The National Scheme of Education B.E. 2560-2579 (2017-2036)
According to the National Education Act B.E. 2542 (1999) and the Amendments (Second National Education Act) B.E. 2545 (2002), the Administrative Organization of the Ministry of Education Act B.E. 2546 (2003), and the Ministerial Regulation on the Organization of the Office of Education Council, Ministry of Education Act B.E. 2546 (2003), the Office of Education Council is responsible for proposing a National Scheme of Education which is an integration of religion, art, culture, and sports into the education curriculum on all levels. As the Amended National Scheme of Education B.E.2542-2559 (2003-2016) terminated, the Office of Education Council has prepared a new 20-year plan, the National Scheme of Education B.E. 2560-2579 (2017-2036), which provides a framework for related organizations to follow in their development of education during those years.
A National Scheme of Education requires cooperation among all sectors; each sector must acknowledge and understand the importance of education as well as take part in the planning in order for it to be effective. In addition to the planning, related conditions and contexts affecting the development of the national education such as rapid digital technology, economic and social advancements affecting the country, the region, and the world, demographic changes in Thailand with an increase in the elderly population, and the 21st century trends effecting skill requirements among the population must all be examined as they challenge Thailand and the world economically and socially as we are preparing for Thailand 4.0. Moreover, the planning is based on the evaluation results of the National Scheme of Education B.E.2542-2559 (2003-2016) regarding educational management, educational opportunity, educational quality, instructional effectiveness, the administration of educational institutions, budget management, and the educational development, to ensure they meet the national capacity to be competitive. Planning also considers the educational problems and challenges caused by the current educational system and global situations that Thailand faces. This broad-based examination and planning will focus on the following factors: the educational concepts, visions, objectives, strategies, indicators, approaches, the roles of relevant organizations, important urgent projects, and how to put the National Scheme of Education into action. These factors are summarized below:
Necessity of Preparation for the National Scheme of Education
The challenges of the 21st century are considered to be external forces and include changes in the global economy and society caused by factors such as the Digital Revolution, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, fulfilling the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDGs 2030), preparations for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the needs of the workforce for 21st century skills, the middle-income gap, the projected increase of the population of elderly, unsustainable economic growth that causes rapid deterioration of natural resources, problems with the educational system including the health of the population and the quality and management of education at all levels. In addition to these factors, there are social ones such as the attitudes, beliefs, values, culture, and change in the population’s behavior caused by the current state of globalization. Other weaknesses include the development of personnel in the fields of science, technology, and English, the inappropriate and inflexible administrative systems of educational institutions, educational inequality, as well as a lack of morals, ethics, discipline, honesty, and public consciousness among some Thai people. Therefore, it is necessary for Thailand to have the national education reformed to prepare for future challenges as education plays a major role as a mechanism for the national development which responds to the 20-year National Strategic Framework and the 12th National Economic and Social Development Plan B.E. 2560-2564 (2017-2021) under the new the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2560-2579 (2017-2036), thus leading the country to greater wealth, prosperity, and sustainability over the next 20 years.
The results of the national education development from 2009 to 2016 showed that Thailand was successful in several aspects, but there remain other urgent problems needing to be resolved.
The government has a number of policies that promote and support the national education. The school-age population including underprivileged and educationally at-risk children and those with special needs are provided with greater educational opportunities. However, not every child in need is offered these opportunities, and the drop-out rate remains a problem for many children. In addition, the working age population is more educationally supported, yet there are still a great number of those whose education levels are below the lower secondary level. This is why the national population at all ages needs to be equitably and sustainably developed, and there should be measures to guarantee that provisions are made for children and people of all ages with opportunities for a higher quality education. Finally, the quality of the national education needs to be upgraded as it is the main mechanism for national economic and social development.
Currently, the results of educational quality are unsatisfactory as the learning outcomes of students at the basic education levels are lower than the domestic averages and much lower when compared with other Asian countries. In addition, the morals and ethics of the youth needs to be improved. The study also found that the quality of working age populations from the age of 15 and up do not meet the requirements of the labor market. The number of students in vocational schools is less than that of their higher secondary counterparts, leading to a shortage of middle-level skilled labor. On the contrary, the number of higher education graduates increases annually; however, this group does not meet the requirements of the labor market and possesses abilities or qualifications that are not required by many employers, leading to mass unemployment. Students and skilled, qualified labor need better preparation and development to meet the needs of all employment sectors. A workforce demand analysis must be conducted to determine the goals of educational management in order to supply the job market with a workforce prepared with better skills and qualities.
