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  1. #1
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    Higher Education in Thailand versus the US

    These actually are my wife's observations, not my own. She graduated from Srinakirinwirot University in Bangkok with a degree in Physics. Currently, she is in her second (and final semester) in the English Language Program at the local technical college. I hope this thread will give some idea on what the Thai system is lacking based on someone who has experienced both.

    First off, she was impressed by the quality of teachers and their organization. Every teacher has a master's degree and has every day of class planned out from the beginning.

    The grading system is clear and standardized. In Thailand, if a teacher didn't like her, they could give her an "F" with no recourse. Here, that favoritism is mostly eliminated through approved standardized testing with no possibility of grade changes.

    Being able to think through a problem, rather than blind memorization, is emphasized. Although there is some memorization whenever you learn any language, the school teaches her how to cope with situations in which she doesn't understand every word said.

    The classroom is more interactive between teachers and students. It is not just the teachers dictating something and the students writing it down. The students are required to demonstrate that they can apply the knowledge, not just know the rules.

    Having fun means nothing in the classroom. The students are there to learn and the teacher does not care if the students leave with a smile on their face. His job is to make them fluent English speakers. If someone were to complain that his class wasn't fun, he would tell them to grow the hell up.

    Because some of the other students are from Western cultures (Eastern Europe, Latin America), they are not shy about asking questions and making mistakes. She said it took her a while to get over the losing face anxieties and just participate in discussions like everyone else.


  2. #2
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    I believe Doctoral programs are always under suspiscion and scrutiny by insiders and outsiders alike. Even though advanced degree study is adequate in it's own realm, I've known of many qualified Thai Doctoral candidates whom have sought their repective degrees overseas....then to return to Thailand to continue their lives.

  3. #3
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    Sorry to hear "fun" is verboten. This American teacher sounds like a real burnt out bore. Wonder what his/her actual sucess rate is like?

  4. #4
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    Top Thai universities are equal to your standard one in the UK and USA. Some aspects are better, some worse, same as anything.

    You won't hear that from many farangs, mainly because they never get the chance too see one, they only hear stories from the TEFL crowd who work at low end places.

  5. #5
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    Its no secret that western education is well ahead of Thailand. Fun is to be had after the lessons, at least in an adult setting.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timpatco
    Sorry to hear "fun" is verboten. This American teacher sounds like a real burnt out bore. Wonder what his/her actual sucess rate is like?
    Actually, I'm thinking probably very good.


    Quote Originally Posted by madjbs
    Top Thai universities are equal to your standard one in the UK and USA. Some aspects are better, some worse, same as anything. You won't hear that from many farangs, mainly because they never get the chance too see one, they only hear stories from the TEFL crowd who work at low end places.
    I think Diaw might have words to say different to that, and he aint a TEFLr, burnt out or otherwise.

    great thread Njdesi!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingwilly View Post

    I think Diaw might have words to say different to that, and he aint a TEFLr, burnt out or otherwise.
    No, but he is a nut case.

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    I agree with Kingwilly.. school is not for have fun. All the lost education later in the life of our children will make them "run behind" others or have to serve them just because they got better chance...
    Thai education except the private (nearly not affordable) Universities is useless! I know many "Higher" educated Thais with University degrees work in best position as cashier in Lotus or just happy to have a job at correfour to fill up the shelfs..

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    On the contrary, in Thailand, the government unis (especially the international programs) are better than the private ones.

    People who work as cashiers etc... have graduated from technical schools (like the ones who keep fighting each other), not good universities.

    Whenever people mention education on these forums, the thread is always riddled with inaccurate and downright wrong info.

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    Yes, the private unis do have some good more specialist programs.

    The government unis are generally better for the economics, business, law etc.. programs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by madjbs
    Whenever people mention education on these forums, the thread is always riddled with inaccurate and downright wrong info.
    Yes, and it seems to be mostly posted by you..

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    There are a lot of insults thrown around and 99% come from people who have never set foot in a good university, let alone know anything about how good the education is.

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    Actually, madjibs is right that the top government unis are better most private schools. All the students have to score high on a national high school exam to gain entrance.

    Despite that, there are still problems with Thai universities. One problem is teachers that have a personal dislike of a student can fail them arbitrarily. Of course, I am talking about the dreaded unmarried, middle aged Thai female professor.

    I wonder how much of it is culture or maybe just the necessity of learning English for people living in the US. Would the Eastern Europeans and Latin Americans in her class be as active in class if the course was in their country?

