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The Transition to Secondary School: Views of Parents in a Rural District of Central Thailand

Publication Abstract

Knodel, John E., and Napaporn Havanon. "The Transition to Secondary School: Views of Parents in a Rural District of Central Thailand." PSC Research Report No. 92-252. September 1992.

This paper is a report of "work in progress" on a research project undertaken at the Graduate School of Srinakharinwirot Univeristy (Prasarnmith) intended to comprehensively examine the determinants of continuation of education past the compulsory primary level in Thailand. It involves both quantitative and qualitative methods and data. In the present report, the authors limit their focus to presentation of some initial results based on the qualitative data collected in three purposively selected rural primary school areas in Sanka Buri district of Chai Nat province in Central Thailand. Parallel data are in the process of being collected in a rural district in the Northeast but are not yet available for analysis. Quantitative analyses currently in progress will compliment the qualitative finding but are not reported here.

Population Studies Center Current Research is produced and distributed by the Population Studies Center, University of Michigan, 1225 S. University, Ann Arbor, MI 48104-2590 (313-998-7275), Cindy Glovinsky, Editor.

Findings indicate that while the promotion of secondary and higher education has important implications for the economy and society as a whole, it also has very real significance for the individual. Probably no decision has more influence on a Thai child's future economic and social well-being than the decision of whether or not to continue studies past compulsory primary schooling. Parents in the rural area of central Thailand where this study was conducted clearly recognized the importance of education and had only two major qualifications of their support for continued education: 1) doubts about the ability to obtain suitable employment after graduating and 2) fears that children risk falling under the bad influence of the wrong group of fellow students leading to smoking, glue sniffing, drinking and, in the case of girls, being seduced into premarital sex relations or being raped. These concerns can be alleviated in a number of ways and thus under the right circumstances most parents are eager or at least willing to send their children on to lower secondary school. We also find that continuing past compulsory education is influenced by poverty, non-economic influences such as the child's attitude, and teachers. All of these are examined in some detail.

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