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Youth Thailand

Youth Thailand

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UN ESCAP, Youth in Thailand, youth situation in Thailand, 2002
UN ESCAP, Youth in Thailand, youth situation in Thailand, 2002

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Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

YOUTH IN THAILAND:
A Review of the Youth Situation and National Policies and Programmes

UNITED NATIONS
New York, 2000

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YOUTH IN THAILAND: A REVIEW OF THE YOUTH SITUATION NATIONAL POLICIES AND PROGRAMMES

The designations employed and the presentation in this publication do not imply the expression whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the concerning the legal status of any country, territory, of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of boundaries.

of the material of any opinion United Nations city or area or its frontiers or

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Foreword

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) initiated a project entitled “Capacity-building in HRD policy-making for youth in Asia and the Pacific” in collaboration with Queen’s University, Canada, in August of 1999. The project aimed to strengthen the capacity of governments to formulate and implement, in coordination with the NGO and private sectors, national youth policies and programmes that address the human resources development (HRD) needs of young people in Asia and the Pacific. In focusing on the needs of youth in the region, the project supports ESCAP’s belief that there are three key issues in providing a voice for youth in society: access and benefit, ability to influence and equity. These three issues are ultimately the pillars of youth participation – to ensure the rights of all youth to have access to opportunities and to play an active role in all spheres of society. This includes all youth, girls and boys, young men and women, rural and urban youth, youth with special needs and marginalized youth. The project recognizes the critical need for youth concerns and issues to be understood and addressed. The best way to do so is to give youth a voice through facilitation of their active participation. The project included three components: (1) Advisory services to the governments of Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam in the establishment or strengthening of national youth coordinating mechanisms for youth policy formulation and implementation; (2) analysis of the youth situation, policies and programmes in the four participating countries, and drafting of policy alternatives; and (3) national youth policy dialogues among governments, NGOs and the private sector.
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YOUTH IN THAILAND: A REVIEW OF THE YOUTH SITUATION NATIONAL POLICIES AND PROGRAMMES

Research on the situation of youth and youth policy in each of the four countries was conducted by a National Counterpart Organization (NCO). These included the Malaysian Youth Council, Malaysia; the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Philippines; the National Youth Bureau, Office of the Prime Minister, Thailand; and the Viet Nam Youth Federation, Viet Nam. This research formed the basis of four country Monographs on the youth situation, policies and programmes as they relate to HRD issues of youth education and training, youth employment, youth health and youth rights and participation, including “Youth in Thailand: A review of the youth situation, policies and programmes”. A series of national policy dialogues was subsequently held in the four countries to discuss the findings of the research. Participants in the dialogues included senior officials from government and non-governmental agencies concerned with youth development. The results of these dialogues have been incorporated into the recommendations section of each of the Monographs. The recommendations that have resulted from these studies will feed into the policy-making process of each of the participating countries. In Thailand and Viet Nam, the recommendations will input into the National Youth Policy of each country that is currently being drafted. In the case of Malaysia, the research will contribute to the Plan of Action arising from the National Youth Development Policy. Finally, in the Philippines, the study forms part of the ongoing policy discussion process in the country. This Monograph was drafted by the National Youth Bureau, Thailand (NYB) in coordination with Chulalongkorn University, and finalized by ESCAP and Queen’s University in collaboration with NYB. The process of finalization of the monograph was coordinated by Ms Sheila Sukonta Thomson during her assignment as Consultant with ESCAP. As part of ESCAP’s efforts to promote youth participation, an attempt was made to involve youth and to seek their opinions throughout the research process. In some countries, youth were the principle players in the NCO research teams and they represented their constituents in the National Policy Dialogues. In other cases, youth were interviewed and their opinions appear in quote form in the Monograph. Canadian students from Queen’s University also participated in the research process. Each NCO hosted one Canadian student who carried out focus group discussions and interviews with youth of that country. Some of the results of these discussions appear in the Monographs.
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The Monograph itself has six chapters: Youth Development; Youth Education; Youth Health; Youth Employment; Youth Participation; and Conclusions and Recommendations. The first chapter on Youth Development provides an overview of youth participation in national development followed by a review of the national youth policy and programmes. Each of the three chapters on education, health, and employment begin with an analysis of policy and programmes in the concerned area. This is followed by a quantitative and a qualitative analysis on youth issues in the relevant area. The chapter on Youth Participation highlights the various youth organizations operating in the country followed by a section that presents youth issues through their own voice. The chapter also discusses youth participation in politics as well as the media. Each of the first five chapters ends with a section that discusses the challenges to youth policy in the relevant area. The final chapter of the Monograph presents conclusions as well as recommendations for further action that have resulted from the research as well as the national policy dialogues. Bearing in mind the objective of the project to strengthen the capacity of governments, in coordination with other sectors, to formulate and implement programmes that address the human resources development needs of youth, it is hoped that this Monograph will encourage at the local, national, and regional levels the inclusion of young people in decisionmaking processes and project implementation. I would like to express our gratitude to Queen’s University, Canada, our partner in conceiving and carrying out the project on youth policy-making in Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. We are grateful to Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for their financial support, without which we would not have been able to carry out the project. In addition, we would like to thank the Conference Board of Canada, which as executing agency for the APEC Phase II Project, was the mechanism that allowed CIDA to provide the funds for this project.

KIM HAK-SU Executive Secretary ESCAP
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Message from the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University, Canada

I welcome the publication of this monograph on the Youth Situation, Policies and Programmes in Thailand with great pleasure. This is one of several important outcomes of the Project on Capacity-building in National Youth Policy-Making in Asia and the Pacific. Youth are key agents of socio-economic development and technological innovation in the Asia-Pacific region. Canada shares with the member countries of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) involved in the project, such as Thailand, the view that the wellbeing of our youth should have a very high priority on the national agenda. Youth policy is an important instrument for promoting greater participation of young people in determining the direction of development in their societies. Identification of the current situation and needs of the youth, and the existing policies and programmes that directly and indirectly affect them, is an essential prerequisite to effective formulation and implementation of policy in which youth can play a positive and active role. I am proud of this major outcome of the collaborative effort of Queen’s University and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). It is an important contribution to the
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YOUTH IN THAILAND: A REVIEW OF THE YOUTH SITUATION NATIONAL POLICIES AND PROGRAMMES

University’s goal of increased internationalization of its programmes and scholarship. Young Canadian interns and young people from the AsiaPacific region have played an active role in the preparation of these monographs. My colleagues from Queen’s University, who directed this project, along with their colleagues from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, have shown how a carefully planned and implemented project on a crucial area of concern both in the region and globally, can contribute to the shared objectives of Canada and the Asia-Pacific region, in ensuring a better, self-directed future for the young people of the world. This monograph is, therefore, a prime example of successful and effective cooperation between a Canadian university committed to the goal of preparing leaders and citizens for a global society, a team of dedicated specialists from the United Nations responsible for promoting human resources development in the region, and host country institutions responsible for ensuring the active participation of youth in national development. I congratulate the Human Resources Development Section of ESCAP; my colleagues from Queen’s University, Professor Jayant Lele, Professor Lorna Wright, and Professor Audrey Kobayashi; the young Canadian interns associated with the project; and the National Youth Bureau of Thailand for this excellent accomplishment.

WILLIAM C. LEGGETT Principal and Vice-Chancellor Queen’s University, Canada

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Abbreviations
AIDS B BMA CPR DNFE Eighth Plan ESCAP Fifth Plan GDP GNP GO HIV IQ MOE MOI MOLSW MOPH MOUA NAT NGO NSO NYB NYC PHC centres PMO ROTC Sixth Plan UNCTAD UNDP UNESCO Acquired immune deficiency syndrome Thai baht (monetary unit used in Thailand) Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Contraceptive Prevalence Rate Department of Non-formal Education, Ministry of Education Eighth National Economic and Social Development Plan Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Fifth National Economic and Social Development Plan Gross Domestic Product Gross National Product Government Organization Human immunodeficiency virus Intelligence Quotient Ministry of Education Ministry of Interior Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Ministry of Public Health Ministry of University Affairs National Assessment Tests Non-governmental organization National Statistical Office National Youth Bureau National Youth Commission Primary Health Care centres Office of the Prime Minister Reserve Officer Training Corps Sixth National Economic and Social Development Plan United Nations Conference on Trade and Development United Nations Development Programme United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
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Contents
PAGE Foreword ..................................................................................................................... Message from the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University, Canada ......................................................................... Abbreviations ............................................................................................................ I. Youth Development .................................................................................... A . INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................ 1. Background ........................................................................................ 2. Human resources development achievements ........................ 3. Disparities in equity and access .................................................. B. YOUTH DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK .......................................... 1. Definition of youth ........................................................................ 2. Background ........................................................................................ 3. Structure and mandate ................................................................... 4. Youth development policies and plans ..................................... 5. Programmes for youth................................................................... C . CHALLENGES FOR YOUTH POLICY ................................................ Youth Education ........................................................................................... A . NATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY ...................................................... 1. Background ........................................................................................ 2. Education reform ............................................................................. B. THE EDUCATION SYSTEM ...................................................................... 1. Formal education ............................................................................. 2. Non-formal education .................................................................... C . QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS ..................................................................... 1. Primary education ........................................................................... 2. Secondary education ....................................................................... 3. Higher education ............................................................................. 4. Non-formal education .................................................................... 5. Military service ................................................................................. 6. Literacy ............................................................................................... iii vii ix 1 1 1 2 3 5 5 5 6 8 11 25 27 27 28 29 33 33 35 36 36 38 46 48 49 50
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Contents
P AGE D. QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS ......................................................................... 52 1. Student achievements ..................................................................... 52 2. Education personnel ....................................................................... 54 E. CHALLENGES FOR EDUCATIONAL POLICY .............................. 54 III. Youth Health ................................................................................................. A . YOUTH HEALTH POLICY ........................................................................ 1. Background ........................................................................................ 2. The Eighth Five-year National Health Development Plan (1997-2001) .................................................... B. NATIONAL HEALTH CARE SYSTEM................................................. 1. Structure ............................................................................................. 2. Health care agencies ....................................................................... 3. Government expenditure .............................................................. C . QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS ..................................................................... 1. Overview of youth health status and health related behaviour ................................................................ 2. Mortality ............................................................................................ 3. Morbidity ........................................................................................... 4. Sexual and reproductive health ................................................... 5. Hereditary illness ............................................................................. 6. Sexually transmitted diseases ........................................................ 7. Substance abuse ................................................................................ D. QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS ......................................................................... 1. Health personnel.............................................................................. 2. Drug treatment centres .................................................................. E. CHALLENGES FOR YOUTH HEALTH POLICY .......................... IV. Youth Employment ..................................................................................... A . YOUTH EMPLOYMENT POLICY .......................................................... 1. Background ........................................................................................ 2. Legislation relevant to youth employment ............................. 3. Government initiatives on youth employment promotion .....
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57 57 57 58 60 60 61 63 64 64 66 67 68 71 71 74 77 77 79 79 83 83 83 84 86

Contents
PAGE B.
QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS .....................................................................

1. Labour force ...................................................................................... 2. Employed youth labour force ..................................................... 3. Unemployed youth ......................................................................... C . CHALLENGES FOR EMPLOYMENT POLICY ................................ V. Youth Participation ..................................................................................... A . OVERVIEW ......................................................................................................... B.
YOUTH

88 88 92 95 96 99 99

ORGANIZATIONS ...................................................................... 100

C . VOICE OF YOUTH ........................................................................................ 102 1. First National Youth Platform ................................................... 102 2. Second National Youth Platform ............................................... 104 D. POLITICAL PARTICIPATION .................................................................. 1. Voting ................................................................................................. 2. Political representation .................................................................. 3. Political parties ................................................................................. 4. Government programmes aimed at increasing political awareness ........................................................................... E. F. 106 106 107 107 107

THE MEDIA........................................................................................................ 108 CHALLENGES FOR YOUTH PARTICIPATION ............................ 109

VI. Future Directions for Youth Development ......................................

115

A . CONCLUSION .................................................................................................. 115 B. POLICY GUIDELINES: A SUMMARY ................................................. 117 C . RECOMMENDATIONS ................................................................................. 120 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. National Youth Policy .................................................................. Education ........................................................................................... Health ................................................................................................. Employment ...................................................................................... Participation ...................................................................................... 120 122 124 127 128 131
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References ...................................................................................................................

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YOUTH IN THAILAND: A REVIEW OF THE YOUTH SITUATION NATIONAL POLICIES AND PROGRAMMES

ESSENTIAL DATA OF THAILAND

Location

South-East Asia, sharing borders with Myanmar (west), Lao People’s Democratic Republic (north-east), Cambodia (east), Malaysia (south) 15 00 N, 100 00 E Total 514,000 sq km; land 511,770 sq km; water 2,230 sq km 3,219 km Plains (centre); plateau (north-east); mountains (north, west and south) Arable land: 34%; permanent crops: 6%; permanent pastures: 2%; forests and woodland: 26%; other: 32% (1993 est.) 44,000 sq km (1993 est.) 62,320,000 (2000 est.) 0-14 years 24%; 15-24 years 19%; 60 years and over 6% Buddhist 95%; Muslim 3.8%; Christian 0.5%; Hindu 0.1%; Other 0.6% Thai, English, ethnic and regional dialects Constitutional Bangkok 76 provinces; 794 districts; 7,145 sub-districts; 61,564 villages monarchy

Coordinates Area Coastline Terrain Land Use Irrigated Land Population Age Structure Religions Languages Government Capital Administration Bangkok and vicinity Northern Region

Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Kamphaengphet, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nakhon Sawan, Nan, Phetchabun, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phrae, Phayao, Sukhothai, Tak, Uthai Thani, Uttaradit Amnat Charoen, Buri Ram, Chaiyaphum, Kalasin, Khon Kaen, Loei, Mahasarakham, Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nongbua Lamphu, Nongkhai, Roi Et, Sa Kaeo, Sakon Nakhon, Srisaket, Surin, Ubonratchathani, Udon Thani, Yasothon

North-eastern Region

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Central Region

Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Chachoengsao, Chai Nat, Chanthaburi, Chonburi, Kanchanaburi, Lop Buri, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Phetchaburi, Prachinburi, Prachuap Kiri Khan, Ratchaburi, Rayong, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Saraburi, Sing Buri, Suphan Buri, Trat Chumphon, Krabi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Pattani, Phangnga, Phatthalung, Phuket, Ranong, Satun, Songkhla, Surat Thani, Trang, Yala Chief of state: King Bhumiphol Adulyadej (since 9 June 1946) Head of government: Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai (since 15 November 1997) Cabinet: Council of Ministers Note: there is also a Privy Council Bicameral National Assembly consists of a 200-member elected Senate and the House of Representatives (which currently has 391 members, but will become a 500-member body after the general elections scheduled for 2000) Supreme Court, judges appointed by the Monarch Thai Baht (B), 1 US$ = 39.065 B (United Nations official conversion rate as at July 2000)

