Lessons in a wat
Since Thailand is a religious country strongly influenced by Buddhism, the monasteries used to take care of the education of the children. This formation mainly happened in the wats. These were religious educational institutions that were mostly financed by the population.
A wat is not to be equated with a Buddhist monastery because many non-monks also lived and live there. A wat is more of a religious center where people meet for different purposes. A wat doesn’t necessarily have to be Buddhist, there are also Hindu and Christian institutions that are also known as wat. Children often gathered here to be taught.
Education wasn’t for everyone in the beginning
But the royal house in Thailand was also concerned about the schooling of its subjects. So Buddhist monks traveled through the country and at least provided the boys with a basic education. The royal family and the nobility were also trained because they had to perform important administrative tasks within the country.
However, a large proportion of the people, especially those who worked in the countryside, were excluded from education. Why should they learn to read and write? They had to work in the fields and this skill was of little use to them. But early on, in the middle of the 19th century, there was a university in the capital Bangkok that anyone could go to and learn, not just the children of the nobility.
High standard of education
Thus, people in Thailand recognized early on that education is important and the measures continued. Thailand has a very low illiteracy rate, with only four out of 100 people unable to read or write. If you take a look at the neighboring countries of Thailand, that is a good number in comparison. The rate is much higher in Laos, where many, especially older people, cannot write or read at all. This is also due to the fact that the education of children – especially boys – did not just begin in modern Thailand.
Problems despite compulsory schooling
In Thailand there is compulsory schooling and the children should actually go to school for nine years. But only the first six years of primary school are really free of charge, then parents often have to pay for books and material. Not everyone can afford this. After primary school, the children can attend secondary school or learn a trade. This is often not so easy for rural children because the way to school to secondary school is often very long, much longer than for children who live in a larger city.
Boy scouts in school
By the way, Thai schools also have boy scouts. Once a week the children come to school in uniform. Then there are no real lessons, but the children do what scouts do. Can you imagine that at your school and how would you like it?
Old fashioned learning
The school in Thailand is not very modern. The teaching methods in particular are reminiscent of the past century. The children wear uniforms and teachers sometimes have to wear a uniform. It all looks a bit military. It is taught frontally: the teacher stands at the blackboard and the children sit in rows and listen. Independent thinking and working are not part of the curriculum. But at least most of them go to school. In addition to the state schools, there are also private schools or international schools that children of foreigners attend.
What do children in Thailand play with?
In Thailand the children – especially the children in the country – are much more connected to nature than here. In a country where there is no winter, it’s always great to play outside. The children like to play with toys that grow in nature and that you don’t have to buy. There is a lot of tinkering, for example from banana leaves, coconut shells or palm fronds. Children play with very simple things, such as sticks and grass or clam shells that they find on the beach.
Horse racing, for example, is popular. The children separate the leaf stem from a banana leaf (which should, however, be quite fresh). They leave a remnant of the leaf as a ponytail. They cut off part of the lower end of the shaft and carve out a horse’s head or at least something that looks like a horse’s head. This head is then put back on the end of the shaft and the perfect horse is ready.
Coconut shell stilts
The stilt race is also popular with children, where they make a kind of stilt from two coconut shell halves that they connect with a cord. The children use it to organize races.
You can find more great games with descriptions at:
Many thanks to Werner Dackweiler, who provided us with the photos and described the games in detail.
Children’s life in Thailand
The situation of children in Thailand depends on many circumstances. In the countryside, the children have to help in the family and often also contribute to the family income in agriculture. City children lead a life that is more like that of children in the West. A lot depends on which family a child is born into. If the parents are doing well or better financially, then the children also go to a good school, receive an education and have the chance to find a good job later. Children from poor families have much worse starting chances.
The child labor situation in Thailand has been improving for several years. Thailand also has Agreement No. 182 of the ILO. In this agreement, states want to jointly take action against child labor and undertake to do something against child labor in their own country, for example with stricter controls. It doesn’t work so well everywhere, but it is a little better in Thailand than in other countries. For more information about Thailand and Asia, please visit militarynous.
There should be a database in Thailand in which all children who work are recorded. According to the Thai Occupational Safety and Health Act, the minimum age from which children are allowed to work is now 15 years. Anyone between the ages of 15 and 18 should not be allowed to do dangerous work. Nevertheless, we can assume that children are still working in Thailand, although they are actually still much too small for that. However, the controls have become better and stricter and Thailand is well on the way to completely eliminating child labor.
Thailand is a popular country for tourists. But there are people who not only want to enjoy the beautiful landscape or lie on the beach, but above all men who are looking for a woman there. Many women in Thailand are poor and in great need. They sell themselves to the men because they see it as an opportunity to feed themselves and often their families as well. Men buy physical love from them for money, which is called prostitution.
It is assumed in Thailand that many of the prostitutes are still minors, i.e. still children or adolescents. According to counts, one speaks of about a third of all prostitutes who are not yet adults. Thailand is a country that is rich compared to other Asian countries such as Bangladesh or Malaysia. So there aren’t as many aid organizations working here as elsewhere. That is why the problem, which does exist, often goes under.