Facing the Strait of Malacca to its West and the South China Sea to the East, the Kingdom of Thailand shares land borders with four other countries in South-east Asia. Unlike other countries in the region, Thailand was never subjected to colonial conquest. The Buddhist religion predominates and the monarchy and the military have played formidable roles in shaping Thai society, culture and politics. Since 1947 Thailand has largely known military rule with a few intervals of democratic governance. Demographically, the country has an aging population and growth rates in that respect have begun to slow. The Thai Government has acknowledged the demographic shifts and prioritised the rapid development of human resource capacity, so as to position the country for successful competition in the global market economy of the 21st Century.

source(s): UNESCO EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/14

Main Barriers to Education

  • Poverty
  • Child labour
  • Lack of inclusive educational settings

Interventions to Barriers

  • Teacher training
  • Provision of learning materials
  • Construction/Rehabilitation of classrooms

A staunch proponent of Education for All (EFA), the Government of Thailand has enshrined the principles in its 2007 constitution, stipulating ‘every person is equally entitled to the right to receive at least 12 years of a quality education provided by the government at no cost.’ Since becoming a signatory to the EFA movement, the country has placed a premium on people-centred development, raising learner achievement at every level and implementing teacher reform. In addition, the Ministry of Education has produced the Eleventh National Education Development Plan, which took aim at cultivating lifelong learning opportunities, fostering skills acquisition and ensuring Thailand’s viability in the global arena.

However, in spite of the government’s political will, serious challenges with respect to access and quality remain. For instance, according to Thai authorities, children in ethnic minority groups, stateless children, disabled children or those without proper household documentation are often marginalised and will face certain access barriers. Regarding quality, parity is elusive, as children from the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum grapple with education inequity relative to middle/higher-income children. Furthermore, the education system lacks a uniformity of administration and standards, which has complicated initiatives to collect, monitor and analyse education data.

To help address these issues, EAC has partnered with UNESCO to increase education access to some of Thailand’s most marginalised OOSC. Through the Strengthening Education System for OOSC project, UNESCO will seek to enhance the institutional capacity of education systems and create a supportive atmosphere for OOSC via sustainable and consistent programme delivery. Specific project interventions include: implementation of flexible-learning programmes equivalent to formal education; providing capacity building training programmes for formal school teachers; and developing literacy and numeracy programmes for OOSC.

Geographic Location: South-eastern Asia

Languages:Thai (official), Burmese, other ethnic languages

source: save the children

Year added: 




Successfully Completed Project

With EAC support, Save the Children (STC) is implementing the ACCESS project in Eastern Myanmar and Thailand. The project aims to address key barriers to education in three communities: eastern Myanmar; refugee camps in Thailand; and migrant communities in Bangkok and Mae Sot, Thailand.
Strengthening Education System for Out of School Children

Strengthening Education System for Out of School Children

Successfully Completed Project

The Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, and East Timor continue to face challenges in reaching and educating out of school children (OOSC). The EAC-UNESCO Asia Pacific Regional Bureau for Education Strengthening Education Systems for Out of School Children project seeks to enrol and retain 50,000 out of school children in quality primary education programs in the sub-region.


Save the Children

Save the Children and Educate A Child have partnered in Côte d’Ivoire and Thailand/Myamar to help children affected by conflict to enrol and stay in school. In Ethiopia, the Save the Children and EAC partnership is working to reach the most marginalized children across five regions, three major cities, and two refugee camps with quality primary level education.


EAC partnered with UNESCO to help realise Sustainable Development Goal 4 (ensure inclusive and quality education for all), as well as the former Millennium Development Goal 2 (achieve universal primary education). To that end, the two have joined in partnership to implement education interventions in 11 countries to reach OOSC in Asia and the Middle East.