Southern Region Executive Branch

Legislative Branch

Judicial Branch Monetary Unit and Conversion Rate

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Youth Development

I

A. 1.

INTRODUCTION Background

Thai youth have made lasting contributions to Thailand’s political and economic development. Following the transition from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy in 1932, civilian rule was short-lived as a result of successive military coups. In 1973, Thai students, seeking political and social reforms, overthrew the military dictatorship, beginning the longest period of civilian rule in Thai history. Although the period ended with the military coup of October 1976, the foundations of a functional democracy had been laid down, with critical legal reforms adopted and a strengthened civil society. Again in May 1991, students and young people were important players in the movement to end the military’s involvement in politics, and to institute constitutional changes to secure political and social reforms. Young workers have also been critical to Thailand’s economic success over the past three decades. The Thai economy grew at an average rate of 7.6 per cent between 1977 and 1996. By 1997, the agricultural sector’s share of the GDP had shrunk to 11.0 per cent, while the manufacturing and service sectors’ shares of the GDP had expanded to 40.0 per cent and 49.0 per cent respectively. In July 1997 Thailand experienced a financial and economic crisis, which stemmed in part from Thailand’s weak human resources base. The crisis resulted in a major contraction of GDP by 7.8 per cent in 1998 (UNDP 1999a).
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By 2000, signs of recovery had begun to appear, yet the crisis has had a devastating effect on the Thai people, particularly its young population, whose access to employment and educational opportunities have been crippled. Youth workers were the worst affected by the economic crisis with regard to income reductions, and school drop-out rates increased drastically. Youth also continue to experience some of the most pressing social problems of the country, such as substance abuse and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In recognition of the need to invest in young people to sustain the country’s development in the long-term, the Thai government has stepped up its investment in children and youth development by allocating 19.6 per cent of the total national budget in 1999 to this area (Bureau of the Budget 1999). The government is also in the process of formulating a new national youth policy and 10-year action plan to be issued in late 2000. The quality of life of young people has improved substantially in Thailand as a result of economic growth and political stability, yet the financial crisis has served as a reminder that youth remain one of the most vulnerable groups in Thai society. 2. Human resources development achievements For the past 30 years, Thailand has implemented policies for both economic and social development with an emphasis on economic growth and a free market. As a result of rapid economic growth, the GDP per capita has increased four-fold over three decades and poverty levels have been significantly reduced (UNDP 1999a). The government has expanded basic services, such as electricity, water, education, health and telecommunications to cover the whole country. Although faced with an economic crisis in 1997, the social security system, currently in its infancy stage, has helped to offset the effects of economic downturn. This year, Thailand ranked 76 among 174 countries worldwide in the Human Development Index (UNDP 2000). As a result of family planning programmes introduced in the 1970s, the population growth rate has decreased from 2.9 per cent in the 1970 to 1975 period to 1.1 per cent in the 1990 to 1995 period (UN 1999). Delayed marriages and smaller family sizes have enabled young women to take advantage of educational and employment opportunities (UN 1996). The labour force has also grown at a slower rate, keeping unemployment levels low, until the onset of the economic crisis.
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Educational infrastructure has expanded throughout the country and reform of the educational system is underway with the promulgation of the country’s first National Educational Act in 1999. Net primary education enrolment was 88.0 per cent, while net secondary enrolment was only 47.6 per cent in 1997 (UNDP 1999a). Less than one per cent of the population was enrolled in tertiary education. In health, significant achievements have been made. Mortality rates among infants and children under five years of age fell from 74 and 102 per 1,000 live births in 1970 to 31 and 38 per 1,000 live births in 1997 respectively. Life expectancy at birth increased from 58.3 to 68.8 years between 1970 and 1997, with females living an average of five years longer than males (UNDP 1999a). Health infrastructure has improved, with the extension of health centres to the majority of the country’s villages in rural areas. Health insurance schemes are also available for the poor. In the area of participation and governance, great accomplishments have also been made in recent years. The Sub-district Council and Sub-district Administrative Organization Act were promulgated in 1995, paving the way for elections at the local level and the devolution of political power. In 1997, the Eighth National Economic and Social Development Plan was instituted. The plan stipulates human resources development as the goal for national development. Economic development is seen as a tool for achieving that target. The Plan focuses on more equitable sharing of resources through regionalization, decentralization and participation. It is peoplecentred both in content and in its formulation process, since for the first time civil society groups were actively involved in the development of the Plan (ONESDB 1997). Also in the same year, the Constitution of 1997 was promulgated, ushering in a new era of social and political reforms. The Constitution established the framework for greater government transparency and accountability, gender equality, community empowerment and rights to education and health care for all (OCS 1997). Again, as in the Eighth Plan, civil society organizations were actively involved in the drafting of the 1997 Constitution. 3. Disparities in equity and access Despite the overall improvements in human resources development in Thailand, disparities in income and wealth have remained. In the past three decades the gaps between the richest and the poorest sections of the
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population have measurably widened. Industrial and administrative development has been concentrated in Bangkok and its surrounding provinces, with the result that average annual per capita incomes in Bangkok exceeded those of the south, the north and the north-east by approximately 5, 6 and 10 times respectively in both 1988 and 1996 (UNDP 1999b). Income disparities are also seen between women and men in the private sector, with lower average wages for women than for men. This disparity arises from the greater concentration of women in low skilled and low paid jobs as compared to men. In 1993, the proportion of female employees in the private sector who earned less than B 3,000 per month was 66.3 per cent as compared to 49.0 per cent for males. In the public sector, however, male and female wage rates were almost equal at the lower level with 87.0 per cent of female employees earning more than B 3,000 per month as compared to 86.6 per cent of male employees (United Nations 1996). In education, poverty of parents and inaccessibility of educational services in some areas have impeded the full coverage of compulsory schooling. Access to education by young women and young men is equal in Thailand, with the exception of education in general academic Buddhist scripture, which is still restricted to males. The Department of Religious Affairs offers general education at all levels to Buddhist monks and novices, who are by definition male. This has been an important source of schooling for boys and young men from poor families. Rapid economic growth has led to high rural to urban migration rates, particularly of young women and men from the resource poor north-east region to the industrial central region. In 1997, of the 2.7 million migrants aged 13 years and above, 79.8 per cent were economically active, including those who were employed, looking for work, and waiting for the agricultural season. Migrant workers were severely affected by the economic crisis as unemployment rates among them were 20.1 per cent higher than among non-migrants in the first quarter of 1998 (ONESDB 1998a). The uneven economic development of the country has led to a disparity in access to social services, with the best educational and health institutions and resources concentrated in Bangkok. Although this pattern is changing, greater efforts are needed to ensure that future economic growth leads to a more equitable society. These are some of the challenges that organizations working for youth development must confront.
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B. 1.

YOUTH DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK Definition of youth

Youth in Thailand refers to those aged below twenty-five years, according to the National Youth Policy. In this monograph, however, youth will be confined to young persons in the 15 to 24 year age group, in order to conform to the United Nations definition of youth. In 1996, this age group comprised 11.5 million people in Thailand, including 5.8 million males and 5.6 million females. Thai youth constituted approximately 19.0 per cent of the total population (NSO 1997). 2. Background The Thai government’s work in the area of youth development has evolved into a more participatory process since its inception in 1963. Four national youth policies have been issued since then. The National Youth Bureau (NYB) is currently in the process of drafting its fifth national youth policy in line with the Constitution of 1997, as well as the new long-term children and youth 10-year plan. In a break with the past, concerted efforts have been made to draw out and incorporate the ideas and opinions of all concerned parties, including youth, in the formulation processes of this policy and plan. The National Youth Office, under the National Research Council, Office of the Prime Minister was established in 1963. The Office was mandated to serve as the focal point for the compilation of all research and studies conducted on youth issues. It also screened all proposals on youth prior to Cabinet consideration. From 1963 to 1978, the National Youth Office was relocated and renamed numerous times, as a result of successive military coups and changes of government, as well as the subsequent promulgation of new constitutions. The National Youth Office was moved to the Office of Youth Promotion, Office of the Prime Minister in 1969. It was then upgraded to departmental status in 1973 and renamed the National Youth Bureau under the Office of the Prime Minister. One year later, the National Youth Bureau became the Office of Youth Promotion under the Ministry of Education, and in 1976, it was renamed the Commission of the Promotion and Development of Youth, Ministry of Education.
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In 1978, the National Youth Commission and the National Youth Bureau, as they are known today, were established by Article 12 of the Act of National Youth Promotion and Coordination B.E. 2521 (1978). The National Youth Commission acts as a policy coordination body at the national level, while the National Youth Bureau serves as the Commission’s Secretariat. 3. Structure and mandate

(a) National Youth Commission
The National Youth Commission is chaired by the Prime Minister with a Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) as the vice-chairperson. The Commission’s members consist of the representatives of 10 government agencies, as well as 8 prominent persons from the public and private sectors. The government representatives include the Permanent Secretary of each of the following ministries: Defense; Agriculture and Cooperatives; Interior; Education; Public Health; Industry; and University Affairs. Other government representatives include the Chief Justice of the Central Juvenile and Family Court, Ministry of Justice; the Secretary General of the Secretariat of the National Security Council, PMO; and the Director of the Sports Authority of Thailand, PMO. The National Youth Commission has the following mandate: • • • To propose policies and recommendations on youth issues to the Cabinet; To consider youth promotion and development plans, both governmental and non-governmental, in line with the national youth policy; To consider implementation measures including the coordination, follow-up and evaluation of programmes, projects and activities in line with the national youth policy; To provide suggestions to the Cabinet on methods to improve the national coordination mechanism on youth, as well as youth programmes implemented by governmental and non-governmental agencies; To report the situation of youth to the Cabinet at least once a year; and To consider youth issues upon the request of the Cabinet.

• •
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(b) National Youth Bureau
The National Youth Bureau currently has departmental status under the Office of the Prime Minister. The organization is comprised of seven divisions including the Office of the Secretary; the Youth Policy and Planning Division; the Youth Promotion and Development Division; the Youth Coordination Division; the Public Relations Division; the Training Division; and the External Relations Division. The roles of the National Youth Bureau include the following: • • • • • • • • • To implement the measures of the National Youth Commission; To follow-up and evaluate the implementation of the national youth policy, plans and projects; To act as a central coordinating body for youth work and activities and to disseminate information about youth; To compile studies and research on youth; To develop plans and projects on youth development; To prevent and address youth problems; To initiate, support and promote beneficial youth activities; To train youth officers; and To support youth activities, both governmental and non-governmental.

(c) Subcommittees
Subcommittees are in place at the national, provincial and local levels. At the national level the subcommittees include policy and planning; research; monitoring and evaluation; information systems; youth promotion and development; public relations and mass media promotion; internal coordination; external coordination; and laws and regulations. The subcommittees are made up of representatives of relevant governmental agencies, NGOs, business groups, the mass media, educational institutions, youth organizations, and international organizations. The provincial level has a subcommittee headed by the Governor. Local subcommittees are led by the District Chiefs. In Bangkok, a subcommittee is chaired by the Governor of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration. Other subcommittees are headed by the Mayor of the particular municipality.
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YOUTH IN THAILAND: A REVIEW OF THE YOUTH SITUATION NATIONAL POLICIES AND PROGRAMMES

The various subcommittees play an advisory role on specific topics. They are expected to play an important role in the future in light of the decentralization process, which is currently underway in the country.

Figure 1-1:

Structure of the national youth policy framework in Thailand
Cabinet

National Youth Commission

National Subcommittees Provincial Subcommittees Local Subcommittees

National Youth Bureau
.......
.................................

4. Youth development policies and plans

(a) National youth policy
As a result of the promulgation of several constitutions, Thailand has had four national youth policies since 1973. The National Youth Bureau is currently in the process of drafting the fifth National Youth Policy of Thailand to be issued in 2000, in line with the latest Constitution, which was promulgated in 1997. The first national youth policy, issued in 1973, formally defined youth as individuals aged below 25 years of age. The policy centred on instilling youth with identified desirable characteristics and promoting activities that encouraged youth to work together, including training for out-of-school youth, predominantly in rural areas (NYB 1973).
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The second national youth policy was announced in 1977. The purpose of the policy was to encourage youth to focus on maintaining national security and to respect the values of the Thai culture and of democracy. Securing appropriate levels of education for all youth was also identified as an area of concern (NYB 1977). The third national youth policy, promulgated in 1979, focused on instilling self-discipline and concern for national security in youth, while emphasizing ideals of youth responsibility within a framework of social development. It corresponded to the constitution of 1978 (NYB 1979). In 1994, following the passing of the Constitution of 1991, the fourth national youth policy was adopted, which centred on expanding services for young people and meeting the basic needs of youth. It was Thailand’s first youth policy to identify youth as an important human resource in society, which required development so that they could contribute to national development (NYB 1994). The policy specified nine priority areas for youth development action as follows: • • • • • • • • • Instilling awareness of national security; Encouraging young people to realize their duties and to have the opportunity to express their ideas; Promoting health in order for youth to be able to contribute to national development; Instilling the beliefs of reason, discipline, constructive initiative and the capability to work with others; Promoting moral principles; Urging young people to continue to acquire further knowledge; Encouraging young people to protect themselves from vices; Giving aid, rehabilitation, development and protection to the rights of young people living under difficult circumstances; and Promoting friendship and understanding Thailand and in foreign countries. between young people in

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YOUTH IN THAILAND: A REVIEW OF THE YOUTH SITUATION NATIONAL POLICIES AND PROGRAMMES

(b) Prospective policies and planning for the development of youth (1982-2001)
The government issued the first long-term development plan for children and youth in 1982, ahead of the United Nations International Youth Year of 1985. The 20-year Plan referred to as the Prospective Policies and Planning for the Development of Youth (1982-2001) expanded on the youth development objectives and ideas specified in the 1979 National Youth Policy. It provided basic strategies and guidelines for activities, methods for evaluating programmes, and recommendations for the preparation of future national development plans (NYB 1982). The 20-year Plan provided recommendations for policies and basic strategies in the areas of health and hygiene, values and personality development, education, student activities, special problems, culturally different youth, NGOs, resources, administrative structures and indicators. Three target groups were identified in the Plan: mainstream youth, talented youth, and youth 18 years of age and younger in difficult circumstances.

