I'm feeling incredibly guilty. I've just read through my previous post and noticed two terrible mistakes which gave a very negative stance on the subject. Firstly, I said that international schools: "...............seem to be high on facilities, high on teacher discipline and meticulous on testing. However, they still contain Thai educational traits which I will touch on later."
Later, I discussed a particularly nasty teacher who had struck a student simply because she didn't like her. Then I said: "Once again, if that surprises you , you have never worked in Thailand."
Let me now give the correct structure of both phrases. Firstly: "International schools seem to be high on facilities, high on teacher discipline and meticulous on testing. However, they still contain some of the negative Thai educational traits which I will touch on later."
Secondly: "Once again, if that surprises you , you have never worked in a government school in Thailand."
I feel bad because my hit ratio has been high this week, and some people reading my slips may have received a negative impression of Thai schools as a whole.
There are some great schools here. My current school (which is bi-lingual) is far from perfect, but it's full of good and happy kids. A student of a school in our chain recently won national singing competitions on TV several weeks in a row. Another positive trait of my current school and many others is improvement in sports. Football (soccer) is huge in Thailand and other sports such as badminton, volleyball and tennis are popular and students frequently participate. Taekwondo is ever growing and some excellent young prospects for the art are emerging.
Another characteristic I admire is the passion for music, both old and new. Thailand has achieved something that Britain failed to do, it has assimilated modern culture such as music, clothes and movies while keeping a strong semblance of its own identity and culture. It's not just the elder generation either, most youngsters will put just as much enthusiasm into Muay Thai, Thai music and Thai food as they will for the western counterparts. If only England had taken care of its own people and culture as well as the Thais do.
It's not just the students improving either. The younger generation of teachers - who lie mostly outside the government schools - are adapting to modern methods and use of language. There are still areas of concern and needed improvement, but that applies in any country.
So please don't get me wrong. Thailand is aware of its need for educational reform, especially in the government sector, but it's certainly not all bad news. The new wave of schools are a big step forward for the country's youth, and I'm proud to be a tiny part of that.