We all know about all the fantastic holiday destinations in Thailand. Some famous and crowded spots to experience the hustle and bustle to some remote exotic ones to experience the natural beauty and the sunny beaches – you can find it all in Thailand. But when it comes to moving to Thailand, that’s a different thing altogether and requires Information much more than that.
One of those essential and practical questions is, what about kids’ education? Every parent needs to think about it in the first place before choosing to settle anywhere. Even if you don’t have kids, you would want to have that knowledge before planning your future in Thailand – especially since Thailand is not an English speaking country.
Therefore, this entire article is about getting an education in Thailand. If you are of those parents who are moving to Thailand, here is good news for you_Thailand is actually with some great opportunities for your children’s education regardless of your nationality.
Schools In Thailand
Thailand has both government-run schools and private schools. While the government-run schools offer primary and secondary education to Thai nationals and instruct mainly in the Thai language with English as a secondary language from grade 5, private schools come with three main options:
1. Private Thai Schools_ teaches Thai curriculum
- Private Christian Schools_ follows the Seventh-day Adventist Church education system.
- Private International Schools_ offers a choice of curricula to both Thai nationals and kids from other countries.
If either of the student’s parents is Thai, they will be considered a Thai national, as long as their birth was also registered in Thailand. In that case, a student can get admitted to a Thai school and can even avail education for free in a government-run one. The academic year for government schools runs from May to March.
However, for expat families, they have international schools which are, in fact, high standard and desirable. For your better understanding, let’s discuss it a bit elaborate here:
Starting in 1951 with only one international school in Bangkok, Thailand now has over 180 of them. Ever Since the Thai nationals have been allowed to attend international schools in 1992, The sector has boomed; especially in the last two decades, the growth has been tremendous.
Nowadays, the network of international schools in Thailand is firmly well-established with a mix of independent schools, foreign branches of British public schools, and international school groups-run schools. Most of these schools’ locations are in Bangkok with the rest of the others in popular areas like Phuket, Chonburi, Chiang Mai, and Khorat.
The student populations in most of these schools are pretty multicultural, with a mixture of Thai nationals and international students from Asia, Europe, Australasia, and North America.
These are mostly all-through schools that offer an education from nursery through to A-level; Nonetheless, they also have some individual primary and secondary schools but with fewer options. For most schools, the academic year runs from August to June. It can be divided into two or three semesters as per the curriculum.
International schools are significantly focused on extracurricular activities like music, arts, sports, etc., with many of them having state-of-the-art facilities on their campuses. Besides, the lengthy list of extracurricular activities and residential trips are also quite evident, which they offer to all of their students.
In Thailand, there are also some schools with boarding facilities that are offering flexible daily, weekly, and termly boarding options to students, both boys, and girls, often from 3 Years upwards.
License and Quality Assurance
International schools in Thailand have to be licensed by the Thai Ministry of Education, and they are regulated by the Office of the Private Education Commission.
Also, every five years, they undergo a mandatory assessment process by the Office for National Education Standards and Quality Assurance (ONESQA), which is a must for all the schools in Thailand to assure the quality of the school’s performance.
Besides, some schools are inspected independently by their respective international organizations. International schools that are members of the International Schools Association of Thailand are also certified by their associated organizations such as the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Council of International Schools (CIS), etc.
However, top tier schools usually have both the accreditations; national ONESQA certification, and multiple international certifications. And even though International schools are licensed and regulated by Thai government organizations, they are much independent to decide on the curriculum, student admission criteria, and fees.
There are a variety of international schools in Thailand, such as British, American, Australian, French, German, Canadian, and Indian schools. Besides, parents can also choose more generic ‘international’ schools as well.
However, most of these schools follow either the British or American curriculum or the International Baccalaureate program (IB) ; or they may follow both. While most international schools in Thailand follow one curriculum, some of them offer it uniquely by blending different curriculum and styles of teaching together.
There are even several missionary schools that offer their Seventh-day Adventist Church education system combining into a British or American curriculum. Most of the students and the teaching staff in these schools are Thai; these are comparatively cheaper options too than other international schools.
In most of the schools, Thai Language and Culture lessons are open for all the students. But for Thai nationals, this course is a compulsory part of the curriculum from nursery to A level.
One may also learn French, Japanese, Mandarin, or Spanish depending on their respective schools; in fact, some schools offer absolutely bilingual or even trilingual education to their students.
If you compare school fees of international schools in Thailand with those of Europe or other parts of Asia, it seems relatively reasonable; However, still expensive for average people with school’s annual tuition fees starting from THB 300,000-800,000 in grade 1 to THB 420,000-950,000 for grade 12.
But these are merely the annual fees. To enroll your child to these schools, you have to be ready for much more than these since there will be additional charges for_
- An application and enrolment fees (non-refundable)
- A non-refundable campus development fee
- A refundable deposit
- Technology fees
- extracurricular activities
- Contributions to the association of parents
- Exams, field trips, etc.
Thankfully, some of these fees are optional. Nonetheless, there are also some extra expenses such as uniform and transport, and even lunch if a child is in grade 1.
However, all these expenses come with several benefits such as state-of-the-art facilities within campuses, the latest technology, modern classrooms, the international teaching staff, and opportunities to create a global platform for the study.
Although the annual fees are quite high, in many schools, there are opportunities for your children to get a scholarship, which can result in a partial to complete reduction in tuition fees and even boarding. Usually, students get these scholarships for their excellence in academia, sport, and the creative arts.
How to apply
Applying to an international school in Thailand can be done at any time of the year. You will need to submit a completed application form, which can be virtual or physical; and attach the form with the following documents:
- Non-immigrant ED visa
- Copies of school reports of the applicant’s (both the current and previous year)
- Copies of statement for each grade of high school completed
- 1x passport-sized photograph
- Photocopy of applicant’s birth certificate
- Immunization records
- Health certificate
- A non-refundable application fee
It is always advised to apply at your earliest convenience; since there can be a long list of students waiting for some classes. After the application process is done, the school administration then contacts the parents with a date for an admission interview or assessment at the school if they chose the candidate.
In most of the schools, students require sitting for an entrance exam, usually assessed on their proficiency in English and math. However, in the most popular schools the selection process may be done based on the applicant’s academic achievements.
All in all, Thailand can be amazingly good for your children’s education, and it’s getting better day by day. Between 2017-2019 seven new international schools have started their journey in Thailand, including some highly prestigious ones; thus, options are only widening every year for the students from around the world.