This factor in the national education has been found to have structural and administrative problems, especially with the administration of small-sized schools, which need to be prioritized to enhance the educational quality and reduce the budget. The national expenditure on education, compared with other countries, is quite high. Much of the budget is spent mainly on the development of learners and instruction, but little is spent on the development of teachers. There should be an integration of educational information technology into the administration, especially at these small-sized schools, and cooperation among all sectors in promoting and supporting education for a reduction in government expenditure and the overhauling of the educational budget system.
Conceptual Design of Education
The conceptual design of education, according to the National Scheme of Education, must follows the principles of “Education for All,” “Inclusive Education,” “Sufficiency Economy,” “All for Education” or public participation in education, and “Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDGs 2030).” These principles are considered based on other local issues which include the health of the population of all ages, demographic changes, income inequality, and environmental crisis in response to the national strategic framework to create a well-designed National Scheme of Education.
Vision, Objectives, Goals, Indicators, and Strategies of the National Education Plan
Following the conceptual design, the vision of the National Scheme of Education is “All Thai people are provided with quality education and engage in lifelong learning as well as live happy lives on the basis of the principles of a sufficiency economy and global changes in the 21st century.”
The National Scheme of Education covers four objectives: 1) to develop a quality and effective educational system and process; 2) to produce quality Thai citizens with qualifications, skills, and capabilities as required by the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, the National Education Act, and the National Strategic Framework; 3) to establish Thailand as a society of high quality learning, morals, and ethics as well as national harmony and cooperation for sustainable development on the principle of the sufficiency economy; and 4) to free Thailand from the middle-income gap and income inequality.
To achieve the vision and objectives, the National Scheme of Education identifies two goals:
3Rs: Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic
8Cs: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Creativity andInnovation,Cross-culturalUnderstanding, Collaboration,Teamwork,and Leadership, Communications, Information, and MediaLiteracy,Computing and ICT Literacy,Career and Learning Skills, and Compassion.
5 Aspirations of the provision of education assessed through 53 indicators are detailed as follows:
1) Access: All people have access to a high quality and standardized education. The main key indicators are that the population aged 6-14 is provided with free education in the elementary and the lower secondary levels or equivalent by the government, learners with special needs are provided with appropriate educational services and capability development; and the average number of educated working age population increases.
2) Equality: Every learner in all target groups are equally provided with quality standardized education.The main key indicator is learners in basic educational levels are educationally funded for 15 years.
3) Quality: A quality educational system enables learners to reach their full potential.The main key indicators are that students have an O-Net score in each subject of at least 50% while 15-year-old students in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) should have higher scores, etc.
4) Efficiency: An efficient educational administration leads to worthy investment and educational achievement.The main key indicators are the percentage of small-sized schools not passing the quality assessment, efficient and standardized administration of teachers and educational personnel, and the mechanism that encourages all sectors to fund educational resources, etc.
5) Relevancy: The educational system responds and meets the dynamics of contextual and global change.The main key indicators are that the country reaches a higher rank in educational competitiveness; the proportion of vocational students to their four-year university counterpart is higher; and the number of higher education institutions in the top 200 rankings increases, etc.
To achieve the vision, objectives, and goals, the operational process of the National Scheme of Education is divided into five phases based on objectives and key indicators: the initial phase (urgent), the first five years, the second five years, the third five years, and the final five years.
Strategies, Goals, and Key Indicators
The strategies of the National Scheme of Education are determined under the 20-year National Strategic Plan. To achieve the vision, the objectives, and the educational concepts, the plan follows six strategies as follows:
Strategy 1: Educational management for the strength of the nation and society
1.1 People of all ages love the important national institutions and cherish the values of democracy with the King as head of state.The key indicators include basic educational institutions’ management of activities promoting love and maintenance of important national institutions and the values of democracy with the King as head of state, their instructional management to provide students with civic education, and their promotion of living together in a multicultural society, etc.
1.2 People of all ages in the Special Development Zone in Southern Border Provinces and other special areas are provided with quality education.The key indicators include an increase in the number of students in those areas with the Ordinary National Educational Test (O-Net) scores in each subject of at least 50%, an increase in educational extensions to multicultural, marginal groups and migrant workers, and those schools’ implementation of incentive measures, such as an offer of higher rates of salary or return, etc.
