What Is Secondary School?
A secondary school or high school in Thailand is defined as an institution offering a secondary school education after primary school. Secondary school education is compulsory for students in most countries to prepare them for higher education in the future.
A typical secondary school education lasts for at least five years. The age of an average secondary school student is 13 years old and they will receive a secondary school education until the age of 17 or 18 before pursuing pre-university studies.
What is the Best Age to Start Secondary School in Thailand?
Secondary school years in high schools in Thailand are divided into lower secondary, or elementary school, and upper secondary. Lower secondary and upper secondary levels last three years each. Students aged 12 to 18 years old can attend high schools in Thailand from M1 to M6 levels, where ‘M’ stands for Mattayorn. Currently, only M1 to M3 levels are compulsory for all students aged 12 to 14.
On the other hand, the beginning of secondary education at international schools depends on the curriculum offered by the respective schools. Schools that follow the British Curriculum Secondary levels consist of KS3 (Ages 11 to 14) and KS4 (Ages 14 to 16). Students will typically sit for the (I)GCSE examinations at the end of KS4 at age 16. The curriculum aims to hone students’ higher order thinking skills and encourage independent learning as they prepare for the (I)GCSE examinations. At pre-university level, students can also go through KS5 from the ages of 16 to 18.
For the American Curriculum, students aged 11 to 14 progress to Middle School which covers Grade 6 to Grade 8. They then move on to High School until the age of 18 to complete Grade 9 to Grade 12. The core subjects at each level are English language, arts, mathematics, science and social studies. In addition, students are exposed to visual and performing arts, foreign languages, physical education and technology.
What Topics are Learnt at Secondary School in Thailand?
Generally, the Thai national curriculum consists of three levels. The first level consists of all of the eight main subject areas, and is offered to all students. The second level is made up of three streams, which are science–mathematics, language–mathematics, and language concentrations. Specialised subjects are offered at the third level where students have more freedom in selecting the subjects they want to focus on.
To enter upper secondary levels, students have to pass the O-NET test (Ordinary National Educational Test) and complete one or two elective courses. The elective courses consist of science programmes, mathematics programmes, foreign language programmes, or social science programmes.
The upper secondary curriculum in Thai national schools consists of the Thai language, mathematics, science, social studies, religion and culture; health and physical education; arts; vocations and technology; and foreign languages.
At the end of upper secondary, students sit for the A-NET test (Advanced National Educational Test). This qualification is equivalent to British A levels, the International Baccalaureate or the American High School Diploma. Students are also encouraged to join uniform bodies such as the Red Cross, Scouts and Girl Guides throughout high school in Thailand.
Types of Secondary Schools in Thailand
There are public secondary schools, private secondary schools and international schools offering secondary school levels. An international school education is costly in Thailand. If Thai parents want their children to be exposed to the English language from young, they can enrol their children in bilingual schools or schools that have English programmes. The national curriculum is taught in English at these schools.
How Do You Apply to Secondary in Thailand?
Parents who are interested in enrolling their children in international schools can contact the school directly for application purposes. Generally, the international school application process involves payment of registration fee and assessment test. If the child meets all requirements, parents would need to pay an admission fee and deposit for successful enrolment.
What are the Average Fees for Secondary School in Thailand?
Fees for high schools in Thailand vary greatly depending on whether they are privately owned schools or government schools. Therefore, it’s important for parents to find a primary school that fits their budget.
A public school education in Thailand is free of charge until Grade 9, the final year of lower secondary school. For government schools outside Bangkok, parents might need to pay fees for books and classes that amount to 10,000 baht annually. School uniforms also need to be bought by parents. Private schools and international schools charge varying miscellaneous fees.