(c) National children and youth development plans
The National Children and Youth Development Plans emerged out of the National Economic and Social Development Plans. It was not until the Fifth National Economic and Social Development Plan issued in 1982, that youth issues were mentioned, as the first four plans focussed primarily on stimulating economic growth through industrial development. The Fifth Plan focussed on four areas of youth development, namely health, intellect, employment and the development of social, cultural, ethical and political values. The Fifth Plan also provided specific targets to be accomplished within each category and prospective strategies to achieve each target. In 1987, a separate plan was developed for child and youth development, alongside the Sixth National Economic and Social Development Plan. The independent plan highlighted institutional problems as well as youth issues in five areas: physical and mental health, nutrition problems, intellectual capability and basic abilities, and vocational and occupational readiness. The plan also recognized children in especially difficult situations as a focus group for social assistance. Objectives, targets and policy guidelines for child and youth development were also provided.
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The Child and Youth Development Plan and the Eighth National Economic and Social Development Plan (1997-2001) represented a departure from all previous plans in both approach and content. For the first time, NGOs participated in the drafting process, together with concerned government agencies. Ten workshops were organized among government officials, NGO representatives, academics, media personnel, youth leaders, and community leaders, to identify strategies to promote youth development. A review process involving similar representatives was also held before the draft youth development plan was submitted to Cabinet. NGOs and experts also conducted surveys of the youth situation on a province-by-province basis, in 18 provinces. The design and implementation of the surveys was a capacity-building activity for local NGOs, involving training, survey framework design, and interviews with 200 youth leaders in each province. During the interviews the youth leaders were asked to provide their assessment of the youth environment and possible strategies for improving the youth situation. An important outcome of this process was the heightened awareness of the importance of developing youth policy based on a clear understanding of the local situation. 5. Programmes for youth

(a) Government youth development initiatives
(i) Organizations concerned with youth development

Numerous government organizations (GOs) implement programmes for child and youth development in Thailand. By sector, some 14 agencies are involved in youth education; 7 in youth health; 7 in youth employment; 3 in youth participation; and 7 in cross-cutting areas (see Table 1). The primary GOs with programmes in youth education include the Ministry of Education; the Office of the National Education Commission, Office of the Prime Minister; the Ministry of University Affairs; the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment; and the Ministry of Defense. In the area of youth health, the GOs include the Ministry of Public Health; the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, Office of the Prime Minister; the Sports Authority of Thailand, Office of the Prime Minister; and the National Housing Authority, Ministry of Interior.
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Table 1:

Government organizations concerned with child and youth development by sector, 1998-1999 Table 1-1: GOs in education

Name
1. Office of the National Education Commission, Office of the Prime Minister 2. Supreme Command Headquarters, Ministry of Defense

Types of services/activities
• Policy-making, planning, monitoring and evaluation of education at all levels • Standardization of education at all levels • To provide basic or general education to people, especially children, in remote or rural areas, including job training and career opportunity • To support research for science development and technology

3. National Science and Technology Development Agency, Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment 4. Ministry of University Affairs

• To formulate the framework of the national education development plan • Standardization of curriculum, including supervising and coordinating public and private higher education institutions

5. Department of General Education, • To provide education at lower and Ministry of Education secondary levels, including expansion of education opportunities 6. The Religious Affairs Department, Ministry of Education • To promote good understanding of religious principles to create virtue and develop the quality of life of youth

7. Department of Physical Education, • To produce teachers and personal Ministry of Education physical education including health recreation at secondary and higher education levels 8. Department of Non-formal Education, Ministry of Education • To provide opportunities for education for people who have missed formal education, following the concept of life long learning • To supervise and coordinate educational administration of private schools • To provide primary education and to cooperate with other organizations involved in primary education administration

9. Office of the Private Education, Ministry of Education 10. Office of the National Primary Education Commission, Ministry of Education

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Name

Types of services/activities

11. Department Vocational Education, • To provide vocational education at upper Ministry of Education secondary level 12. Office of The Rajabhat Institutes Council, Ministry of Education 13. The Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology, Ministry of Education 14. Office of the National Culture Commission, Ministry of Education • To provide technical courses at undergraduate level to match the local and national needs • To enhance opportunities for talented students in the fields of science and mathematics in order to develop their own potential for national development • Policy-making and planning in promoting and disseminating Thai cultural information both locally and globally • To encourage understanding throughout the nation through diffusion of culture

Table 1-2: GOs in health
Name
1. Office of the Narcotics Control Board, Office of the Prime Minister

Types of services/activities
• To plan and take measures to prevent and combat illegal drug abuse and submit those plans to the cabinet • Drug prevention in schools • Narcotics control in the community • Promotion and Coordination for anti-drugs campaign • To support research relating to health development, sport activities and to assist talented groups to develop their own potential • Sport for health programme • Drug prevention for youth programme • Sport activities • To promote people’s good health by giving education on health care, particularly focusing on improving the health of mothers and children in urban and rural areas

2. Sport Authority of Thailand, Office of the Prime Minister

3. National Housing Authority, Ministry of Interior 4. Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health

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Name

Types of services/activities

5. The Food and Drug • Taking measures to control and Administration, Ministry of Public provide education on using food and Health drugs to the public for consumer protection 6. Department of Communicable Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health • To promote and give education on infectious diseases to the public so that they know how to protect themselves from infection and will be able to take care of their health • Immunization service through vaccination, especially for new born children • To encourage the mental health conditions for better quality of people’s life in society • To provide mental rehabilitation and treatment, including family counseling

7.

Department of Mental Health, Ministry of Public Health

Table 1-3:
Name
1. The Tourism Authority of Thailand, Office of the Prime Minister

GOs in employment
Types of services/activities
• To promote tourism and the tourism industry, including developing the professions of people in this industry • To promote understanding and friendships among people and nations though tourism activities • To support research on the topic of youth employment in the tourism sector

2. Department of Agriculture • To enhance and promote the activities Extension, Ministry of Agriculture for youth agriculture groups by giving and Cooperative advice or information for the development of their full working potential • Skill training course for youth 3. The Cooperative Promotion Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives • To promote cooperatives on agriculture production • Run the young cooperative camps

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Name
4. The Office of Accelerate Rural Development, Ministry of Interior

Types of services/activities
• To provide infrastructure for standardization of and increase in the quality of life in rural area • To promote public health care services and employment opportunities • Skill training, job training course programme • To enhance the efficiency of treatment and rehabilitation measures • To promote opportunities for employment training courses

5. Department of Corrections, Ministry of Interior

6. Department of Skill Development, • To develop the capability of workers by Ministry of Labour And Social providing knowledge and skill training Welfare courses • To promote professional local and international skill development • Skill training course programme 7. Department of Labour Protection and Welfare, Ministry of Labour And Social Welfare • To provide measures in order to prevent and control the social security for a workers especially child and woman labour • To establish the child labour inspector to prevent abuse of child labour • Child labour prevention and training programme

Table 1-4:
Name
1. The Public Relation Department, Office of the Prime Minister 2. National Youth Bureau, Office of the Prime Minister 3. The Community Development Department, Ministry of Interior

GOs in participation
Types of services/activities
• To disseminate and coordinate the activities and campaigns relating to youth development • To supervise and coordinate the support and development of youth policies at the national level • To promote and encourage public participation and self-determination in local affairs • To develop local economics, public utilities and facilities systems • School lunch programme • Sport Activity • Skill training course

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Table 1-5: GOs in all areas
Name
1. Office of the National Commission on Women’s Affairs (ONCWA), Office of the Prime Minister

Types of services/activities
• To encourage the status of women in ways which assist them in physical, psychological development and social participation • Disseminating knowledge and information on proper health care, family planning services, employment and career opportunities • To protect the rights and liberty of the people, including counseling and public awareness • To protect state security relating to criminals, investigation cases and to safeguard people’s rights in line with the Thai Constitution of 1997 • Policy-making and planning for the administration to maintain and protect the public environment, as well as to control and eliminate pollution affecting the public welfare • To enhance the expansion of education opportunities, sport activities and employment • Prevention programme and education services, job market campaign, drug prevention programme • The consumer information project • To take measures to provide a wide range of services aimed at people who have problems • To provide basic minimum needs programme for new born children and adolescents, including job training • Adjudicating cases of juvenile delinquency • To provide and expedite the process of treatment and rehabilitation of law offenders and juvenile delinquents

2. Office of The Attorney General, Office of the Prime Minister 3. Royal Thai Police, Office of the Prime Minister

4. Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, Ministry of Interior

5. Department of Public Welfare, Ministry of Labour And Social Welfare

6. The Central Juvenile and Family Court, Ministry of Justice 7. Department of Probation, Ministry of Justice

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The GOs which offer programmes in youth employment include the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare; the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives; the Ministry of Interior; and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Office of the Prime Minister. In the area of youth participation, the concerned GOs are the National Youth Bureau, Office of the Prime Minister; the Community Development Department, Ministry of Interior; and the Public Relations Department, Office of the Prime Minister. Finally, the GOs with general involvement in youth development include the Ministry of Justice; the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, Ministry of Interior; the Office of the National Commission on Women’s Affairs, Office of the Prime Minister; the Royal Thai Police, Office of the Prime Minister; and the Department of Public Welfare, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. (ii) GO programmes

The numerous services and activities for youth provided by GOs in the areas of education, health, employment and participation are listed in Table 1. Some public agencies are involved with policy formulation, while others focus primarily on service provision. In the area of education, for example, the Office of the National Education Commission, Office of the Prime Minister is the primary agency responsible for policy-making, planning, and monitoring and evaluation. Educational activities, however, are carried out by numerous organizations. Thus, coordination among GOs within sectors is critical to ensure the implementation of effective strategies. Furthermore, due to the inter-relatedness of youth issues, coordination between the 48 GOs with youth programmes is crucial.

(b) Non-governmental youth development initiatives
(i) Organizations concerned with youth development

Several NGOs were established following the Second World War to complement the government’s efforts to provide welfare services to poor people, including children and youth living in difficult circumstances. Students and intellectuals who emerged from the democratic period between 1973 and 1976 have also played an important role in the establishment of non-governmental development organizations in Thailand.
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Some 50 NGOs concerned with child and youth development are currently active in providing social services for youth. These include 9 organizations in the area of education, 7 in health, 4 in employment, 14 in participation, and another 16 in cross-cutting sectors (see Table 2). The planning process of the Eighth National Economic and Social Development Plan (1997-2001) was significantly different from previous plans in that for the first time it involved two parallel processes: government review and people’s participation through NGOs. The most recent youth development plan was created utilizing a similar process of coordination between the government and NGOs. This process involved two procedures: that of the government, coordinated by the National Youth Bureau, and that of NGOs, aimed at coming up with an action plan at the grassroots level. The results of a survey conducted as part of the NGO procedure for the youth development plan identified the need for the demarcation of roles, as well as collaboration between central and local-level government and NGOs in tackling different issues. (ii) NGO programmes

The NGOs involved in child and youth development outlined in Table 2 can be categorized in several ways. These include target areas, legal status, and whether they have Thai or non-Thai registration. Such factors affect issues such as funding, administration and coordination within Thailand and between bilateral, multi-lateral and international agencies. Some NGOs provide services in specific geographic areas. For example, the Samila Youth Development Centre provides a youth library, citizenship development camps and non-formal education and training to youth in Songkhla province, southern Thailand. The Foundation for Rural Youth, on the other hand, offers programmes such as career development advice, environmental campaigns and study tours, on a nation-wide basis. Similarly, the Youth Project for Homeland Love promotes career development for youth in Buriram province, north-east Thailand, while the Youth Training Programme for Social Development conducts leadership training throughout the country. International organizations, such as Terre des Hommes and the Pearl S. Buck Foundation implement projects throughout Thailand utilizing agreements or letters of understanding with related government agencies, such as the Ministry of Interior for the former and the Public Welfare Department for the latter.
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Table 2: Non-governmental agencies concerned with youth development by sector Table 2.1: NGOs in education
Name
Foundation for Life and Social Education

Types of services/activities
• Education • Hilltribe community development • Career development • Non-formal education • Environmental protection and development • Advocacy/networking • Career development • Environmental campaign/ activities • Education/training/study tour on occupation and environment • • • • Orphanage Day care for slum children Education Lunch programme

Target areas
• North (Lampang, Phayao) • North-east (Surin, Amnat Charoen) • South (Surat Thani) All over the country

Foundation for Life Long Education

Foundation for Rural Youth

All over the country

Friends for All Children Foundation

All over the country

Groups for Development and Education for Children Saeng Tien Group Foundation Save the Children (USA) Chiang Mai Buddhakasetra Foundation

• Development of children in Thai Cambodian border area by providing mobile library and school lunch programme • Education • Ethical, moral training

• North-east (Sa Kaeo)

• Bangkok

• Children and youth develop- • North-east (Nakhon ment activities, e.g. education, Ratchasima) welfare • Central (Nakhon Sawan) • Education • Ethical, moral, religious training • Public services • Welfare, shelter, occupational training for hilltribe girls • Youth library • Young citizenship development camps • Non-formal education training • North (Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son) • North-east (Nakhon Ratchasima) • South (Songkhla)

Samila Youth Development Centre

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Table 2-2: NGOs in health
Name
Foundation for Agricultural and Rural Management

Types of services/activities
• Community leadership training • AIDS prevention through awareness raising • Network of HIV/AIDS patients • Environmental Campaign

Target areas
• Bangkok, north, northeast

Centre for the Protection of Child Rights Foundation

• Child rights advocacy • Bangkok • Protection/assistance/reha• all over the country bilitation of abused children • neighbouring countries • Legal services and information dissemination • Research and development in child rights protection • • • • Family strengthening Welfare services Adoption service Child care research and training • Bangkok and vicinity

Suhathai Foundation

Development and • Education Education Programme • Career development for Daughters and • Prevention of trafficking of Communities Centre children into sex trade • Leadership training • Child rights advocacy Save the Children Fund (UK) • Grant making for services for disadvantaged children, HIV/AIDS prevention/care • Research/development • Welfare and education for orphans of AIDS parents • Health and environmental information dissemination • Welfare for street children • Child rights campaign

• North (Chiang Rai)

• Bangkok (on regional basis for South-East Asia) • Upper north

Dr. Sem Foundation

Child Watch Phuket

• South (Phuket)

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Table 2-3: NGOs in employment
Name
Foundation for Children Development

Types of services/activities
• Recreation • Information dissemination and advocacy • Career development • Nutrition/health • Child Labour protection/ development • Agricultural career development • Leadership training • Assistance to children and youth in crisis • Alternative career development • Child labour network • Community market • Plants/herbs cultivation • Career development

Target areas
• Bangkok • North-east (Srisaket, Surin, Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen)

Thai Yuwakasetkhon Promotion Foundation Friends for Children Project

All over the country

• North-east (Khon Kaen, Mahasarakham)

Youth Project for Homeland Love

• North-east (Buri Ram)

Table 2-4: NGOs in participation
Name
Youth Training Programme for Social Development • • • •

Types of services/activities
Leadership training Social awareness building Public Services Capacity building of university student leaders in social development process Welfare services Rehabilitation programme Research/development Recreation Child rights

Target areas
• Bangkok, with clients all over the country

Foundation for Disabled Children

• • • • •

• Bangkok • North (Lamphun) • North-east (Surin, Nongkhai, Nakhon Ratchasima) • South (Nakhon Si Thammarat)