1.3 People of all ages are provided with education, care, and protection against non-traditional security threats.The key indicators include more implementation of learning processes and approaches to resolve conflicts peacefully, greater promotion of knowledge and understanding of non-traditional security threats, operation under efficient systems, mechanisms, and measures to prevent and resolve them, a reduction in school fights, etc.
The development plan is determined to advance education in order to promote the strength of key national institutions and cherish democracy with the King as head of state as well as upgrade educational quality and encourage educational accessibility for those in the Special Development Zone in Southern Border Provinces and other special areas including mountainous and border areas, and islands or coastal areas, and for multicultural and marginal groups and migrant workers. The educational development is meant to protect them from non-traditional security threats, such as various forms of violence, drugs, natural disasters, emerging infectious diseases, cyber threats, and etc. The operation is conducted through important plans and projects, such as the Educational Quality Upgrade for the Special Development Zone in Southern Border Provinces and Special Areas Project.
Strategy 2: Development of research and innovation workforce to enhance the national competitiveness
2.1 The national workforce possesses essential skills and capabilities which meet the requirements of the job market and needs of the national economic and social development. The key indicators include the completeness of the workforce demand data categorized by types of industry, the proportion of the vocational students to four-year university students, the proportion of students in health science, science, and technology to those of social science is higher, and more professionally qualified workforce in different professions, etc.
2.2 Educational institutions and organizations produce graduates with excellence and specialization in specific fields.The key indicators include an increase in the proportion of middle-level workers to high-level workers in fields required by the job market and the national development categorized by educational levels or types, an increase in the percentage of educational institutions with standardized dual education programs, cooperative studies programs, SIF (School in Factory) programs, an increase in dual-degree curriculums offered at educational institutions, an increase in vocational and higher educational institutions opening curriculums for specialized learners, and an increase in educational institutions’ cooperation with the government, private sectors, workers, professional associations, and educational organizations, and etc.
2.3 There is research and development to construct knowledge and innovation which will add economic value.The key indicators of this aim include an increase in the proportion of research and development funding from the private sector compared to the government sector, an increase in the proportion of investment costs for research and development compared to the national gross domestic product (GDP), an increase in projects and research to construct knowledge and innovation for national development, an increase in the number of research and development staff per 10,000 people, an increase in patent innovations, intellectual property, published research papers at the international level, etc.
The development plan is determined to develop each person’s capacity in fields that serve the needs of the labor market and the development of economic and social conditions for the country. In addition, it aims to develop experts and promote research and development to construct knowledge and innovations which will add economic value. The operation is conducted through important plans and projects such as the project aimed at developing the workforce to serve the needs of the labor market in the target industry group, etc.
Strategy 3: The proficiency development for people of all ages and the promotion of a lifelong learning society. The main aims are as follows:
3.1 Learners possess skills and characteristics of Thai citizens and other necessary skills and qualifications for living in the 21st century. The main indicators include an increase in the number of learners having skills and qualifications necessary for the 21st century, learners at all educational levels show traits of discipline and public consciousness, an increase in the number of secondary schools, or equivalent, organizing activities to foster discipline, public consciousness, and desirable characteristics among students.
3.2 People of all ages have essential knowledge and skills as indicated in the educational and professional standards, and can use their potential to improve their lives. The main indicators include the normal development ofnewly born babies up-to five-years, the students have o-net scores in every subject of more than 50%, more adults with access to educational services that will train them for professions and life, and more academic fields and professions provided for adults.
3.3 Educational institutions at all levels can organize activities as required by the curriculum.The main indicators include an increase in the number of child development centers or kindergartens that organize high quality and standardized activitiesas required by the curriculum, an increase in children’s capabilities related to the standard academic achievements of ASEAN elementary children, an increase in the number of educational institutions having an aim to develop students with 21st century qualities and learning skills, an increase in the number of vocational schools and universities whose curriculums aim to develop students to have qualities related to the Thailand 4.0 model.
3.4 Learning centers, textbooks, educational innovations, and learning media are of high quality and standards, and people should be able to access these resources without limitation.The main indicators include an increase in the number of learning centers that have been improved in terms of quality and can be places for lifelong learning activities, an increase in the number of educational programs on mass media,an increase in the number of textbooks and instructional media which have been qualified bythe related institutions and developed as a result of the coordination between public and governmental sectors, etc.
