A study of mathematics education in Thailand
By: Suchart Ratanakul
Published: 1958
Uploaded: 10/19/2006
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: history, mathematics, Study and teaching, Thailand

The present study deals with the problem of developing a mathematics curriculum for Thailand at the secondary school level in the academic line, from the eighth to the twelfth grades. The curriculum development has been considered in relation to the cultural context, historical traditions, social trends, and emerging issues of Thailand to fit the curriculum to the present status of the country.
The study describes briefly an overall picture of Thailand; the place and the role of mathematics education in Thailand today compared to other countries; implications of some aspects of mathematics education in these countries for a new program in mathematics education of Thailand; the historical development in mathematics education of Thailand; the reasons and the recommendations for changes in the curriculum; and the suggestions for carrying out the plan in the schools of Thailand.
In spite of the fact that Thailand is originally an agricultural country, there is every indication that Thailand has been coping with mathematical needs associated with the growth of technology and industry for a number of years. One of the most important factors which can satisfy this need is the equipping of young students with modern mathematical tools. This task can be accomplished only when these young students are provided with an adequate background in mathematics. Research findings reveal that the present mathematics curriculum based entirely on the traditional subject matter and traditional approach has been out of date. The development of the mathematics curriculum has become a universal concern.
Thus, it is more advantageous for Thailand to develop its mathematics curriculum based on its functional value to the country and on the contemporary trend of mathematics in different parts of the world. Some of the main ideas included in the recommendations for the new program have been adapted from the work of the Commission on Mathematics of the College Entrance Examination Board of the United States and the ideas of some contemporary mathematicians and educators. The major part of the subject matter in the new program belongs to the traditional mathematics, but it is treated in the light of modern mathematics.
This study is concerned with secondary school education from the eighth to the twelfth grades because these grades constitute the transition period in the study of mathematics in Thailand, the period in which students proceed from the study of informal to formal mathematics.
To put the new program into operation the Ministry of Education needs to be convinced of the merits of the program. As soon as the Ministry of Education accepts the program and determines that it is to be officially used, the Ministry must revise a nation-wide examination program. The change in the examination program will help in shifting the teaching of mathematics from the old-fashioned to a new frontier in mathematics. Moreover, all basic problems, such as the training of teachers, the preparation of textbooks, teachers' manuals, classrooms, equipment, teaching aids, will have to be worked out under the control of the Ministry of Education. This is because the educational system of Thailand is highly centralized and the Ministry of Education is the most powerful authority in the country. Nevertheless, the success of the work depends mostly on the budget of the Ministry of Education which is very low compared with other items in the budget of the country.
That the Ministry of Education has full power in educational control of Thailand is one of the most crucial points in implementing the new plan. The Ministry of Education, however, should not require teachers to teach the new program until they are well-prepared; as soon as the Ministry of Education puts the new program into official use, it must allow a great extent of flexibility both in the program and in the teaching.

Sponsor: Howard F. Fehr
Dissertation Committee: James E. McClellan, Myron F. Rosskopf
Degree: Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University