Ray of hope for Thai education system

Here is the new title of the article published on Monday, May 25th 2015, in the Nation.

“The Ministry of Education’s recent announcement of new criteria for teachers’ Vidhayathana – trans-academic standing and competency assessment – is a good sign.
The Office of the Teacher Civil Service and Educational Personnel Commission approved the new criteria and methods governing teachers’ application for Vidhayathana’s “special expertise” and “specialist teacher” titles, with students’ academic achievement easily the most important factor.

From past experience, one must admit that the Vidhayathana assessments didn’t help students, as the more expertise and specialist teachers there were the poorer the students’ results seemed to get. This is despite the fact that Vidhayathana’s real objective – as part of the second round of education reform – is to promote teacher development.

The new criteria needed before someone is granted a special expertise or specialist teacher title is as follows:

– The assessment focuses on the results a teacher as delivered in terms of their students’ performances;

– A teacher must be able to elevate the quality of education concretely;

– The assessment is conducted in a classroom environment, which will help stop teachers abandoning classes;

– Prior to the application for a Vidhayathana assessment, a teacher must pass an examination and have their experience assessed by their affiliated civil service agency;

(…)”


When I saw the title published in The Nation, I was quite excited about reading such an amazing news about Thai education and teachers’ assessments. Then, I remained puzzled with a couple of questions about the new criteria:

1_The assessment focuses on the results a teacher as delivered in terms of their students’ performances: should we understand that teachers who tend to give lower grades will end up being considered as “not-so-good- teachers”, whereas teachers who give higher grades to their students will automatically be considered as excellent teachers?

2_A teacher must be able to elevate the quality of education concretely: concretely, how would you define “to elevate the quality of education” in today’s educational context? Does the quality of education only rests on teachers’ shoulders?

3_The assessment is conducted in a classroom environment, which will help stop teachers abandoning classes: Do teachers abandon classes only because of students, or rather because of pay, because of workload, or because of schools’ administration internal systems and management?

4_Prior to the application for a Vidhayathana assessment, a teacher must pass an examination and have their experience assessed by their affiliated civil service agency: how knowledgeable in terms of education are these assessors?