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Educational attainment, Thailand

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EDUCTH indicates the person's educational attainment in Thailand in terms of the level of schooling completed.

Comparability — General

The treatment of vocational education differs greatly in 1980 and 1990. Also, in 1977 Thailand's education system changed from 4-3-3-2 to a 6-3-3 structure:

  • Before 1977, basic education included 7 grades in the primary level (P1-P4 and P5-P7), 3 grades in lower secondary (MS1-MS3), and 2 years in upper secondary (MS4-MS5).
  • After 1977, basic education includes 6 years in the primary level (P1-P6), 3 grades in lower secondary (M1-M3), and 3 grades in upper secondary (M4-M6).
  • In the 1970 and 1980 samples, the variable also identifies equivalences with the pre-1961 system, which had 4 grades in primary education (P1-P4) and 8 grades in secondary education (M1-M3, M4-M6, and M7-M8).

In particular, the first grade of pre-1977 lower secondary (MS1) is equivalent to the second grade of post-1977 lower secondary (M2), while the remaining two grades (MS2-MS3) are equivalent to the third grade of the new system (M3). In upper secondary, the old MS4 corresponds with M5 and old MS5 with M6.

Vocational education is offered both at the secondary and post-secondary levels. Lower secondary vocational (MS1-MS3) is available for those with primary complete and upper secondary vocational (MS4-MS5 or MS4-MS6) is available for those with lower secondary complete. Vocational education can also lead to an occupational certificate, such as a higher vocational diploma (which offers additional years of education after completing some vocational secondary level) or teacher training diplomas. In 1970, the variable also identifies a primary vocational level, which corresponds to the pre-1961 education system.

If a person finished short vocational education courses or vocational education that did not teach formal subjects or did not have a general education program (such as dressmaking, tailoring, car driving, radio repairing, etc.), those are not recorded as an additional level of formal education, except for the 1990 sample which includes a category for short vocational education.

The tertiary education level means education in university, college, cadet school, or other higher institutions considered at the same level of a university. A bachelor's degree usually requires 4 years for completion, but it could be shorter for people holding a diploma or who finished higher vocational education.

In 1990 and 2000, the variable also identifies people receiving religious education; in 1990, the religious education categories also include equivalences with the highest level achieved in the formal education system (primary, secondary, or university). All samples include pre-primary education, but only the 2000 sample distinguishes grades within pre-primary.

Finally, the category "other education" includes alternatives such as nursing, arts, physical education or other schools that are part of other government agencies (such as chemistry lab, train engineering, post office, navy, air force or police school, etc.).


  • Persons age 5+


  • Thailand: 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000