Category Archives: School Life

Thailand’s Top 50 High Schools


The following list of Thailand’s Top 50 high schools are based on 2012 successful admission to Thailand’s top universities, national O-net results and other official student academic achievement. The list includes both public and private high schools, but does not include international schools.

Topping the list is not surprisingly Mahidol Wittayanusorn School which is the only school in the country which specializes in developing students who are regarded as ‘exceptionally gifted’, especially in maths and science. There are no school fees to pay, but admittance is the toughest in the country.


Once upon a time, the capital’s Christian/Catholic schools were the crème-de-la-crème of elitist education. However, except for St Gabriel College at #11, all have dipped in prestige and educational academic success over the years. Many of which do not even get into the Top 100 these days, let alone the Top 50.

So, if you are a foreign parent in Thailand or a wanna-be teacher to the country, we hope this list (from the Ministry of Education) will be of much interest.

1. Mahidol Wittayanusorn School; Nakhorn Pathom
2. Triam Udom Suksa School; Bangkok
3. Suankularb Wittayalai School; Bangkok
4. Hatyaiwittayalai School; Songkhla
5. Samsen Wittayalai School; Bangkok
6. Bunyawat Witthayalai School; Lampang
7. Bodindecha (Sing Singhaseni) School; Bangkok
8. Patumwan Demonstration School; Bangkok
9. Debsirin School; Bangkok
10. Kanaratbumrung Yala; Yala
11. St. Gabriel’s College; Bangkok (Private)
12. Benjamarachutit School; Nakhorn Sri Thammarat
13. Satriwithaya School; Bangkok
14. Montfort College; Chiang Mai (Private)
15. Benjamarachutit School; Ubol Ratchathani
16. Satit Chiang Mai Demonstration School; Chiang Mai
17. Prince Royal’s College; Chiang Mai (Private)
18. Udon Pittayanukool; Udon Thani
19. Demonstration School of Prince of Songkhla; Songkhla
20. Satit Chulalongkorn Demonstration School; Bangkok
21. Yupparaj Wittayalai School; Chiang Mai
22. Sathya Sai School; Bangkok (Private)
23. Nakhon Sawan School; Nakhon Sawan
24. Mahawachirawut School; Songkhla
25. Dusitaram Secondary School; Bangkok
26. Kasetsart University Laboratory School; Bangkok
27. Suratthani School; Surat Thani
28. Khon Kaen Wittayayon School; Khon Kaen
29. Satriwitthaya 2 School; Bangkok
30. Piriyalai School; Phrae
31. Ratchasima Witthayalai; Nakhorn Ratchasima
32. Satit Demonstration School of Khon Kaen University; Khon Kaen
33. Prommanusorn School; Phetchaburi
34. Phuket Wittayalai School; Phuket
35. Princess Chulabhorn College; Trang
36. Samakkhi Wittayakhom School; Chiang Rai
37. Ratchaniwit Bang Kaeo School; Samut Prakarn
38. Yothinburana School; Bangkok
39. Benjamarachutit School; Ratchaburi
40. Bangkok Christian College; Bangkok (Private)
41. Chakkamkanatorn School; Lamphun
42. Nareerat School; Phrae
43. Suratpittaya School; Surat Thani
44. Suankularb Wittayalai Nonthaburi School; Nonthaburi
45. Kaen Nakhon Wittayalai School; Khon Kaen
46. Suranaree School; Nakhorn Ratchasima
47. Assumption College; Bangkok (Private)
48. Suksanari School; Bangkok
49. Chalermkwansatree School; Phitsanulok
50. Satit Prasarnmit Demonstration School; Bangkok

First Look at the Free Tablet for Thai Students

It has been a long time coming, but the One Tablet Per Child (OTPC) election promise of the Thai government is finally coming together. Primary 1 students in some districts of Thailand have already started to receive their free tablets. In total 800,000 of the Chinese made tablets are expected to be distributed to schools around Thailand in the coming months. This will be done province by province in alphabetical order. In Samut Prakan Province, Primary 1 teachers have already attended a 3-day seminar to familiarize themselves with the device. Yesterday was the turn of school computer technicians and I was lucky enough to go along to have my first look.

What we have here is a 7 inch touchscreen device. For the techies, I can reveal that it weighs only 350g and has a 1.2Ghz ARM Cortex A8 processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. The device runs on  Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” and comes pre-loaded with educational software. Teachers can also install more software by using a micro card or downloading from the Internet using WiFi. If a student loses a device, it would cost parents 2,640 Baht ($84) to replace it. There has been some negative newspaper reports about battery life, but with any touchscreen tablet, this will vary depending on your usage. So far, the average seems to be 3-5 hours which will be enough for a student to use during the day. After all, they are not using the tablets for every single lesson.

On the first screen you have the choice between Lessons, Books, Multimedia and Applications. If you choose “Lessons” you then get a second choice of “offline” or “online”. The latter means that you can get the most up-to-date lessons straight from the Internet. But, with “offline” there is already plenty to read that will take the students most of the year to go through. On the next screen you are given the choice of the 5 core subjects of Thai, Math, Social Studies, Science and English. What you get is a Flash application which is basically a talking book with animation. I read through the Social Studies subject and had chapters such as My School, My Family, Nature etc. It was all very well presented and I am sure that the students will find it interesting.

With the English subject there are two different Flash applications. The first one is produced by Genki English and seems to have all of their CDs which are for sale on their popular website. Hopefully the Thai government actually paid for the use of these CDs on the device otherwise they will get a large copyright infringement bill. But it is very good as it both teaches and tests the kids. The second application is made in Thailand. Like the other subjects, I am not sure how easy it will be for the teacher to use these in the classroom. It is more suited to self-study. I think the students will benefit greatly if they can take them home and learn by themselves.

