Thai students lack critical thinking

A student checks the details of a school in Australia at a Bangkok Post Career-Education Expo. (File photo by Pawat Laopaisarntaksin)

The education system in Thailand has failed to equip its students with crucial skills for the 21st century job market such as critical thinking, problem-solving and foreign language proficiency due to its educational culture, according to Crimson Education Thailand, a consulting company that helps Thai students win entry to the world’s elite universities.

Sujaree Xu, managing director of Crimson Education Thailand, criticised the outdated curriculum and educational culture in Thailand, saying they do not focus on the development of soft skills, such as extracurricular activities and promotion of independence.

Ms Sujaree said radical change is needed in how Thai students are educated, which means tackling the root of the problem in Thai education — the social norms of Thai culture.

“The educational system tends to focus heavily on content and not necessarily the thought process, so true understanding is often not present,” Ms Sujaree said. “Thai education does not encourage critical thinking or inquisitive learning so students struggle to apply knowledge or understanding at a fundamental level.”

Consequently, Thai students are often ill-equipped to enter debates or think analytically when competing on the global stage, as Thai students are rarely encouraged to have their own free thought or question what they have been told.

“So, Thai students need to accept learning as an acquisition of skills, or rather an ability to learn, analyse and think critically, rather than see learning as merely data or content acquisition,” Ms Sujaree said.

As a result, Ms Sujaree said Thai parents increasingly understand that if they want their children to be able to compete in workforce’s in other countries, they might need to send their kids to study in international programmes, international universities in Thailand or even overseas universities as foreign degrees remain an excellent calling card with employers. – The Bangkok Post

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