3.5 Students’ testing, monitoring, and assessment systems and mechanisms are effective. The main indicators are an effective system and mechanism for testing and assessing students’ knowledge and skills at all educational levels and target groups, a system for monitoring the population lacking education and those having a tendencyto drop-out of school, etc.
3.6 The training and recruitment of teachers and educational personnel must meet international standards.The main indicators include a database showing the needs for teachers, a 10-year plan for the training and recruitment of educational personnel (2017-2027) classified according to academic fields, size of institution and province, an increase in the proportion of teachers who have been trained and recruited in the closed system, and the criteria and conditions which allow graduates from other fields to apply for teacher positions.
3.7 Teachers and educational personnel have received standard competency training. The main indicator is that teachers, lecturers, and education officers at all educational levels have received training as required by professional standards and are able to work effectively to serve the needs and visions of the institutions. In addition, there must be an increase in the satisfaction of teachers, lecturers, and education officers toward training and its benefits.
The development plan is determined to improve learning centers, textbooks, and other learning media to have high standards and quality and be accessed by people without limitation as well as to instill the values of discipline, public consciousness, and desirable behavior in people, and to develop the students’ test, monitoring, and assessment systems and mechanisms to be more effective. This operation is conducted through various plans and projects, for example; Teacher Training for Rural Development Project, etc.
Strategy 4: Creating opportunities and equality in education. The main aims are as follows:
4.1 All students receive opportunity and equal access to education of high quality. The main indicators include a decrease in theequality index of the basic education admission ratewhen considering the economic conditions and regions, a decrease inthe difference between the average scores of the Ordinary National Educational Test (O-Net) among students in different geographic areas and academic years in two subjects which are English and Mathematics, etc.
4.2 People of all ages receive more opportunities in education through digital technology for education.The main indicators include a modern network of digital technology for education which satisfies the needs of students and users effectively, and a high speed and quality Internet access at every educational institution.
4.3 An individual student record keeping system and information technology for the educational administration, evaluations, and reports are extensive, precise, and up-to-date. The main indicator includes the individual student record system which employs 13 digit numbers from the students’ ID card which will allow the users from the Ministry of Education to connect and exchange information with databases of other institutes such as public health, socialdevelopment, geo-information technology, workforce, education sectors, etc. This system is extensive, precise, up-to-date, reliable, etc.
The development plan is determined to provide more opportunities and equal access to quality education as well as to develop digital technology in education for people of all ages, and to develop educational databases to be more accessible. This operation is conducted through various plans such as the Individual Student Information Database Project which will include information about public health, socialdevelopment, geo-information technology, workforce, education, etc.
Strategy 5: Educational administration to enhance the quality of an eco-friendly life
5.1 People of all ages are environmentally aware, have morals, ethics, and are capable of putting the philosophy of sufficiency economy into practice. The main indicators include an increase in the number of teachers and educational personnel being trained in how to build an eco-friendly life, good morals and ethics, and how to apply the philosophy of sufficiency economy in their lives, and an increase in the number of universities ranked as green universities.
5.2 Curriculum, learning centers, and learning materials enhance the quality of an eco-friendly life, morals, ethics, and the application of the philosophy of sufficiency economy.The main indicators include an increase in the number of educational institutes organizing activities that aim to instill good morals and ethics in students and promote the implementation of the philosophy of sufficiency economy, and the mass media which shares knowledge and encourages people to have an eco-friendly life, etc.
5.3 Research for a body of knowledge and innovations are developed to enhance the quality of an eco-friendly life.The main indicator includes an increase in the educational databases related to climate change, etc.
The development plan is determined to raise the environmental awareness, develop morals and ethics, and apply the philosophy of sufficiency economy in life. In addition, it aims to develop curriculum, learning processes, learning centers, learning materials, the body of knowledge, as well as research and innovations which promote eco-friendly life. This operation is conducted through various plans and projects such as the Implementation of the King’s Philosophy for Sustainable Development Project, Moral Schools Project, and Green Schools Project, etc.
Strategy 6: The competency development for educational administrations
6.1 The structures, roles, and systems of the educational management are clear, flexible, and verifiable.The main indicator includes the development and unification of central and provincial administration so that it will be more consistent with the regional contexts and the principles of good governance, etc.