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Name
Green World Foundation

Types of services/activities
• Environmental and ecological training • Environmental information centre • Environmental networking • Leadership training • Recreational/environmental/ cultural/arts camps • Information dissemination/ campaign on youth issues • Promotion of arts, cultural and environmental training • Youth camps • Information dissemination/ campaign • Leadership and self-esteem development training • Information dissemination on youth development work • Leadership training • Seminars/forums on capacity building of young workers • Young workers networking • Grant making for child and youth development work • Human resources development • Information collection/ dissemination • Environmental school • Forest preservation camps • Environmental campaign • Summer camps • Self-learning facilities • Career development • Child rights campaign/ advocacy

Target areas
All over the country

Young People Development Centres

• Bangkok and all over the country

Sarnsaeng Arun Foundation

All over the country

Catholic Youth Council of Thailand

All over the country

Young Christian Workers

• Bangkok • Central (Samut Prakan, Saraburi) • North-east (Amnat Charoen, Yasothorn, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima) • North-east (Surin)

Save the Children Japan-Thailand

Forest – Loving Youth Group of Esan Under Tree Schooling Project Working Group for Children Development

• South (Songkhla, Phatthalung) Bangkok, with clients from all over the country

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Name
Child Welfare Association in Thailand Child Rights Asia Net

Types of services/activities
• Research/development • Child rights campaign • Training • Research/development • Information dissemination and campaign • Training and capacity building • Coordination/networking • Capacity building of NGOs/ POs • Youth leadership enhancement • Child rights advocacy and mechanism development • Promotion/support for youth participation • Grant making for selected

Target areas
Bangkok, with clients all over the country Bangkok, with clients all over the country and Asian region

National Council for Child and Youth Development

• • • •

Bangkok all over the country Asian region International level

Table 2-5: NGOs in all areas
Name
The Girl Guide Association of Thailand • • • • • • • • •

Types of services/activities
Leadership training Career development Public services Health Leadership training Career development Public services Recreation Health • • • • •

Target areas
Bangkok North (Chiang Mai) North-east (Surin) East (Prachinburi) South (Pattani)

YMCA

• Bangkok • North (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai)

Population and Community Development Association

• Leadership training • Career development • Health and reproduction health • Education

• Bangkok • North (Chiang Rai, Pitsanulok) north-east (Nakhon Ratchasima, Mahasarakham) • South (Songkhla)

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Name
Pearl S Buck Foundation • • • • •

Types of services/activities
Education Career development Health/nutrition Legal service Leadership training (Major target group Amerisian children and youth) Leadership training Career development Health/nutrition Public services Recreation Education Education Career development Health/nutrition Recreation Research/development

Target areas
• Bangkok • North-east (Udon Thani, Nakhon Ratchasima, Ubonratchathani) (4 major bases with clients all over the country) • Bangkok • North (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai) • North-east (Khon Kaen)

World Vision Foundation of Thailand

• • • • • • • • • • •

Children

Foundation

• Bangkok • West (Kanchanaburi) with clients all over the country • Bangkok

Foundation for Slum Child Care

• Development of quality of life of slum families • Health/nutrition • Child rights advocacy • • • • • • • • • • • • • Leadership training Career development Health/nutrition Public services Recreation Career development Leadership training Nutrition Public services Career development Leadership training Health/nutrition Recreation

New Life Foundation

• North (Chiang Mai, Lamphun)

Nongkhayang Foundation for Rural Development Education and Rural Development Foundation Soon Klang Thewa Association

• North-east (Uthai Thani)

• North (Chiang Mai)

• Street children welfare and educational assistance • Health service

• Bangkok slum areas

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Name
SOS Foundation of Thailand Project for Street Children Terres des Hommes

Types of services/activities
• Orphanage • Research and training • Campaign on street children issue • Protection/welfare • Grant making for children development work • Research/development • Career development • Awareness raising on prevention and elimination of sexual abuse • Community development training for religious institutes

Target areas
• Central (Samut Prakan) • North-east (Nongkhai) • South (Songkhla) • Bangkok

All over the country

Project for Women and Youth in Chiang Mai

• North (Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son)

Thai Coordinating Committee on Migrant Children

• Research/campaign on • Bangkok, all over the country and neighbourmigrant, trafficked, displaced and stateless children and ing countries youth • Seminars/training on the issue • Casework • Coordination/networking

C.

CHALLENGES FOR YOUTH POLICY

Youth have made significant contributions to the economic and political development of Thailand over the past three decades. Although their standard of living has improved tremendously, they continue to form one of the most vulnerable groups in Thai society. Disparities in equity and access to social services among youth exist between rural and urban areas, as well as among different geographic regions as a result of highly centralized development, which has been concentrated in Bangkok and its surrounding provinces. Inequalities between women and men still exist in Thailand, yet these are less pronounced among female and male youth, who have equal access to opportunities and services.
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The National Youth Commission and the National Youth Bureau play key roles in the formulation of youth policy. The recent efforts of the National Youth Bureau to involve all concerned sectors, particularly youth, in the formulation of the new national youth policy and plans are commendable and these efforts should be enhanced in the future. Participation of the Subcommittees at the local level within the National Youth Commission should also be promoted to ensure that local level issues are taken up at the national level. The evaluation of youth policy, plans and programmes requires strengthening, as does the coordination within and among various public and private sector agencies working on youth development to ensure the successful achievement of policy goals. This may require capacity building on the part of the staff of the coordination body in the areas of monitoring and evaluation. NGOs also face a range of challenges, which affect ability to assist children and youth. The establishment and development of networks at the target group, regional and national levels are needed to facilitate coordination between NGOs. This coordination would prevent the duplication of efforts so that scarce resources are well utilized. Several NGOs do not have legal status in Thailand. This represents a major challenge with regard to securing funding. Enhanced coordination in the development of funding mechanisms would assist NGOs to focus efforts more on the provision of services, rather than on competing for funds. Another challenge faced by NGOs is the lack of formal recognition by the government of the role and contribution of NGOs in the area of child and youth development. Government funding for NGO activities and coordination is still limited. Furthermore, as some NGOs have no legal status, improved linkages with governmental agencies are required, particularly in the effort to protect and assist children and youth whose rights have been violated. In the past, organizations have tended to address youth as a homogenous group. This was largely done through the school system, which contributed to existing problems of access and equity. More recently, both GOs and NGOs have recognized the need to target particular groups of youth, such as young women, rural youth and young offenders. These efforts to target disadvantaged youth require coordination as well as access to accurate statistics and information.
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Youth Education

II

The Thai education system provides academic training but it does not develop students’ capacity to think and to learn from real life experiences. Educational reform is urgently needed. Education should emphasize experimentation and it should relate to everyday life so that students are able to retain what they learn. Academic and practical skills in problem-solving should be taught hand-in-hand. (16-year-old Thailand) A. Grade 11 male student, private school, Bangkok,

NATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY

Thailand’s education policy is currently undergoing a major transformation, due to the growing demand for educational reform in the country, coupled with the recognition that Thailand’s relatively weak human resources base was a major contributing factor to the economic crisis which began in 1997. This weak base can be largely attributed to poor educational attainment at the secondary and tertiary levels, caused by inaccessibility to educational opportunities, particularly among poor people. This is further compounded by the tendency of youth at the tertiary level to prefer the humanities and social sciences to the hard sciences and management studies which is needed by the economy. The quality of educational services and facilities has been far from uniform in Thailand, with severe shortages experienced in rural areas at the secondary and tertiary levels. Educational curricula also require strengthening to ensure their relevance in relation to the rapidly changing needs of the
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economy and communities. Old learning methods based on rote learning and memorization need to be upgraded, with greater emphasis placed on analytical skills and problem-solving abilities. The government has demonstrated its commitment to strengthening the education sector in Thailand through increased budget allocations. The proportion of the national budget allocated to the education sector rose from 17.9 per cent in 1990 to 25.5 per cent in 1999 (BOB 1999). Relative to other sectors, education commanded the largest share of the national budget in 1999. Health and social services were allocated 18.9 per cent of the national budget; economic development 18.3 per cent; national security 16.0 per cent; general administration 12.2 per cent; and debt servicing 9.2 per cent (NYB 1999). In 1998, 25.6 per cent of the education budget was allocated to secondary education and 18.1 per cent allocated to higher education. Children’s education comprising pre-elementary and elementary education received 42.5 per cent of the education budget. Non-formal education, which has youth as a main target group, only received 1.6 per cent of the total education budget (NYB 1999). 1. Background

Thailand’s long-term education policy framework is contained in the National Scheme for Education, which is issued every 15 years by the Office of the National Education Commission, Office of the Prime Minister, the primary government agency responsible for policy-making, planning, monitoring and evaluation of education at all levels. Each scheme contains three five-year National Education Development Plans. The focus of education policy has always paralleled the National Economic and Social Development Plan. During the period of the first such plan from 1961 to 1976, Thailand was establishing its industrial base. Thus, the First National Scheme for Education centred on developing human resources to fuel the country’s expanding economy. The Second National Scheme for Education, which emerged from a period of social reform during the period of civilian rule from 1973 to 1976, placed greater emphasis on issues of equity. The policy agenda broadened to include improved access to educational facilities for people living in rural areas; as well as enhanced quality of education. Non-formal education and science and technology were also promoted.
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The present National Scheme of Education of 1992 has maintenance of equilibrium between economic, social and ment through the education system, as well as between areas. Under the present Scheme, a shift in policy has reforming the education system (ONEC 1998b). 2. Educational reform

emphasized the cultural developrural and urban occurred toward

Educational reforms which are currently underway in Thailand have been strongly influenced by three events: the promulgation of the Eighth National Education Development Plan (1997-2001); the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2540 (1997); and the National Education Act of B.E. 2542 (1999). These will each be discussed in turn.

(a) The Eighth National Education Development Plan (1997-2001)
In line with the Eighth National Economic and Social Development Plan (1997-2001), the Eighth National Education Development Plan has shifted the focus in education from a top-down, teacher-centred approach to a participatory, learner-centred method of instruction. Issues of universal access to educational opportunities and equity of educational services appear as central themes. The Plan has three major goals. It sets out to expand an extensive and equal provision of basic education for all people and to extend basic education to the secondary educational level. It also aims to improve the equality of education and its relevance to the needs of individuals, communities and the nation, and to enable learners to achieve their full potential for selfdevelopment. Finally, the Plan seeks to enhance Thai education in strengthening the national potential for self-reliance and to contribute to national economic stabilization and the role of Thailand in the global economy (ONEC 1998b).

(b) The Constitution of 1997
The shift in education policy in Thailand has further been influenced by the promulgation of the Constitution of 1997, which provided the first blueprint for educational reform in Thailand. The new Constitution, under Chapter V, Section 81, established the legal framework for the promulgation of a national education law that would aim to improve education in line with economic and social changes (OSC 1997).
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Some of the reforms provided for in the Constitution Section 43, included the provision of 12 years of education by the State, as well as the participation of organizations and the private sector in the provision of (OSC 1997).

under Chapter III, compulsory quality local administrative educational services

(c) The National Education Act
In line with the Constitution of 1997, the National Education Act of B.E. 2542 (1999) was promulgated in August 1999. As the first comprehensive educational law in Thailand, the National Education Act promotes education that aims to develop the full potential of the Thai people through imparting awareness and knowledge in areas such as politics, democratic governance, human rights, local wisdom, environmental preservation, self-reliance, creativity; and self-learning on a continual basis (ONEC 1999b). The Act is guided by the principles of lifelong education for all; the participation of all segments of society in the provision of education; and the continuous development of the bodies of knowledge and learning processes. Other principles outlined by the Act in order to direct reform of the educational system, structure and process, include the following: • • • • • • Unity in policy and diversity in implementation; Decentralization of authority to educational service areas, educational institutions and local administration organizations; Setting of educational standards and implementing a system of quality assurance for all levels and all types of education; Raising the professional standards of teachers, faculty staff and educational personnel, who shall be developed on a continuous basis; Mobilization of education; and resources from different sources for provision of

Creation of partnerships with individuals, families, communities, community organizations, local administration organizations, private persons, private organizations, professional bodies, religious institutions, enterprises, and other social institutions.

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These principles reflect the primary issues in education for youth in Thailand. They include the need to improve access to educational opportunities among poor youth at the secondary level, particularly in rural areas; the need to involve parents and communities in the educational process to ensure their support; and the need to improve the quality of education at all levels. (i) Access to education Section 10 of the National Education Act provides for free, quality education for all at least for 12 years, including additional support, free of charge, for persons with disabilities. Section 17 requires all children aged seven years to enrol in school, and has made education compulsory until the age of 16 years or Grade 9, with the exception of those people who have already completed Grade 9. (ONEC 1999b). The National Education Act of 1999 thus sets the framework for higher youth participation rates in education by extending compulsory free education to 12 years by 2002. The implementation of the Act is being carried out gradually so as not to place families under a further economic burden that would be caused by the necessary cost of school uniforms, transportation and food. The government has launched various schemes to encourage families and communities to support youth education, such as establishing family counselling centres; providing education loan funds; subsidizing poor families financially; promoting occupational training programmes for housewife groups; establishing a family day; and promoting information on child exploitation as a preventive measure. (ii) Parental and community support

Under the National Education Act, parents and community members are provided with incentives to encourage and support their children’s education. Parents or guardians shall be entitled to state support and state grants for the provision of basic education for children or those under their care, according to Section 13. Furthermore, tax rebates or exemptions shall be provided for educational expenditures (ONEC 1999b). Similar state support and tax incentives for individuals and groups, such as families, communities, organizations, enterprises and other social institutions which support or provide basic education is provided for under Section 14 (ONEC 1999b). These provisions for parental and community support for education must be put in place by 2004 according to Section 70 (ONEC 1999b).
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(iii)

Quality of education

The National Education Act aims to improve the quality of education at several levels. With regard to teaching, the Act, under Section 24, emphasizes a reorganization in the learning process to incorporate such aspects as learners’ interests and aptitudes; critical thinking and problem solving; experiential learning; a balanced integration of subject matter and values; a well-rounded learning environment; and cooperation with parents and the community (ONEC 1999b). At the institutional level, an Educational Reform Office will be established as stipulated by Section 75 (ONEC 1999b). The Office will propose the structures for the establishment of the Ministry of Education, Religion and Culture, an integration of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of University Affairs and the Office of the National Education Commission. This new ministry will oversee the development of education policies, plans and standards for all levels of education. Educational administration and management power will be decentralized to Committees for Education, Religion and Culture in educational service areas and to educational institutions. The Office will also propose management systems for teachers, faculty staff and educational personnel. One aspect will be the establishment of an Organization for Teachers, Educational Institution Administrators and Educational Administrators, under Section 53 of the Act (ONEC 1999b). This independent body will be responsible for such activities as setting professional standards; issuing and withdrawing teaching licenses; and overseeing the maintenance of professional standards and ethics. All educational personnel in both the public and private sectors will be required to have professional licenses, with the exception of the higher education level. The Educational Reform Office will also be responsible for proposing the mobilization of educational resources and investment. Under Section 58 of the Act, the state and local administration organizations are authorized to levy an educational tax (ONEC 1999b). Financial contributors to educational institutions at the individual and organizational levels can apply for tax exemptions or rebates. An Office for National Educational Standards and Quality Assessment will be established under Section 49 of the Act (ONEC 1999b). The public office will be responsible for developing criteria for external evaluation
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and conducting evaluations of educational achievements in order to assess the quality of education provided by institutions. External evaluations will take place in all educational institutions at least once every five years. Despite the challenging scope for education outlined by the National Education Act, its successful implementation is essential to increase the quality of human resources of Thai youth and to improve equity between the areas and regions within the country. B. THE EDUCATION SYSTEM 1. Formal education

(a) Structure
The formal educational system in Thailand is made up of basic education and higher education (see Figure 2-1). Basic education comprises the first 12 years of education. Its three levels include elementary, Grades 1 to 6; lower secondary, Grades 7 to 9; and upper secondary, Grades 9 to 12. Specialization commences in upper secondary school when students choose to study in the academic stream or the vocational stream. The former prepares students for further studies at academic institutions, while the latter provides training for the labour market, or for continued education in vocational and technical colleges. Higher education comprises two levels: the diploma level and the degree level. Studies at the diploma level are undertaken from one to four years and certificates or diplomas are awarded to successful graduates. The degree level comprises undergraduate and graduate degrees. Undergraduate programmes are four years in length,1 with the exception of subjects such as architecture and medicine, which require five to six years of study. Graduate programmes include a one-year Graduate Diploma, a two-year Masters Degree and a three-year Doctoral Degree.

