The Thai Context: Historical, Cultural, Demographic, Geographic, Economic, and Political

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


To understand contemporary Thai education, it is critically important to become familiar with Thailand’s historical, cultural, demographic, geographic, economic, and political context. The three pillars of Thailand are nation, religion, and king. Thailand has a long history dating back to the establishment of the first Tai Sukhothai kingdom back in 1238, eight centuries ago. During that kingdom a unique writing script was developed in 1283, drawing upon Indic traditions. In 1932, Siam in a peaceful revolution was transformed from an absolute into a constitutional monarchy (Charnvit 2004). Since 1932, political impermanence (Pridi 1970) has characterized Thailand with frequent changes back and forth from civilian to military governments, but political stability has been provided by a highly respected monarchy and a well-educated stable bureaucracy. Thailand is exceptional in numerous ways such as never have been colonized and pursuing bamboo diplomacy to survive in times of conflict and external threats. Culturally and linguistically Thailand has great diversity with over 70 languages spoken (Chap. 15). There are five major regions of Thailand, each with distinctive characteristics. Throughout its history, Thailand has shown great resiliency. Current major challenges relate to the kind of government which will be established after the next election. To escape the middle-income trap, it is imperative that the new government and monarch give priority to improving the quality of education, investing in human resource development, and significantly increasing strategic R & D (see Chap. 16).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEducation in the Asia-Pacific Region
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages24
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NameEducation in the Asia-Pacific Region
ISSN (Print)1573-5397
ISSN (Electronic)2214-9791

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.


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