6.2 The educational administration is efficient andeffective and yields good results in quality and standards of education. The main indicators include a decrease in the number of small schools which are not qualified and need urgent development, and an increase in the average scores of the Ordinary National Education Test (O-net) of students who study in schools which implement the new administrative system.
6.3 Every social group is involved in the educational administration to serve the needs of people in the regions. The main indicators include an increase in the number of organizations, associations, foundations, and other institutes which play a part in the educational administration or can cooperate with government and public educational institutions and other local administrative organizations to develop education, and an increase in the proportion of the public sector and partnership networks supporting education when compared with the government sector and classified by the educational levels, etc.
6.4 Laws and styles of human resource management in education can servestudents with different characteristics and backgrounds, educational institutions, and the workforce needs of the country.The main indicators include laws, regulations, and budget allocation systems for education which serve students with different characteristics and backgrounds as well as the needs of the workforce and the present conditions of the country, and methods and mechanism in budget allocationwhich have a balance between supply and demand.
6.5 The administrative system of the educational personnel must be justifiable, morale-boosting, and supportive so that the educational personnel can work with their full potential. The main indicators include an increase in the number of educational institutions with enough teachers, an increase in the number of supportive teachers and expertsfrom the public sector, an increase in the number of supportive staff in educational institutions, and etc.
The development plan is determined to improve the structure and effectiveness of the educational administration. In addition, it aims to encourage participation in the provision of education of all sectors as well as improve laws relevant to the educational budget allocation. This plan is conducted through various projects such as the Development of Asset Allocation for Education Project, the Pilot Project for Budget Allocation Based on the Supply and Demand, the Improvement of Administrative Effectiveness in Small Schools Projects, etc.
The implementation of the National Scheme of Education
The success in the implementation of the National Scheme of Education (2017-2037) depends on various important factors including the completeness and inclusiveness of the content in the National Scheme of Education, the cooperation among every sector in the development of the National Scheme of Education in terms of issuing policy, putting it into practice, andpublicizing it to raise awareness about the importance of the National Scheme of Education, the construction of knowledge and understanding about the National Scheme of Education, and the implementation of the National Scheme of Education which is clear to people of all classes.
The plan for the implementation of the National Scheme of Education includes:
1) The construction of knowledge and understanding among institutions, organizations, and every association about the importance, the vision, and aims of the implementation of the National Scheme of Education;
2) The integration of the National Scheme of Education (2017-2036), the 20-year National Strategic Plan, the government’s policies, the 5-year Development Plan for Education, the 4-year Operational Plan, and the annual action plan, which has been done and evaluated bythe Office of Education Council and other involved organizations;
3) The improvement of laws and regulations to support the development of education at all levels; and
4) The opportunity for people in the community to express their opinions and get involved in the educational administration both at the levels of policy issuance and implementation.
The organizational strategy for the implementation of the National Scheme of Education
The National Scheme of Education (2017-2037) has proposed roles for each organization in the implementation of the National Scheme of Education. These organizations include: 1) the central organizations of state such asthe Ministry of Education, Office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Office of the Basic Education Commission, Office of the Vocational Education Commission, Office of the Higher Education Commission, Office of the Non-formal and Informal Education, Secretariat Office of the Teachers Council of Thailand, and other organizations involved in educational administration; and 2) the regional organizations such asthe Regional Education Office, Educational Service Area Office, schools, etc. The roles of each organization in the implementation of all 6 strategies are clear so that every organization will work in the same direction and within the specified period of time.
The evaluation of the National Scheme of Education
The concept and principle of the evaluation is determined to give opportunities to those who are involved in the educational administration, for both central and regional organizations, to evaluate the outcomes and effects of the implementation of the National Scheme of Education. The criteria used in the evaluation are clear, verifiable, standard, and precise.
The plan for the evaluation of the National Scheme of Education includes: 1) the contextual evaluation before, during, and after the implementation of the plan; 2) constructing a system in the evaluation of the central, regional, and provincial organizations so that it will match with the content of the National Scheme of Education; 3) promoting collaboration among the Ministry of Education, organizations for the quality assurance, Bureau of the Budget, and other involved central and regional organizations so that the evaluation will be effective; 4) appointing expert and unbiased institutions or organizations to be the evaluators; 5) holding open forums for everyone involved in the implementation of the National Scheme of Education to share their opinions; and 6)presenting the results of the evaluation of the implementation of the National Scheme of Education to everyone who is involved.