1 Diploma holders can complete their undergraduate degrees in two years, as credits are

transferable. 33

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Figure 2-1: Educational system according to the 1992 National Scheme of Education
Level of education

Preelementary education

Elementary education

LowerUppersecondary secondary education education

Higher education

Diploma level and bachelor’s Degree level

Graduate level

Vocational Special vocational education Vocational education for specific groups Short-course training Special vocational education Vocational education for specific groups Short-course training

Special education

Approximate grade Approximate age 3 4 5 6 34

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9 10 11 12 Y r Y r Y r Y r Y r Y r 1 2 3 4 5 6

7

8

9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

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(b) Responsible government agencies
The provision of educational services in Thailand falls predominantly under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Ministry of University Affairs. Under the Ministry of Education, the departments concerned with regard to secondary education include the Department of General Education; the Office of the Private Education Commission; and the Department of Religious Affairs. The agencies offering higher education under the MOE include the Fine Arts Department; the Physical Education Department; the Department of Vocational Education; the Department of Religious Affairs; the Rajabhat Institute; and the Rajamangala Institute of Technology. Other ministries that oversee formal educational institutions for youth include the Ministry of Interior; the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives; the Ministry of Defense; the Ministry of Public Health; and the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The educational institutions under these ministries are specialized and graduates are required to work for these Ministries for a specified duration following the completion of their studies. 2. Non-formal education

Non-formal education has provided an important source of educational and training opportunities for out-of-school youth throughout the country. This type of education has no age restrictions, thus providing people who have had little or no schooling the opportunity to further their educational and skills training. Three major departments in the Ministry of Education oversee non-formal education for youth in Thailand, including the Department of Non-Formal Education, the Department of Vocational Education, and the Office of the Private Education Commission. Other non-formal education services are offered by the Office of Rajabhat Institute’s Council; the Department of Religious Affairs; the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration; and the Rajamangala Institute of Technology. The Department of Non-Formal Education (DNFE) offers a wide range of educational services for out-of-school people, including youth. Functional literacy courses have been particularly targeted at poor and marginalized groups. Skills training courses are provided for persons with disabilities and prisoners.
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The DNFE offers continuing education through equivalency programmes using three main approaches: classroom teaching, distance education and independent study. The classroom teaching programmes involve four hours of classes each weekday, as well as participation in-group activities aimed at improving students’ quality of life. The distance learning method requires students to meet with a study group for at least three hours a week. It also involves listening to specific instructional radio and television programmes and reading. Independent study requires students to seek out information from the media and texts, as well as to attend group activities on a regular basis with the goal of enhancing their quality of life. The DNFE also offers a vocational certificate programme to provide people with primary school education the chance to upgrade their educational and occupational skills. Interest group and short-term vocational courses are also held by the DNFE. Out-of-school youth have benefited from village reading centres established by the DNFE in more than 35,541 villages as well as the 1,002 community learning centres which offer services, including facilities for satellite education and electronic libraries (ESCAP 2000). Another agency offering non-formal education programmes is the Department of Vocational Education, which runs special and short training courses. They are held in schools and conducted by teachers from the formal system. Most of the schools are located in provinces outside of Bangkok. The Private Education Commission offers programmes such as adult education, seasonal international education, religious education in nonBuddhist faiths, correspondence, tutorial education, arts, vocational education and special education for disabled people. The majority of these courses are held in Bangkok. C. QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS

1 . Primary education2 Compulsory education was raised from Grade 4 to Grade 6 with the passing of the Primary Education Act in 1980, and then increased again to Grade 9 with the promulgation of the National Education Act in 1999. The
2 Although youth are generally not enrolled in primary school, information on primary

school enrolment rates and attainment rates provides a background for discussions on secondary school enrolment. 36

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government’s education policy has clearly outlined the goal of providing every child with at least primary education with the Sixth National Education Development Plan (1987-2001). The majority of primary school children in the country were enrolled in public schools in 1998. The public to private school ratio for that year was 87:13 (MOE 1999). Significant achievements have been made with regard to primary school enrolment in Thailand. In 1990, gross primary enrolment rates3 were 101 per cent for females and 101 per cent for males, indicating that some children who were enrolled in primary education were aged outside the age group for primary education of 6 to 11 years (United Nations 1996). Net primary enrolment rates4 were lower than gross enrolment rates. They increased between 1980 and 1990 from 77.2 per cent to 80.8 per cent among males and from 74.6 per cent to 81.0 per cent for females (United Nations 1996). Drop-out rates were relatively low at the primary school level. Figures for 1992-1993 and 1996-1997 show that the enrolled students who completed Grade 6 in those years were 89.2 per cent and 95.5 per cent respectively. Although sex disaggregated data for drop-outs were unavailable, equal sex ratios in secondary school enrolment between boys and girls provides some indication that the sex ratio in drop-outs at the primary level has been fairly equal (MOE 1999). Despite Thailand’s achievements at the primary education level, considerable efforts are still required in order for the country to meet its goal of attaining universal basic education. Children living in difficult circumstances, such as those with disabilities, children living in remote areas, victims of urban poverty and children without a nationality, have still been unable to access primary education. Although the number of disadvantaged children who have received support from government agencies and NGOs for primary education increased from 38,539 students in 1992 to 40,348 students in 1996, many more still require assistance (MOE 1999).

3 Gross primary enrolment rate refers to the percentage of students enrolled in Grade 1 to

Grade 6 as a percentage of the population aged 6 to 11 years.
4 The net primary enrolment rate is defined as the percentage of students aged 6 to 11 years

enrolled in Grade 1 to Grade 6 as a percentage of the population aged 6 to 11 years. 37

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2. Secondary education

(a) Secondary enrolment rates
Gross secondary enrolment rates increased substantially between 1992 and 1997, from 59.3 per cent to 91.7 per cent at the lower secondary level and from 20.1 per cent to 36.2 per cent at the upper secondary level. The net secondary enrolment rates were much lower for the same period, however, at 36.5 per cent and 55.1 per cent at the lower secondary level and 13.8 per cent and 24.0 per cent at the upper secondary level (see Table 2-1).
Table 2-1: Gross and net secondary enrolment rates by sex for 1992 and 1997
Year
1992 1997 1992 1997

Level
Lower Lower Upper Upper secondary secondary secondary secondary

Gross enrolment Male
61.5 91.7 18.2 33.4

Net enrolment Male
35.7 54.3 12.4 21.0

Female
57.0 91.7 22.2 39.0

Total
59.3 91.7 20.1 36.2

Female
37.3 56.0 15.3 27.2

Total
36.5 55.1 13.8 24.0

Source: ONESDB 1998a.

(i)

Secondary enrolment rates by sex

In 1997, the male and female gross enrolment rates were equal at 91.7 per cent at the lower secondary level. At the upper secondary level, the female rate was higher than the male rate at 39.0 per cent as compared to 33.4 per cent. The 1997 net enrolment rate for females was slightly higher than the male rate at both the lower and the upper secondary levels, at 56.0 per cent as compared to 54.3 per cent for the former and 27.2 per cent as compared to 21.0 per cent for the latter (see Table 2-1). (ii) Secondary enrolment rates by area

Secondary enrolment rates have varied considerably between rural and urban areas. At the lower secondary level, gross enrolment rates were higher in the rural areas than the urban areas, at 93.7 per cent and 86.8 per cent respectively in 1997. Net enrolment rates, however, were lower in the rural
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areas than the urban areas, at 53.5 per cent and 59.2 per cent respectively in 1997, indicating that a higher percentage of students in the appropriate age group are enrolled in secondary education in urban areas compared to rural areas (see Table 2-2).
Table 2-2: Gross and net secondary enrolment rates by area for 1992 and 1997
Year
1992 1997 1992 1997

Level
Lower Lower Upper Upper secondary secondary secondary secondary

Gross enrolment Rural
53.2 93.7 16.5 34.2

Net enrolment Rural
33.1 53.5 11.7 22.0

Urban
76.8 86.8 31.1 41.0

Total
59.3 91.7 20.1 36.2

Urban
46.4 59.2 20.0 29.0

Total
36.5 55.1 13.8 24.0

Source: ONESDB 1998a.

Remarkable gains were made with regard to secondary enrolment in rural areas from 1992 to 1997, with gross enrolment rates at the lower secondary level increasing from 53.2 per cent to 93.7 per cent and net enrolment rates rising from 33.1 per cent to 53.5 per cent. At the upper secondary level, gross enrolment rates increased from 16.5 per cent to 34.2 per cent while net enrolment rates rose from 11.7 per cent to 22 per cent in that same period. Improvements were also seen in urban areas with regard to secondary enrolment, although at lower rates. Gross enrolment rates at the lower secondary level increased from 76.8 per cent to 86.8 per cent from 1992 to 1997. Net enrolment rates rose from 46.4 per cent to 59.2 per cent in the same period. At the upper secondary level, gross enrolment rates grew from 31.1 per cent to 41 per cent while net enrolment rates increased from 20 per cent to 29 per cent. The significant gains made with regard to enrolment rates at the secondary level, particularly in the rural areas, can be attributed largely to the government’s efforts to expand educational infrastructure, particularly in rural areas at the secondary level from 1992 to 1997. This expansion in government schools has resulted in a decrease in the percentage of students attending private schools, from 11 per cent in 1990 to 6 per cent in 1998 at
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the lower secondary level. At the upper secondary level, the public to private school ratio increased from 73:27 in 1990 to 83:17 in 1998 (MOE 1999). The economic crisis also had an effect on this trend toward public sector education, as students withdrew from more expensive private schools due to financial constraints faced by their parents. Net enrolment rates between regions differed; with Bangkok and its neighbouring provinces having the highest rates at all educational levels. The north-eastern region, the poorest region, has historically reported the lowest net enrolment rates at all educational levels. However, in 1997 the southern region reported even lower levels. Secondary enrolment ratios, although are still low with male rates slightly cant improvements have been made areas, yet they still lag behind urban exist. considerably improved since 1992, lower than female rates. Signifiwith regard to enrolment in rural areas. Regional disparities also still

The government must continue its efforts to address inequalities in the education system between rural and urban areas as well as between regions, if it is to meet the secondary enrolment targets laid out in the Eighth National Education Plan. These include an enrolment ratio of no less than 95 per cent for the 12 to 14 year age group, and no less than 70 per cent for the 15 to 17 year age group respectively by the year 2001. (iii) Secondary enrolment by stream

The majority of secondary school students (61.7 per cent) were enrolled in the general stream of education in 1997, while 38.3 per cent were enrolled in the vocational stream. Schools in the general stream were predominantly public, while vocational stream schools were spread equally between the public and private sectors. Slightly more females than males attended public schools in all areas. In private general schools, males outnumbered females in rural areas while more females were enrolled than males in urban areas. Men outnumbered women in all types of vocational schools in all areas, with the exception of private vocational schools in rural areas, where the sex distribution was equal (see Table 2-3).
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Table 2-3: Percentage of youth attending upper secondary school by type of school, 1997
Whole kingdom (per cent)
Men Women Total
Public Public Public Private Private Private general vocational total general vocational total 27.8 13.5 41.2 1.2 8.9 10.1 31.8 7.1 38.9 0.9 8.8 9.8 59.6 20.6 80.1 2.1 17.7 19.9

Type

Rural (per cent)
Men Women Total
22.3 10.9 33.2 0.5 5.3 5.7 25.3 4.9 30.2 0.4 5.3 5.7 47.6 15.8 63.4 0.9 10.6 11.5

Urban (per cent)
Men Women Total
5.5 2.6 8.1 0.5 3.6 4.3 6.5 2.2 8.7 1.2 3.5 4.0 12.0 4.8 16.8 1.2 7.1 8.3

Source: NSO 1997a.

Business and Commercial Technology and Industrial Technology programmes attracted the highest proportion of students in the vocational stream at 50 per cent and 41 per cent respectively. Other programmes, such as Agricultural Trades, Arts and Crafts Technology, Home Economics, Dramatic Arts and Fine Arts made up the remaining nine per cent (NSO 1997a). With the current shortage of skilled workers in the labour market, the government may need to invest more resources in technical education in the future. In 1998, vocational education was allocated 29 per cent of the secondary education budget, as compared to 68 per cent for the general stream (ONESDB 1998a). A special emphasis is needed to encourage females to enroll in vocational education, given that they currently make up almost half of the labour force in Thailand, yet are underrepresented in vocational education.

(b) Drop-out rates
The drop-out rate can be defined as the number of youth who leave school as a percentage of the number of enrolled youth for a given year. This calculation can be highly unreliable, however, due to both conceptual and measurement problems. Students who do not inform their school that they have dropped out, for example, continue to be counted in school enrolment figures. In addition, some students leave school and then return again several times, making their status difficult to record. People who never enrolled in school for a given year are also left out of the drop-out rate statistics.
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The National Statistical Office defines the dropout rate as the percentage of youth that do not attend school in a specific school age group. The dropout rate for the 15 to 17 year age group declined from 58.2 per cent in 1992 to 29.6 per cent in 1997, corresponding to 1.13 million more youth attending school in 1997 than in 1992 (NSO 1992 and NSO 1997a). There is evidence of a number of students dropping out of school since the onset of the crisis. Due to loss of family income, poor parents can no longer afford to send their children to higher education. The school dropouts in 1998 were estimated at about 100,000 from primary schools and 90,000 from junior secondary schools (TDRIF 1999). For youth in the 18 to 24 year age group, the drop-out rate decreased from 88.4 per cent in 1992 to 79.1 per cent in 1997, corresponding to 1.26 million more youth aged 18 to 24 years attending school in 1997 than in 1992 (NSO 1992 and NSO 1997a). The dropout rate was much higher in youth aged 18 to 24 years than among those in the 15 to 17 age group. (i) Drop-out rates by sex

Females had a slightly higher drop-out rate than males in all age groups in 1992, but males dropped out more than females in the 15 to 17 age group in 1997 (see Table 2-4).
Table 2-4: Drop-out rates for youth by age group and by sex, 1992 and 1997
Year
1992 1997

15 to 17 years Male
56.9 32.5

18 to 24 years Total
58.2 29.3

Female
59.5 26.5

Male
88.0 76.7

Female
88.9 81.6

Total
88.4 79.1

Sources: NSO 1992 and NSO 1997a.

