail the students, then they continue nt to relly care about their grades. The sad thing is, they want farang teachers to teach them English, when don't even want to learn Thai!

Absolutely agree and reality it, Thailand drifts further into ignorance over their failure to embrace and realise the need for English proficiency - Asean fast approaches.

My gf a Filipino teacher of 20 years, dual degree and masters, is offered 16k bht a month to teach. That is why they get monkeys, because they give peanuts!!! Thais have no concept of experience and expertise, the value such attributes can bring to the classroom.

But as you say, most Thai teachers either dont care or are unable to teach. Like the Thai teacher with the masters degree that I met who could not speak English, thank buddah for Pay Pal!!!!!

OK, so how many English/Americans do you know that have degrees or master degrees that can speak Thai??

By the way, my wife has a masters degree and CAN speak English moderately well - it is a lot better than my Thai (although as said before) I can read and write Thai pretty well, but not enter into a conversation as my understanding is not good enough.

Another thing, your GF's English just 'ain't' as good as my English!!

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Add another 25 of my P6 students. Their Thai reading level is below my P2 grade son. sad.png

Most Thai students will tell you that Thai language class is their worst. They absolutely hate it.

I'm not surprised they can't read. Look at their alphabet!!!

Do what the countries around them have done and use the alphabet of their former colonisers - Dutch, British,

French. Is there any ASEAN country using a pre-colonial alphabet? smile.png

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Add another 25 of my P6 students. Their Thai reading level is below my P2 grade son. sad.png

Most Thai students will tell you that Thai language class is their worst. They absolutely hate it.

I'm not surprised they can't read. Look at their alphabet!!!

Do what the countries around them have done and use the alphabet of their former colonisers - Dutch, British,

French. Is there any ASEAN country using a pre-colonial alphabet? smile.png

Thailand was only ever occupied by Japan (although they would still deny it), that alphabet would help....

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