Classification of basic education International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) has stated that education systems vary by different countries, since the content and curricula are different. In order to interpret and determine the inputs, processes, and outcomes of education systems from a global perspective, it is crucial to have comparable data. United Nations (2012) has defined basic education in International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 2011) as first nine years of schooling.
Within those nine years, there are two levels of education classified. Level 1 corresponds to primary education, it covers first six years of full-time schooling at the legal age which is from five years old to not older than seven years old. It is about ages 6-11, or about first through sixth grades in the United States. In the primary education, students will be focus on basic education in reading, writing ,and mathematics along with an elementary understanding of other subjects such as history, geography, natural science, social science, religion, art and music.
These subjects will help pupils to develop themselves and adapt them to their daily lives. Level 2 refers to lower secondary education, which covers three years of schooling after primary education. The ages of students will be from 12-15 years old, which is equivalent to 7th-9th grades in United States. The students will be focus more on those subjects that they have learnt in primary education. The specialized teachers will be required in order to conduct classes in the fields. After all, level 1 and 2 from level of education are compulsory, according to article 26, number 1 from Universal Declaration of Human Right (1948). It stated that “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages.
Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit”. Nevertheless, there are some children from many developing countries that do not have chances to attend school for basic education. Therefore, the factors and possible resolutions for this issue will be thoroughly researched and analyzed in order to improve accessibility to education.
What factors affect enrollment rate in Thai basic education? Everyone has their own rights on doing, accomplishing, and contributing something that they prefer without harming other people. As well as, the right to education for students are also essential to be concerned by government due to the reason that educating adolescents can contribute to a country with more human capital, which are essential elements for economic growth (Hanushek & Kimko, 2000). Developing one’s country with children’s education is beneficial to country. Government of Thailand expanded free education with quality from 12 to 15 years in 2009 in order to promote school-enrollment among disadvantaged students. Nevertheless, the gaps between rich families and poor families are still remained big and lead to the fact that some of the children in poor families could not attend school (OECD/UNESCO, 2016). According to the data from UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2015), 454,421 children from primary-school age were still out of school.
This number is extremely large number that should not be counted and happened. In the sake of improving school enrollment rate, consideration of the causes of enrollment rate is important. The elements that lead to not full-enrollment rate are living in remote rural areas, those from ethnic communities in the north and northeast and parts of the south of Thailand, and being children from immigrant families. First, opportunities to education of children who live in remote rural areas are less than those who live in urban areas.
The disparities between poor families and rich families are apparently big, that children who come from less-income family need to work instead of going to school. This poverty leads to family’s decision regarding attending school or joining labor force (Tharmmapornphilas, 2013). The time children spend at school can be measured as forgone opportunities, since they cannot use those times to learn traditional or special skills (Buchmann & Brakewood, 2000). The reason of this notion is parental education.
The parents are not aware of the outcome from education that will be profited in the future. They concern only at the present moment. Besides, Thai children are taught to be respectful to elders and follow family’s hierarchy, so they are more likely to follow their parent’s decision.
Thus, the children do not attend school due to financial status of family and parents’ decisions. Furthermore, poverty plays an important part of school-enrollment rate. Even though, government has provided free education until secondary school, the household costs of education extract students from going to school. Those expenses are transportation, books, uniform, materials, etc. Lastly, there are few schools in rural areas which is difficult for students to go to school. Second, children in ethnic communities in the north and northeast and parts of the south of Thailand would get less opportunities to go to school due to poverty, linguistic different and security. Mostly ethnic communities are located in the border of countries, which leads to the problem that mentioned in the first claim: children who live in remote rural areas will face difficulty to go to school, due to the fact that there are few schools in rural areas.
Moreover, minority groups tend to use another language other than Thai. Coleman (2012) has indicated that there are more than 30 ethnic groups in Thailand which are Thais, Chinese, Malays, Khmers, Mons, Highlanders, etc. Within those groups, 76 languages are spoken including minority languages from hill tribes. Thus, it is difficult for children who do not use Thai language in their families or communities to communicate. Moreover, insurgencies tend to occur in those areas. A case study from southern part of Thailand will be illustrated. The insurgencies that cause by national and religious difference from 2003 in the three southest parts of Thailand: Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat, as well as some districts in Songkla province are still occuring (Feigenblatt, n.
d.). This problem leads to the insecurity of students to go to school.
Third, the children, who were born in migrant families, will not have the educational opportunities as same as Thai citizens. Phonlabutra (2012), a Thai researcher, stated that the number of migrant workers in Thailand has increased steadily from the beginning of the 1990s, due to the reason that they can improve their living standards and increase their incomes in their new homeland. UNICEF (2017) has also indicated that half of them are children that require basic education. Thus, it is essential for Thai government to provide education to migrant children in order to fulfill human rights and maintain national security in long term. Whilst the lack of education can lead to further marginalize migrant children and prevent assimilation.
As a result, Thailand enacted Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC 1990), Thailand is obliged to respect, protect and fulfill the right to education for all children including migrant children. Nevertheless, enacting a law and implementation are different, the gap between law and its performances can be seen through the number of migrant children which enroll to school, which is low. Thai public schools only accepted less than 16% of registered migrant children into its education system, while some areas such as Bangkok only have less than 4% of migrant children enroll to schools (Hoyne, 2011).
Petchot (2011) has claimed that there are three problematic levels that impede them from school. Those levels are at policy, school system, and household. At the level of policy, although it is stated that all children will have the rights to education, but only all Thai children will receive supporting budget from government.
Therefore, schools have to bear with the additional budget from migrant children who have no document. Some schools can accept this issue, but migrants themselves cannot accept this due to financial issue. At the level of school system, perspectives from school administrators can hinder the accessibility to education for migrant children. Migrant children are not in school, because most Thai schools do not systematically apply the laws that allow any children in Thailand to go to school (Leelakitichok, 2015). The provided budget from government is misused on different purposes such as school expenditure, whereas those money supposed to be used on students’ educational cost e.
g. uniforms, books, and shoes. However, many schools might not obtain the supporting money as the resolution has stated. Moreover, another factor that points to impedibility of migrant children to school in Thailand is attitude from administrators and Thai parents.
Discrimination is still a issue that lead to inequality to education. At the household level, factor that hinders migrant students to school is decision from migrant parents. It depends on how they perceive on education and Thai education system directly or indirectly.
Parents would consider regarding finance, duration of their stay in Thailand, ability of language, and working skill. As well as, a statistic from Ministry of Interior (MOI) has shown that there were 93,082 children younger than 15 out of 1.28 million migrant workers who were legally registered (Haquet & Punpuing, 2015). Thus, decision from parent will impede students from going to school.
To conclude, there are several factors that hinder migrant students from school. The main reasons are inequality between Thai and migrant students, and poverty. To conclude, living in remote rural areas, being from ethnic communities, and being from immigrant families are three main factors that affect enrollment rate to school in Thailand. Those three are dependent variables that lead to the independent variable of not enrolling to school. Within those aspects, poverty has become one major concern. Children, who live in remote rural areas in Thailand, decide to join labour force instead of going to school, since they can earn more money for themselves and families’ expenditure. Some children from ethnic communities will not go to school due to financial issue, linguistic difference, and insecurity in the areas.
Lastly, children from migrant family might not be able to receive provided money as Thai students obtain due to some contrasting perspectives in three levels: implementation of policy, school, and household levels. As a result, if those elements, that cause lower number of enrollment rate, were to be developed equally by government, students will have gain more access to schools.