(ii)

Drop-out rates by area

Drop-out rates between urban and rural areas differed substantially with rural areas having higher dropout rates than urban areas in both 1992 and 1997 (see Table 2-5). In the rural areas, the drop-out rate decreased significantly in that period from 65 per cent to 31.3 per cent for the 15 to
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Table 2-5:
Year
1992 1997

Drop-out rates for youth by area in 1992 and 1997
15 to 17 years 18 to 24 years Total
58.2 29.3

Rural
65.0 31.3

Urban
37.2 25.4

Rural
93.1 83.2

Urban
75.3 70.7

Total
88.4 79.1

Source: NSO 1997a.

17 year age group, and from 93.1 per cent to 83.2 per cent for the 18 to 24 year age group. Drop-out rates also fell in urban areas from 37.2 per cent in 1992 to 25.4 per cent in 1997 among 15 to 17 year olds and from 75.3 per cent to 70.7 per cent in the same period among 18 to 24 year olds. Regionally, the north-eastern region had the highest drop-out rates for all age groups, while Bangkok and its vicinity had the lowest rates for all age groups in both 1992 and 1997 (NSO 1992 and NSO 1997a). Although drop-out rates decreased from 1992 to 1997, some 7.3 million youth, including 2.3 million 15 to 19 year olds and 5.0 million 20-24 year olds, did not attend school in 1997. Of the total, 57.5 per cent had completed Grade 6, while 19.2 per cent had finished Grade 9. (iii) Causes of drop-outs

The two primary reasons for school drop-out by both male and female youth, as cited in the National Statistical Office’s Children and Youth Survey in 1997 were the need to earn a livelihood (40.0 per cent) and the lack of funds required to study (33.7 per cent). Other factors contributing to youth school drop-out include no interest in studying (11.3 per cent); no admittance (4.1 per cent); misconduct (1.4 per cent); sickness and physical or mental disability (0.9 per cent); distance to school and transportation problems (0.5 per cent); and other problems (8.1 per cent) (NSO 1997a). Despite the significant decrease in drop-out rates between 1992 and 1997, the number of youth who did not attend school in 1997 was still high at 7.33 million. As students depend largely on the support of their families, the financial circumstances of families play a crucial role in determining youth’s access to education. Tremendous efforts are still needed on the part of the government to improve the educational attainment of out-of-school youth.
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(c) Transition rates
The transition rate can be defined as the number of students in a given school year divided by the number of students in the previous school year. Estimates of transition rates are derived by a compilation of the number of youth enrolled in successive school years. The transition rate from the primary level to the lower secondary level in Thailand increased by 25.7 per cent from 1992 to 1997 (ONESDB 1998a). From the lower secondary level to the upper secondary level, however, the transition rate declined in that same period from 90.3 per cent to 86.9 per cent. The north-eastern region had the lowest transition rate, while Bangkok and its vicinity had the highest, exceeding 100 per cent. Surveying children at the end of the Grade 9 or Grade 12 school year to see whether or not they planned to return to school the next year can obtain another estimate of the transition rate. In 1997, it was found that among youth studying in Grade 9, 9.2 per cent responded that they would not continue with their studies. This figure differed markedly between rural and urban areas. In the rural areas, 10.7 per cent of youth stated that they would not return to school, as compared to 1.9 per cent of youth in the urban areas. Among youth studying in Grade 12, 7.4 per cent responded that they would not seek further education. Again, a rural-urban split can be seen. Some 9.2 per cent of youth in rural areas, compared to 0.9 per cent of youth in urban areas, would not continue their studies (see Table 2-6). In the vocational stream, the trend was reversed, with twice as many youth in urban areas who would not seek further education, as compared to rural areas at 16.7 per cent and 7.9 per cent respectively (see Table 2-6).
Table 2-6: Percentage of youth not seeking further education in 1997
Level
Lower secondary to upper secondary Upper secondary to higher education Upper secondary to higher education

Stream
General Vocational

Urban
1.9 0.9 16.7

Rural
10.7 9.2 7.9

Total
9.2 7.4 10.6

Source: MOE 1999.
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The rural-urban differences in transition rates in general education may be attributed to youth in urban areas discontinuing their studies in order to seek out employment. In the vocational stream, fewer youth in the rural areas continue their studies due to the higher costs involved in vocational education. The number of females not seeking further education was higher than that of males in the transition from lower secondary to upper secondary school at 69,800 and 41,500 respectively. The difference was largest in the northern region where 38.3 per cent of females did not plan to continue their studies, as compared to 6.2 per cent of males. In the transition from upper secondary to higher education, more men would not continue their studies than women, both in the general and the vocational streams. (i) Causes of discontinuing studies

Youth cited lack of financial support as the primary reason for not proceeding from lower to upper secondary school, and from upper secondary school to higher education at rates of 88.2 per cent and 46.6 per cent respectively. The need to earn a livelihood was also an important factor leading to the discontinuing of studies in higher education at 33.8 per cent. This was particularly the case for upper secondary students in the vocational stream, where costs were 80 per cent higher than for the general stream in 1997 (NSO 1997a). Private schools were also twice as expensive as public schools. In rural areas, lack of financial support accounted for 90.0 per cent of cases in which youth did not go on to study in upper secondary school and 41.5 per cent of cases where they did not continue their studies in higher education. The requirement to earn a livelihood was the cause of the discontinuation of studies among 39.8 per cent of youth. In urban areas, 68.5 per cent of youth who did not proceed to upper secondary school and 61.8 per cent who did not advance to higher education cited no financial support as their main barrier. Some 25.5 per cent of youth who did not continue from lower to upper secondary school stated that they had no interest in furthering their studies. The lack of financial support was a greater problem for females than males. Some 75.3 per cent of female youth stated that this problem was the main
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reason for discontinuing their studies, whereas 43.5 per cent of males cited this problem. Necessity to earn a livelihood was the main reason for males not to further their education at 42.1 per cent. Regionally, lacking financial support was given as the predominant cause of discontinuing studies in the north, north-east, south and central regions at 83.4 per cent, 73.2 per cent, 70.1 per cent and 66.9 per cent respectively. In Bangkok and its vicinity, the need to earn a livelihood was the most important reason for youth not to further studies at 59.1 per cent. Real costs for education, including: school fees, uniforms, transport and food, increased substantially from 1992 to 1997. Total expenditures increased by 42 per cent at the lower secondary school level and by 20 per cent at the upper secondary school level in that period. Food, taken outside the home, accounted for 49 to 55 per cent of expenditures while transport made up 16 to 18 per cent of expenditures in 1997. School fees were not a significant expenditure at the secondary level. The real monthly household expenditures on lower secondary, upper secondary and higher education per person in public schools totalled B 930, B 1,164 and B 2,070 respectively in 1997 (NSO 1997a). As the per capita official poverty line income for Thailand in that year was close to B 930, education beyond primary school was still out of reach for the children of many poor families (ONESDB 1998a). Government subsidies are necessary to ensure that all youth can access education, particularly in the vocational streams. As food eaten outside of the home accounted for the highest proportion of students’ daily costs, more school lunch programmes targeted at poor children could help to reduce the financial burden on families who want to educate their children. Nutritious food is a critical component for youth health, and thus, measures need to be taken to ensure that food vendors in schools provide quality food at low prices. 3. Higher education

(a) Enrolment rates
In 1997, approximately 1.5 million persons were enrolled in higher education in Thailand. The majority studied at the bachelor degree level, followed by the diploma level and the graduate level (see Table 2-7).
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Table 2-7: Number of bachelor’s and graduate students in Thailand in 1997
Diploma students Diploma
Public Private Sub-total Total
Source: NYB 1999.

Institution

Bachelor’s students Bachelor’s degree

Graduate students Graduate diploma
1,384 – 1,384

Master’s degree
52,118 7,759 59,877 62,653

Doctoral degree
1,336 56 1,392

394,878

1,061,247

Regional inequalities in education were the highest at the level of higher education where the net enrolment rate for Bangkok and its vicinity was 27.4 per cent, compared to 7.8 per cent in the north-eastern region in 1997. Higher education was also affected adversely by the crisis. For example, the budget of the Department of Vocational Education was cut by 21 per cent in 1998, and the budget for research in higher education was cut by 18 per cent (TDRIF 1999).

(b) Barriers to entry into higher education
Financial constraints were the major barrier to entry into higher education in Thailand, with real costs of education, including fees, uniform, transport and food, increasing by 17 per cent between 1992 and 1997. Tuition fees formed a significant proportion of total expenditures at 17 per cent in 1997 (NSO 1997a). Entrance examinations were another hurdle for students aspiring to enroll in higher education. Due to limited capacity, admission to all public universities and some private institutions require students to write a highly competitive nation-wide entrance examination. Poor students are at a disadvantage with regard to the entrance exams, as the quality of secondary school education influences students’ score results. Also preparation for the examination often involves private tutoring. Alternatives for those who are unsuccessful in the entrance exam are private universities and colleges, which are more costly than public institutions.
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Various measures have been adopted by the government to increase access to higher education by poor students, especially those who live in rural areas. A special quota system has been introduced at universities at the regional level and in Bangkok. Also, special scholarships and low interest loans are available. Public universities in Bangkok have planned to extend their campuses to other provinces and private institutions have been encouraged to open branches in provincial cities. Thailand’s two open admission universities have also provided educational opportunities to many students each year. Open universities should be expanded as they provide equitable access to education. More government investment is needed at the diploma level, which was allocated a mere 1 per cent of the higher education budget in 1998 as compared to 99 per cent allocated to the degree level (NYB 1999). 4. Non-formal education

The number of students enrolled in general education under the Department of Non-formal Education, Ministry of Education increased from 440,429 persons in 1990 to 2.4 million in 1996, with significant increases in learners by distance education and by self-study at all levels of education. The in-class method decreased in popularity over the same period, with the exception of the upper secondary level, which had a slight increase. Data on the proportion of students in the youth age group (15 to 24) were not available (see Table 2-8).
Table 2-8: Number of students enrolled in general education under the Department of Non-formal Education, by level of education, by learning methodology and by fiscal year
Financial year
1990 Total Primary Lower Secondary Upper Secondary 1996 Total Primary Lower Secondary Upper Secondary

Level

In-class
121,425 19,319 84,232 17,874 113,668 19,113 69,433 25,122

Distance
200,916 13,668 124,150 63,098 2,053,353 264,868 1,136,349 652,136

Self-study
118,088 2,417 18,171 97,500 276,983 5,579 69,230 202,174

Total
440,429 35,404 226,553 178,472 2,444,004 289,560 1,275,012 879,432

Source: MOE 1999.
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The Department of Vocational Education, which also offers non-formal education, recorded an enrolment of 204,065 persons in the 1998 academic year. The proportion of youth students was not recorded. Lastly, the Office of Private Education Commission offers adult education, seasonal education, religious education, correspondence, tutorial education, arts, vocational education and special education, with an approximate enrolment of 1.04 million students. Some 770,000 of these students studied in the vocational education area. The percentage of youth among the students is unknown. Non-formal education should be further promoted in Thailand, particularly in light of the economic downturn, as it allows youth the freedom to combine employment with education. Furthermore, the learning philosophy extended by organizations such as the DNFE promotes critical thinking and problemsolving, which are essential for the upgrading of Thailand’s labour force. 5. Military service

The Military Service Act B.E. 2497 (1954) stipulates that every Thai male is required to enlist in the military reserve force at the age of 18 years. At the age of 21 years, they are screened for physical disabilities and recruited on a demand basis5 for two years of military service as private soldiers. Participation of these males in the labour force is delayed. Military service can be postponed for males who are studying in higher education institutions, but for no longer than five years. Alternatively, young males can engage in an extracurricular course for students of upper secondary and higher education. The course is offered by the Territorial Defense Department, Ministry of Defense, requiring five years to complete. The minimum requirement for this course is the participation for three years as a reserve officer training corps (ROTC) student. Titles of provisional second sergeant, first sergeant and second lieutenant are granted to those who complete three, four and five years of ROTC respectively. ROTC graduates are exempted from military service as private soldiers. They form part of the reserve forces without having served in the army. Some are later called to join the army when needed, but only a few are recruited each year.

5 When the supply of 21-year-old males exceeds the demand for private soldiers, each

eligible male draws at random for a position. 49

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Males and females aged 15 to 22 years, with Grade 9 education are eligible to participate in the ROTC programme. Females were granted access to the ROTC programme in 1985, when the Ministry of Defense instituted a policy to provide equal opportunities in military training for both males and females. The Ministry of Defense began a campaign to encourage female participation in 1991 and many female students have voluntarily participated even though they are not required to serve in the military. In 1999, females made up 4.1 per cent of the 230,977 students participating in the programme (NDC 1999). 6. Literacy

(a) Literacy rate
The National Statistical Office defines the literacy rate as the percentage of persons within a given age group who can both read and write in one or more languages, as a percentage of the total number of people in that age group. The literacy rate was high among Thai youth at 98.12 per cent in 1990 and 98.57 per cent in 1994, as compared to 92.72 per cent and 91.50 per cent for the total population aged six years and above. Male youth were slightly more literate than female youth in both 1990 and 1994 (see Table 2-9).
Table 2-9: Literacy rate by age group in 1990 and 1994
Age range
6 years and up 15 to 24 years
Source: MOE 1999.

1990 Male
94.47 98.43

1994 Total
92.72 98.12

Female
91.02 97.81

Male
93.67 98.67

Female
89.38 98.47

Total
91.50 98.57

Literacy rates by region for youth are unavailable. Among the general population aged six years and older, literacy rates differ significantly by area. The age adjusted literacy rates6 for rural and urban areas in 1992 were 95.4 per cent and 88.7 per cent respectively.

6 The age adjusted literacy rate takes into consideration the average literacy rate for each

age group. 50

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Regionally, Bangkok had the highest age adjusted literacy rate, followed by the central and the north-east regions at 97.0 per cent, 93.1 per cent and 90.0 per cent respectively. The north and the south had the lowest rates each, with 86.7 per cent.

