The Roles of Governments in the Education Reform Policy in Thailand and Their Impacts 1999-2009

Author: Thipsarin Phaktanakul, University of Canberra, Australia
Published: September 2015

Citation: Phaktanakul, T. (2015). The Roles of Governments in the Education Reform Policy in Thailand and Their Impacts 1999-2009. IAFOR Journal of Politics, Economics & Law, 2(1).


The most recent education reform policy in Thailand officially began in 1999, when the National Education Act came into force. It was considered the most comprehensive reform in Thailand’s history. From 1999 to 2009, many governments and ministers of education assumed power. Their roles in implementing the education reform policy as stipulated in the National Education Act were significant. This paper begins by providing a brief historical background of the education reform in Thailand; then explains the theoretical framework; and finally analyses the obstacles to implementing the education reform policy by focusing on the roles of governments based on a topdown approach to policy implementation analysis. Based on a top-down approach, there are five major factors which obstructed the implementation of the education reform policy from 1999-2009, namely: (1) the size of target groups involved and affected and the extent of change required by the policy; (2) the ambiguity of the National Education Act as the main framework for the policy; (3) the lack of one main agency responsible for implementation and the lack of agreement on the education reform policy; (4) different levels of commitment and leadership of the governments; and (5) political instability in Thailand, especially from 2006-2009. The situation after 2009 was not different, and the education reform policy did not proceed as expected.


education reform policy, Thailand, National Education Act