As well as the pre-loaded applications, there is a desktop where you can load other software that can run on Android devices. There are also programs such as Instagram and GMail. As you can see from this screenshot, Angry Birds also works. However, the teacher doesn’t need to worry about the students installing their own programs as there is a password lock for installing which can be changed by the teacher. Overall I am very impressed with the tablet. The touchscreen was far more responsive than I thought it would be. The speed was also good. I am not sold yet on the benefits of using it in the classroom. But time will tell. The tablets should be arriving at the end of this month and I will be doing some follow up blogs here and over at on using Tablets in a Thai classroom.

Respect for Thai Teachers Ceremony

The most important event to be held at Sriwittayapaknam School is the annual Wai Kru Ceremony. Like other schools around the country this always takes place towards the start of the new academic year and always on a Thursday. The students pay respect to their teachers by presenting them with flowers and going down onto the floor to do a krab which is the most respectful way to show respect. The students hope to gain merit and good fortune for the coming year.

Every student came to school with a bunch of flowers for their teachers. The flowers used in the arrangement are symbolic. Dok Ma Khue (eggplant flower) stands for respect because when the tree is blooming its branches bend down in the same way a student pays respect to their teacher. Ya Praek (Bermuda grass) stands for patience or perseverance because although the grass looks wilted it is still very much alive. Khao Tok (popped rice) stands for discipline because the rice is placed in a pan together and heated up to become popped rice. The Dok Kem has the same name as the Thai word for needle. So it means the student will be sharp-witted and brainy.

We have had quite a few foreign educators visit our school over the years from many countries such as America, England and Australia and a few closer to home such as Singapore and Malaysia. All of them agree that Thai students are far better behaved than their counterparts in the West. They often commented that they were surprised how one teacher could control a class of 45 students. While I was taking them around the school, we sometimes came across a class where the teacher had popped out to do something. Again they were amazed how quiet and diligent the students were in the classroom even without their teacher.

Of course, this is not always the case, and in the 16 years that I have been teaching in Thailand, I have sadly seen the discipline of the students getting closer to what it is like in the West. We are starting to see the students being more rowdy and talking back to the teacher. Traditionally in Thai schools, students were taught by the rote method which is ideal when you have such big classes. It is easier to maintain discipline when everyone is doing the same thing at the same time. However, a downside of this method of teaching, is that the students are being taught what to think instead of how to think.

Someone in government then had the bright idea that we should copy some teaching methods from the West. So, we then started to have “child-centered” lessons where everything revolves around the student. Sitting in rows and repeating after the teacher went out the window. In came group work and free thinking. Not so bad in the long run as the students will be more developed and be able to think outside the box more. But, with the students doing different things at the same time it became harder for the teachers to maintain discipline. Couple this with the teacher no longer being able to hit their students, then you start to see cheeky students like you have in the West who are trying to stretch the boundaries to see how far they can go.

I remember when I first started teaching here, I wasn’t too happy to see the students coming to my desk and having to kneel down. In Thai culture, the head of a child shouldn’t be higher than that of their elders. I kept telling them to stand up. I thought I should teach them some of my own culture at the same time as teaching English. But then, I later found out that the students were starting to get in trouble with some of their Thai teachers for not behaving properly. The students were trying to do the same for the other teachers. I do miss the discipline that we had before, but that is a small price to pay to have students that can think for themselves. Instead of blindly following their elders, maybe in the future, we will have people who will make up their own minds on who to vote for in general elections. Then maybe we will then have real democracy in Thailand.

You can read more about Thai School Life in my website Also, follow me on Twitter for the latest news from Thailand.

Candle Procession for Khao Phansa

During the full moon of this month we celebrate the religious holiday of Asarnha Bucha Day. The following day marks the start of the Rains Retreat which is sometimes referred to as the Buddhist Lent. It lasts for about three months. This year it runs from 8th July to 4th October 2009. Most schools and organizations around Thailand organize a Candle Parade to their local temple. The candle is usually about two meters tall and is meant to stay alight for the full three months of the Rains Retreat. During this period the monks are not allowed to wander or leave their temples. It is a time for study and meditation.

Over the next few days there will be quite a few parades through the town as students head towards their local temple to present the monks with a Lent Candle and other essential items. Usually these are led by the school band so you hear them coming from afar. Our school bussed the students to a temple further away as we have too many schools in our area. Once there we then took part in a wien tien which is a procession around the ordination chapel three times in a clockwise direction. This was led by the school band and the Lent Candle. Following behind were about 250 students.

After the procession, we all went into the main sala where nine monks were waiting for us. The basic essentials, the Lent Candle and also over 100,000 baht in money was then offered to the monks and the temple. There was then some chanting and a sermon from the abbot. Waiting in the wings were a couple dozen students from another school. At popular temples you often have to wait your turn. The Rains Retreat is not until next week but as the government made Monday a holiday as well, we now have a five day weekend. I believe they did this to help stimulate the economy by encouraging people to travel during the long holiday.

Songkran at School

In Thailand at the moment it is the summer holidays for school students. At Sriwittayapaknam School in Samut Prakan they have just come to the end of Summer School. Next week marks the start of the Songkran Festival which is the start of the traditional Thai new year. As it is the hottest time of the year, young people like to have some fun by taking part in water fights during the three day Songkran Festival.

Traditionally, Thai people pour rose scented water over Buddha images and the hands of elders and monks. They do this in order to receive a blessing and also good luck for the new year.

Thai people also go to the temple to make merit by offering food to the monks and taking part in activities such as “chedi sai” where they build stupas out of sand.

The school invited monks from a local temple so that the students and their parents could make merit. But, the highlight for most of the students were the water fights that they took part in afterwards. Everyone had fun splashing water. This will now be a daily occurrence for the next four or five days.