(b) Functional literacy rate
Functional literacy as defined by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) refers to a level of literacy or numeracy that enables people to apply such skills to solve problems that are new and unrelated to prior experience. Functional literacy is normally attained following the completion of six years of formal education or the equivalent of recognized non-formal schooling. The functional literacy rates among youth were significantly higher than those for the general population. Among the 15 to 17 year and the 18 to 24 year age groups, the functional literacy rates were 95.7 per cent and 92.0 per cent in 1992 and 1997 respectively, as compared to rates of 51.9 per cent and 57.3 per cent for the 12 to 59 year age group in the same years. The high rates of functional literacy among youth can be attributed to increased primary school completion rates (NSO 1992 and NSO 1997a). Males had a higher functional literacy rate than females among the general population at 62.9 per cent as compared to 51.7 per cent respectively in 1997. This disparity results from past gender inequalities in education, which have been largely overcome (NSO 1997a). The gap in the functional literacy rates between rural and urban areas was considerable at 69.0 per cent for the former and 51.8 per cent for the latter, for the total population in 1997 (NSO 1997a). Greater efforts are still needed to reduce gender imbalances in education among adults, for the benefit of both adults and youth. Households with illiterate household heads reported much higher rates of illiteracy than did those with literate household heads, at 38.2 per cent and 5.7 per cent respectively. These figures show that family circumstances have a strong impact on educational achievement. Thus, the provision of compulsory education should be coupled with government educational support to households with illiterate household heads, which are predominantly poor households, in order to ensure that all children receive equal access to education. Functional literacy is an essential ingredient for a competitive labour force in Thailand.
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D.

QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS

The National Education Act stipulates the need for the establishment of educational standards and systems to ensure high quality education at all levels and in all regions. The disparity in education services and resources, particularly between urban and rural areas has reinforced socio-economic inequalities in the country. Teaching styles also need to be revamped to meet the needs of the Thai economy, which is increasingly in need of a highly skilled labour force with increased analytical capabilities. 1 . Student achievements National Assessment Tests (NAT) are conducted every two years by the Ministry of Education at all basic education levels in order to assess the capabilities of students in each subject according to the curriculum. The results from the 1997 NAT provide an indication of the disparities which exist with regard to the quality of education by province in Thailand. The test scores are calculated out of 100 for each subject, classified by province. At the lower secondary level, test scores in various subjects did not vary considerably by region. In both social studies and Thai language, the southern region recorded the lowest scores of 42.1 and 57.2 respectively as compared to the highest scores of 45.1 and 62.6 respectively for Bangkok and its vicinity. The disparity index was 0.11 per cent for both subjects. Mathematics had a much higher disparity index at 0.74 per cent (see Table 2-10).
Table 2-10: Lower secondary student’s average test scores in 1997
Area
Central North North-east South Bangkok & vicinity Whole country Disparity Index
Source: ONESDB 1998a.
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Thai
60.3 60.6 59.3 57.2 62.6 60.0 0.11

English
47.5 47.9 46.7 43.4 51.3 47.4 0.38

Social studies
42.9 43.3 42.6 42.1 45.1 43.1 0.11

Mathematics
39.9 40.5 38.5 34.5 41.7 39.2 0.74

Science
45.7 46.3 44.9 40.5 44.9 44.7 0.22

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Thai language was the only subject in which the average test scores were above 50.0 per cent. Mathematics had the lowest average test scores at 39.2 per cent. The highest test scores were found in Bangkok and its vicinity in all subjects (see Table 2-10). The disparity in quality of education was much higher at the upper secondary level than at the lower secondary level, particularly in the subjects of English, mathematics and science. Social studies had the only test scores that averaged higher than 50 per cent. Again, Bangkok and its vicinity had the highest test scores, while the southern region had the lowest (Table 2-11).
Table 2-11: Upper secondary student’s average test scores in 1997
Area
Central North North-east South Bangkok & vicinity Whole country Disparity Index

Thai
45.6 45.5 41.6 43.6 50.7 45.0 0.38

English Social studies
31.8 32.1 28.6 29.8 40.7 32.3 1.34 51.6 52.7 50.4 51.6 56.8 52.4 0.19

Math
27.3 27.6 25.3 25.6 33.6 27.6 0.87

Che- Biology Physics Biomistry science
28.3 28.7 25.9 26.9 35.9 28.4 0.95 30.7 32.2 28.8 30.5 35.6 30.8 0.53 26.2 27.0 25.8 26.0 32.5 27.1 0.62 35.1 34.2 33.7 31.7 37.1 34.6 0.31

Source: ONESDB 1998a.

When test scores in the subjects of Thai, English, mathematics and science were averaged, the south ranked the lowest at the lower secondary level, while the north-east ranked the lowest at the upper secondary level. Bangkok and its vicinity consistently ranked highest in both lower and upper secondary levels (ONESDB 1998a). The quality of education as measured by the National Assessment Test varied significantly by province and by region. In order to provide equal educational opportunities and high quality of secondary education to all youth, it is essential that the educational resources be targeted to provinces and regions that currently have low quality education.
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2. Education personnel Government policy advocates the need to continuously raise the professional standards of educational personnel. Between 1990 and 1998 there was an increase in the number of teachers in the public sector who held bachelor’s degrees or higher from 62.3 per cent to 83.9 per cent. Although this signals an increase in the general level of education held by teachers, it reveals very little about the quality of their teaching. The government has given priority to issues of school enrolment and drop-outs, while improving education quality still only receives a small percentage of the total education budget at seven per cent. While shifting emphasis away from a top-down, teacher-centred method of instruction is one of the goals of the Eighth National Economic and Social Development Plan (1997-2001), traditional learning methods based on rote learning and memorization are still commonly practiced in the education system in Thailand. There is a need for greater emphasis to be placed on developing analytical skills and problem-solving abilities. This may require capacity building among teachers in participatory learning methodology. E. CHALLENGES FOR EDUCATIONAL POLICY

The promulgation of the National Education Act in 1999 was the first essential step in the educational reform process in Thailand. Even more challenging will be the implementation of the new education policy, which will require significant paradigm shifts among all concerned parties, and a commitment to critical analysis of the current system, as well as additional training of service providers. The eventual extension of compulsory education to Grade 12, as outlined in the Act, raises significant issues. Currently the majority of out-of-school youth are engaged in paid employment, which is used to supplement family incomes. When these youth enter the school system, that income will be foregone and further expenditures will arise. Meals eaten outside the home comprise the majority of the expenditures for school children. Further allocation of government resources to address such costs will be needed in order to ensure the effective implementation of the new policy, particularly among poor families. Significant efforts will also be required to raise awareness among parents of the new policy.
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Government efforts over the last decade to increase access to education for young people at all levels of education have met with considerable success. Primary and secondary net enrolment rates have increased substantially and drop-out rates have decreased at equal rates for males and females. Nonetheless, net enrolment rates are still lower and drop-out rates are still higher than the set targets. Also, although rural areas have made considerable gains in this area, they continue to lag behind urban areas. Efforts to increase access to education, particularly at the secondary levels, must be enhanced. Given the demand in the Thai labour market for highly skilled workers, a special emphasis may be needed on the part of the government to increase vocational educational opportunities, as the majority of government funds currently fund general education. Public resources to support vocational training for youth, particularly those who will enter the industrial labour force, need to be increased. Non-formal education has provided educational and skills development for youth. Greater importance should be accorded to this form of education, as it is highly accessible and allows youth to work and study simultaneously. Equity in education needs to be improved in Thailand. National Assessment Test results show marked disparities among regions with the south ranking the lowest at the lower secondary level and the north-east ranking the lowest at the upper secondary level. Bangkok and its vicinity ranked highest in both lower and upper secondary levels. The quality of educational personnel requires enhancing. In addition to receiving academic qualifications, teachers should be trained in participatory teaching methodology in order to promote the analytical skills of youth to enhance Thailand’s human resources of the future. The major obstacle to education is high expenses. Those who are poor cannot afford to go to school. Educational opportunities in rural and urban areas differ. The quality of education is much poorer in rural areas. Students from schools in rural areas are at a great disadvantage when they sit for entrance examinations for good schools. The government should provide more subsidies for rural schools so that there are fewer burdens placed on the students… Equality in education should be realized, particularly in rural areas. (20-year-old male technical college student, member of Grandma and Grandpa Youth Group, Petchaburi province, southern Thailand)
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56

Youth Health

III

The lack of knowledge and understanding among members of rural communities on health and nutritional issues is a major problem. HIV/AIDS has made a great impact on both adults and youth in rural areas. Drug and alcohol abuse are also serious problems as they result in the deterioration of health, violence in families, and often crime. Many people in the community sell drugs. Health officers should provide explanations on health and nutrition to villagers who go to receive services. These services should also be improved to respond to the real needs of the people. Family members, especially parents, should pay closer attention to their children’s physical and mental health so that they do not fall prey to drugs. Productive use of free time should be promoted among young and old alike. The role of youth as catalysts in community development should be supported in order to enhance their knowledge, strengthen their capacity and widen their experiences. (22-year-old female constitutional volunteer, member of Network North-eastern Youth, Buriram Province, north-eastern Thailand) A. 1. YOUTH HEALTH POLICY Background of

Youth health is not considered as an independent category in Thailand’s national health policy, so youth specific data in the area of health are scarce. In some instances, youth health issues are addressed together with children’s health concerns, such as the promotion of good health among students. In other cases, youth health issues are subsumed within adult policies, as in the case of HIV/AIDS prevention and care, and maternal health care.
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Thailand’s national health policy as contained in the National Health Development Plan has undergone a significant reorientation since 1997, in line with the promulgation of the Eighth National Economic and Social Development Plan (1997-2001). Prior to 1997, national health policy and the corresponding budget focussed overwhelmingly on curative care, followed to a lesser degree by health promotion and disease prevention. Rehabilitation, primary health care, consumer protection, personal development, research development and administration were given less importance (Wibulpolprasert et al. 1999). A concentration on investment in curative care in urban areas has led to inequalities in service provision, leaving rural areas with poorer quality health care services and facilities. The priorities of health care have shifted in the Eighth Five-year National Health Development Plan from curative care, investment and management to personal development, primary health care, health promotion and other activities. This change reflects the emphasis placed on human-centred development contained in the Eighth National Economic and Social Development Plan. The Plan focuses on the enhancement of capacity of the Thai people to keep pace with globalization in order to contribute to wellbalanced, holistic and integrated development. 2. The Eighth Five-year National Health Development Plan (1997-2001) The Eighth Five-year National Health Development Plan (1997-2001) was formulated by the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), the government agency responsible for national health development planning. The Plan emphasizes decentralized health management and greater collaboration between the public and private sectors. Public participation and community involvement in all decision-making processes are sought, based on the determination of local administrative bodies. Through health promotion and prevention measures, the Plan promotes self-care among patients, with the support of family and community members as care-givers, as well as appropriate behaviour for good health. In tandem, health services and management systems, information technology and environmental factors have also been targeted for improvement. The mission of the Plan states that all Thai citizens, regardless of sex, age, occupation, religion, locality, race, education and economic status should have the following:
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• •

Be born and grow up in a well-prepared and warm family environment; Be adequately developed physically, mentally and intellectually to be capable of adjusting to a rapidly changing world, and to be able to make rational consumer decisions, maintain good health behaviour and live happily, with peace of mind; Have health security, and access to appropriate health care services, which are rational, accessible, of good quality, equitably distributed, and provided at a reasonable cost; Live in a well-organized community where resources are pooled and responsibilities are shared, particularly the health care of individuals, families and communities, with an emphasis on children, the elderly, the underprivileged and the handicapped; Maintain good and safe living and working conditions; and Live a long, good quality life, free of preventable illnesses and dying with dignity.

• •

The objectives of the Eighth National Health Development Plan include: • To ensure that people are knowledgeable, have the right attitudes towards good health and have good health behaviour, both individually and collectively within the family; To maintain a decrease in the morbidity and mortality rates, caused by risky behaviour and preventable diseases; To ensure that people are entitled to health insurance, and have access to integrated health services which are efficient, of good quality and equitable, particularly regarding the underprivileged and the handicapped; To provide consumers with standard and safe health-related products; To enable people to live and work in pleasant and safe environments; To support community organizations to look after the health of their members with full strength and efficiency; To enable families to be healthy. Pregnant women and children, in particular, must be accorded special care; To assist the elderly to be healthy and to live with dignity; To enable Thai people to make use of health-related indigenous wisdom and to become potential leaders of health development in the region.
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• •

• • • • • •

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In order to ensure that the Plan is implemented and that the objectives are met, the following strategies have been formulated: • • • • • • • To reform the administrative and managerial processes of national health development; To increase efficiency and accessibility of health services; To encourage favourable health behaviour for disease prevention and control, and health promotion; To develop a system for consumer protection in areas of medical care services and health-related products; To develop human resources for health; To promote and encourage effective behavioural changes for good health; and To promote studies, research and development of health-related products and public health technologies.