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat reinvented's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madjbs
    There are a lot of insults thrown around and 99% come from people who have never set foot in a good university, let alone know anything about how good the education is.
    no but from working alongside them
    its the ones who have studied abroad at some stage who tend to be the most effective by far to be honest
    they dont see graduating from chula as the accomplishment, rather than the beginning
    i agree alot of western unis are shit too
    but dont agree with your comparison in general
    we won it at wemberlee
    we on it in gay paree...

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    njdesi, I don't know about all unis in Thailand but I know that at Chula and Thammasat teachers can't fail you for no reason.

    All graded papers and exams are either returned or submitted to the program office. From there the grading can be viewed and you can appeal the result if you feel it is wrong.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by reinvented View Post
    no but from working alongside them
    its the ones who have studied abroad at some stage who tend to be the most effective by far to be honest
    they dont see graduating from chula as the accomplishment, rather than the beginning
    i agree alot of western unis are shit too
    but dont agree with your comparison in general
    Well it depends what program they graduated from, some programs would be seen as an accomplishment. Law at TU for example.

    Many students go abroad for an MA, not purely because the education is better (although above BA level is generally better abroad), but, also to gain experience and English ability.

    I would suggest that anyone who has spent time overseas will be better suited to work compared to someone who spent their whole life at home.

    I know at least a dozen Thai people who have studies abroad. The ones I have spoken to have told me they think the standard of education is the same as they experienced in Thailand and they did not feel like they were behind or lacking in knowledge compared to the western students. They generally liked how class discussions were more active than in Thailand. But also said also how western students generally didn't study as hard as students do in Thailand, preferring to have lots of parties.

  17. #17
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    Not a problem at places I know. I know a student who has failed 50% of his classes!

    Contrary to popular belief, cheating is not common or tolerated and people are not passed for doing nothing.

    Of course, it may be different at Sakon Nakhon international institute of food vending for example
    Last edited by madjbs; 03-03-2009 at 12:10 PM.

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat reinvented's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madjbs
    Well it depends what program they graduated from, some programs would be seen as an accomplishment. Law at TU for example. Many students go abroad for an MA, not purely because the education is better (although above BA level is generally better abroad), but, also to gain experience and English ability. I would suggest that anyone who has spent time overseas will be better suited to work compared to someone who spent their whole life at home. I know at least a dozen Thai people who have studies abroad. The ones I have spoken to have told me they think the standard of education is the same as they experienced in Thailand and they did not feel like they were behind or lacking in knowledge compared to the western students. They generally liked how class discussions were more active than in Thailand. But also said also how western students generally didn't study as hard as students do in Thailand, preferring to have lots of parties.
    some good points
    but conversely ive never heard any thai graduate who has studied home and away suggest parity in the quality of education recieved
    even those who have been sentenced to 3 years studying in coventry or some such place, and yes i'm not joking
    still thats my experience working in a thai company where the head of office production has a thai masters
    and the biggest earner is a foreigner with a lot less (not me)

  19. #19
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    The guy I Know who has failed half his classes is at Thammasat, International program though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reinvented View Post
    some good points
    but conversely ive never heard any thai graduate who has studied home and away suggest parity in the quality of education recieved
    Actually what I was trying to say was up until MA level, they felt the level was the same among Thai and western Students, the western students were not more advanced due to having a BA from a western uni.

    I agree that above BA level, most people seem to feel that western unis are superior.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by inconsequential View Post
    Simply put, any instructor who made a habit of failing 50% of his/her students would very quickly, and with a glowing smile, be asked to rethink things.
    As they would in any country

    If you have to fail so many people, you obviously are not teaching them very well.

    You are not talking about a guy teaching English Major at Tha Phrachan are you by any chance?

  22. #22
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    I think most Thai Unis are well below its western counterparts.
    I take my judgement from the curriculum of several Chiang Mai University (CMU) MBA programs. CMU is one of the better Thai university and has a certain prestige, state Uni you can only get in by passing a test.
    And I can honestly say that by having a Thai MBA from CMU you're about as qualified and educated as a good Swiss college (preparatory school for University) It might be different in some Chulangkorn/Thammasat programs, I don't know about that, but it certainly is no wonder that Thailand always fares so bad in international tests.
    Last edited by plorf; 03-03-2009 at 04:51 PM.

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    I'm certainly not an expert in Thai vs US unis but all the many well to do Thais I know invariably send their kids to western unis.

    Gotta believe it is because the parents assess western Unis are better?

  24. #24
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    ^ I think that it's as much to do with prestige as with quality. Most of the Thais I know have masters or above from foreign universities, the majority of whom went abroad to study because if you belong to a certain class, it's just what you do.

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    and networking.

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