Chula lecturer rejects WEF education report

Survey was based on local opinion, he says

A Chulalongkorn University (CU) lecturer defended the country's education quality on Wednesday, saying a recent survey which showed Thailand at the bottom of a list of Asean countries was based only on the opinions of Thais.

The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 released earlier this week said Thailand's education quality ranked the worst among eight Asean countries.

The other seven countries were Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Two other Asean members _ Myanmar and Laos _ were not included in the survey.

Sathon Vijarnwannaluk, a lecturer at CU's faculty of science, said local people were asked in the survey for their opinions on how well the education system in their countries met the need for a competitive economy.

The respondents were asked to give scores of 1-7 and the higher the score reflected the greater their satisfaction with the system.

"I read the full report and can say that Thais gave low scores to their own country's education quality because they have no confidence in the education system," Mr Sathon said.

"That led to the poor ranking."

He said the report did not evaluate the country's educational quality directly and it only reflected the views of Thais.

Sompong Jitradup, a lecturer at CU's faculty of education, said, however, that the views of Thais about the country's education quality reflected the truth to a certain extent.

"We live in a divided society, but we unanimously agree that our educational quality is substandard," he said. He said other Asean countries had shown a strong intention to improve their education systems by setting ambitious policies which were put into action decisively.

"Some set a target to beat Thailand in terms of education quality and have since succeeded, while we are still struggling to solve our problems which seems to be worsening," he said.

Phongthep Thepkanchana, deputy prime minister who also oversees education, said Thai education may have not fared well in several international educational assessments.

"Although those results may not be 100% accurate, they obviously show we have had several problems regarding our education that need to be addressed quickly.

"If we are to improve educational standards to catch up with other countries, the curriculum as well as teacher quality must be improved," he said.

"Thailand has adequate resources and the potential to do this."

Related search: World Economic Forum, Global Competitiveness report, Education Ministry, Chulalongkorn University

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Writer: Lamphai Intathep
Position: Reporter