B. NATIONAL HEALTH CARE SYSTEM 1. Structure

Thailand’s health care system is well-developed and extends to all regions of the country from the national to the village level. In 1999, general hospitals existed in 89 per cent of all provinces and there were community hospitals in 97 per cent of all districts. There are 9,689 health centres in total in the country, and all sub-districts have at least one centre (MOPH 1999a). Through a decentralized health care system, Thailand has achieved remarkable improvements in the health of its people. Infant mortality, child mortality and maternal mortality rates have been halved in the last decade. Life expectancy has increased by 10 years, to around 70, since 1970. Once prevalent communicable diseases have been eradicated. Thailand now has a morbidity pattern of an industrialized country (UNDP 1999a). In remote villages, 521 community posts have been established. There are also 67,376 primary health care centres (PHC centres) in rural areas and 1,732 PHC centres in urban areas, accounting for 85 per cent coverage (MOPH 1999a).
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In addition, some 300 Bangkok Metropolitan and Municipal Health Centres, teaching hospitals, regional hospitals and specialized hospitals service people throughout the country. In 1997, the government administered 71 per cent of the hospitals and medical establishments in the country, while 24 per cent were run by the private sector (MOPH 1999a). Private health care facilities, such as hospitals and clinics are found throughout the country, although their highest concentration is in Bangkok and other large cities. Approximately 62 per cent of all private hospitals and 33 per cent of all private clinics in the country are located in Bangkok (MOPH 1999c). 2. Health care agencies

(a) Public sector
The Ministry of Public Health has been the primary governmental organization responsible for medical care, public health, and health promotion and development in Thailand since 1918. Several other ministries and public organizations have also been directly and indirectly involved in the provision of health care services. The Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of University Affairs and the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority have provided curative health care and training for health care personnel. The Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, the Ministry of Labour and Public Welfare, the Ministry of Industry, and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment have all been involved in environmental control and protection, the monitoring of health and diseases in the workplace, and health education for children and youth in schools. In the area of public health care provision to specific groups, the Social Security Office, Ministry of Labour and Public Welfare, and the Insurance Department, Ministry of Commerce have been active. Finally, supporting services for public health are provided by the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board, the Bureau of Budget, the Office of the Civil Service Commission, the Department of Technical and Economic Cooperation, the National Statistical Office, and the National Research Council of Thailand.
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(b) Private sector
(i) Non-profit organizations

Approximately 375 non-profit organizations run health care services and activities in Thailand. They are registered as public foundations or associations with the Office of the National Culture Commission, Ministry of Education, or the Ministry of Interior. Some non-profit organizations have no legal status, such as the Rural Medical Group and the Study Group of Medical Problems, but they have gained recognition for their public health work in areas such as family planning, mother and child care, and public sanitation. The MOPH provided an average of B 49.2 million per year to non-profit organizations from 1992 to 1998. Following the economic crisis, the total decreased to B 35.0 million in 1998 and B 33.2 million in 1999. Approximately 300 non-profit organizations running 287 projects receive financing from the MOPH. Their activities focus on disease prevention, health promotion, environmental preservation, primary health care, and traditional and rural medicine. Since 1991, 20 to 30 per cent of the MOPH budget allocated to non-profit organizations has been channelled into HIV/ AIDS-related activities. (ii) For-profit organizations

Private for-profit organizations, listed in the securities market, are registered as private companies, clinics and public companies. The government has provided investment privileges to private hospitals, including corporate income tax exemption for a period of five years and customs tariff exemption for capital good imports. These policies geared toward the promotion of the private sector in medical services provision, have resulted in a rapid growth in private hospital facilities. Competition has been an important factor in the improvement of the quality of medical services, especially with regard to emergency services. However, as quality has increased, so has the cost of health care. The economic crisis has had a crippling effect on several private hospitals, due to the hike in interest rates on foreign loans and the devaluation of the baht. Patients with decreased spending power also switched to public hospitals. As a result, private hospitals have had to cut salaries, lay off staff and decrease their services.
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Another negative impact of the crisis has been the increase in psychological problems. Records of 15 psychiatric hospitals point to an increase in the number of outpatients from 777,457 in 1997 to 804,906 in 1998. In 1998 the budget of the Department of Mental Health was cut by 13.6 per cent (TDRIF 1999). 3. Government expenditure

Government investment in public health grew during the period of the Seventh National Economic and Social Development Plan (1992-1996). The MOPH budget increased from 5.8 per cent of the national budget or 0.97 of GNP in 1992 to 7.7 per cent or 1.7 per cent of GNP in 1996. In the MOPH budget in 1996, the ratio of salaries and wages to operation to investment was approximately 4.0 to 3.2 to 2.8. The proportion of the budget allocated to investment was twice as high as in the previous five-year period, due to the expansion of health facilities and infrastructure to cover all sub-districts and districts. The quality and the appearance of health facilities were improved. Large sums were also allocated for the construction and procurement of equipment, particularly high technology medical equipment, as well as the development of information technology. Thailand’s health care system has expanded with economic growth, with expenditures in health care rising steadily from B 25,315 million in 1980 to B 283,576 million in 1998, an increase of 11.2 fold. Per capita income over the same period only increased 8.6 fold at the present value. Over 65 per cent of health care expenditures are borne by the household, while the other 35 per cent is borne by the government, primarily the MOPH. International financial assistance decreased from 1.4 per cent in 1989 to 0.06 per cent in 1998, and the trend is still on the decline. Thailand has become a donor country in the public health sector, particularly in relation to its poorer neighbours, Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Viet Nam. As two-thirds of health care expenditure rests with the household, poor households shoulder 3.4 times the burden of wealthy households (Wibulpolprasert et al. 1999). Medical care costs, such as hospital bills and medicine, accounted for the bulk of expenditures.
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Following the economic crisis, individual household expenditures shifted from private hospitals and clinics to public hospitals and health centres. The government has expanded health insurance as well as medical welfare for the poor and the disadvantaged beyond the already existent Social Security Fund for Workers, Medical Services Welfare for Civil Servants and Medical Services Welfare for State Enterprise Employees. From 1991 to 1998, various studies concluded that health care insurance increased from 33 per cent to 80 per cent coverage of eligible participants. These public welfare schemes and programmes have been successful in their aims to increase equity and access to health care for disadvantaged people. As a result, disparity between the poor and the rich in health care is now on the decline. C. QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS

1 . Overview of youth health status and health related behaviour In 1998, Thai youth highlighted their health needs in a random survey conducted by the National Youth Bureau, entitled Thai Youth’s Opinions and Needs on Targets for Children and Youth Development in the Eighth National Economic and Social Development Plan. Of the 2,306 respondents, 46 per cent were male and 54 per cent female. Forty-six per cent of the respondents lived in urban areas, while 54 per cent were from rural areas (NYB 1998). Eighty per cent of the respondents stated that they were healthy; 20 per cent had been ill in the previous year; and 4 per cent stated that they experienced stress. Perceptions on health status differed by sex and by the geographic location of the respondents. On average, young men reported fewer physical and psychological problems as compared to young women. Females living in rural areas reported fewer health problems than those who lived in urban areas. Young women living in both rural and urban areas reported their first menstruation at an average age of 13.3 years. Their mothers were their first source of knowledge about reproductive health issues, followed by an elder sister, advertisements, and friends. This suggests that there is very little information about sexual and reproductive health in schools.
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The results of the survey were consistent with other studies, confirming that gender differences exist in health awareness and perception (Podhisita and Pattaravanich 1995 and NSO 1997a). Thus, national health policies should include specific provisions for young women’s health. Young persons who reported health problems were asked to discuss illnesses they experienced in the previous year. The answers were then grouped according to disease classification. The results showed that the multiple choice answer reading “no clear symptoms” was selected by the largest proportion of all respondents. This indicates that many youth have little knowledge about diseases, and they rarely visit a doctor for treatment, especially those young people living in rural areas. A number of respondents reported problems, such as headaches, fever, anemia and tooth decay. Both rural and urban youth cited respiratory illness, digestive disorder and problems with the nervous system as the main illnesses suffered. For illnesses which kept youth bed-bound, or out of work for more than three days, in the previous year, urban youth reported a frequency of six per cent as compared to rural youth at five per cent. Although youth were aware of medical technology and progress in Thailand, 30 per cent of the respondents opted for self-treatment through the purchase of curative drugs at a pharmacy. This option is the preferred one as it is cheap and convenient. One-third reported that they had access to clinics and hospitals when they felt ill. Very few respondents used traditional medicines. With regard to nutrition status, one tenth of the respondents reported consuming inadequate amounts of nutritious food. More female youth in both rural and urban areas perceived themselves eating adequate and proper nutritious food as compared to their male counterparts. During their spare time, the majority of rural and urban youth watched television or videos, followed by listening to the radio, playing sports and exercising, reading newspapers or magazines, reading comic books and sleeping. More female youth watched television than males and more young men engaged in sporting activities than young women. Very few youth admitted to ever having used drugs. One-third, however, reported that they consumed hard alcohol; one sixth had smoked cigarettes; one seventh had drunk mixed alcoholic drinks; and one twenty-fifth had taken pain-relief pills. More young men engaged in all types of substance abuse than their female counterparts.
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The following sections will discuss the leading causes of morbidity and death of youth, as well as other health-related behavioural risks. 2. Mortality

Thailand has entered the second phase of health transition, in which noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease, accidents, diabetes mellitus and anemia are prevalent. In the first phase, infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, pneumonia and influenza, diarrhea, typhoid fever and principal communicable diseases among children were the primary cause of death. Caloric consumption levels have generally reached acceptable standards, although there is continuing evidence of nutrition-related problems among children, and malnutrition remains a problem in some areas. The number of underweight children has been found to be increasing in some regions, especially in the north-east, which has an effect on IQ levels (UNDP 1999a). High labour migration rates have exacerbated the spread of communicable diseases and other diseases such as AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and encephalitis. Socio-economic complexities have also increased the levels of stress, mental illness, occupational hazards and environmental pollution, resulting in further health problems. Mortality rates of youth are lower than those of the total population. In 1996, the mortality rate for youth was 1.7 per 1,000 people for those aged 15 to 19 years, and 2.7 per 1,000 people for those aged 20 to 24 years, as compared to 5.9 per 1,000 people for the whole population (MOPH 1996b). Male death rates were consistently higher than female death rates across all age groups. Among 15 to 19 year olds and 20 to 24 year olds the mortality rates per 1,000 people were 2.6 and 4.0 for males as compared to 0.7 and 1.2 for females respectively (MOPH 1996b). This may be due to the higher rate of substance abuse among young men that has resulted in deaths due to accidents such as drunk driving. Statistics on the cause of death are often inconclusive, due to errors in diagnosis, certification, recording and transferal of data to concerned authorities. Nonetheless, the leading causes of death among youth as recorded by the MOPH, in descending order, were accidents and accidental poisoning; heart disease; and suicide, homicide and other injuries in 1996.
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The only significant variation in cause of death among youth age sub-groups were for heart disease and suicide, homicide and other injuries, where the number of cases in the 20 to 24 year sub-group were 1.5 to 2 times higher than those in the 15 to 19 year old sub-group. The death rate among youth caused by accidents surpassed the national rate in 1996. The rate was much higher in rural areas than in urban areas. In rural areas, pesticide-related accidents were common, while in urban areas, traffic accidents were the major cause of accident-related deaths (see Table 3-1).
Table 3-1: Number of deaths by leading causes for the 15 to 19 year and 20 to 24 year age groups, 1996
Cause of death All ages
Accident and accidental poisoning Heart diseases Suicide, homicide and other injuries
Source: MOPH 1997.

Age group 15 to 19 years 20 to 24 years
5,840 667 488 6,196 1,445 727

38,421 47,557 8,709

Among the total population, heart disease ranked as the highest cause of death, followed by accidents and accidental poisoning; and suicide, homicide and other injuries. 3. Morbidity

National age-specific data were unavailable for morbidity rates. Some information could be drawn from the Survey of Health and Welfare conducted by National Statistical Office in 1996. The sample size of the survey was 26,427 households including 97,631 individuals living in rural and urban areas (NSO 1997b). The results indicated that in 1996, six per cent of the respondents reported admittance to hospital and youth accounted for one per cent of the admitted six per cent. More women were admitted at 6.72 per cent as compared to 5.08 per cent of men. Average daily hospital expenditures were B 448 for men and B 568 for women.
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Youth accounted for 17 per cent of all inpatients in the survey. The leading cause of sickness was gender-related, since it was reported as conditions related to delivery. (Maternity complications are usually treated in the hospital.) Among young men, disease of the muscle-skeletal system was the most common, followed by disease of the digestive system (see Table 3-2).
Table 3-2: Distribution of patients admitted to hospital by cause of sickness, age and sex of patient, 1996
Cause of sickness
1. 2. 3. 4.
*

All ages Female
717,100 – 374,700 163,500

15 to 24 years Female
273,900 – 36,200 16,200

Male
– 125,900 368,300 145,800

Male
– 36,800 35,000 17,400

Conditions Disease of Disease of Ill-defined

related to delivery muscle-skeletal system the digestive system conditions*

cannot be identified or has a local name.

These leading causes of sickness among youth differed from those of the general population. Among all survey respondents, diseases of the digestive system ranked highest, followed by maternity complications and respiratory diseases. Respondents living in rural areas stayed an average of 0.53 days per year in hospital, as compared to an average of 0.44 days for those living in urban areas. No significant differences were reported between regions, with the exception of Bangkok, which was slightly lower than the other regions. Thus, a higher incidence of sickness was reported among rural people, and health care expenses for women were higher than those for men. 4. Sexual and reproductive health

In the area of sexual and reproductive health, no accurate national data exist for the general population and youth data are scarce. Maternal and child health care and family planning have been successfully integrated over the past two decades in Thailand. Other sexual and reproductive health care issues, such as impaired fertility, abortion, reproductive system diseases, genital organ cancer, sex education and the promotion of equity in accessing health services, however, have only gained recognition in the Eighth Fiveyear National Health Development Plan.
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(a) Contraception
Various studies on contraceptive prevalence in Thailand have shown differing results. A study conducted by the National Statistical Office showed that the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) among married women of reproductive age (15 to 44 years) increased from 69.2 per cent in 1991 to 75.2 per cent in 1995-1996. Of the various types of contraceptive methods, the pill was the most prevalent method used, increasing from 69.2 per cent to 75.2 per cent over the period. Female sterilization and injection also increased between 1991 and 1995-1996 from 23.5 per cent and 12.3 per cent to 23.9 per cent and 14.3 per cent respectively. The least used contraceptive forms were intrauterine device, followed by vasectomy. Both methods decreased in prevalence over the period. The north had the highest CPR at 80.7 per cent, followed by the north-east at 77.7 per cent, the centre at 77.2 per cent, Bangkok at 70.6 per cent, and the south at 60.0 per cent in 1995-1996. The pill was the most popular form of birth control in all areas with the exception of the north-east, where female sterilization was the most common contraceptive practice (NSO 1997c) (see Table 3-3).
Table 3-3: Percentage of currently married women aged 15 to 44 years by type of contraceptive method used and by region 1995-1996
Contraceptive method
Married women 15 to 44 years Contraception Oral pill IUD Injection Female sterilization Vasectomy Condom Norplant Other Non contraception
Source: NSO 1997c.
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Region Bangkok
100.0 70.6 35.1 1.7 6.4 20.6 2.4 1.0 0.2 3.2 29.4

Central
100.0 77.2 30.1 1.1 15.1 24.4 2.7 0.5 1.5 1.8 22.8

North
100.0 80.7 32.6 1.8 19.0 21.5 2.8 3.0 1.5 1.2 19.3

North-east
100.0 77.7 24.2 6.8 15.3 28.5 0.7 0.4 1.3 0.5 22.3

South
100.0 60.0 23.8 2.9 9.8 17.1 1.7 0.9 1.9 1.9 40.0

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Findings from another study conducted by the National Contraceptive Prevalence Study 1996, conducted by Mahidol University, indicated different results. The CPR rate increased from 70.5 per cent in 1987 to 72 per cent during the 1996 survey period. Female sterilization was the most common form of contraception among currently married women at 22 per cent, followed by injection at 16 per cent, and the pill at 2 per cent. Little difference was noted in the CPR between rural and urban areas. Variation among regions was more pronounced, with the lowest CPR recorded in the South at 62 per cent. A CPR of 71 per cent was recorded in the north-east and other regions registered between 75 to 76 per cent. Approximately 75 per cent of currently married women using contraception rely on government services, while 25 per cent obtain them from private sources. Health centres were the main source of government services. In the private sector, drugstores and private clinics accounted for 13 per cent and 9 per cent of users respectively. The level of knowledge about contraception of single women aged 15 to 25 years was relatively high. Men played a much less significant role than women in family planning, including contraception, illustrated by the very low usage of male contraceptive methods. This may in part be attributed to the fact that family planning programmes in the past have primarily targeted women. Only 1.7 per cent of men had vasectomies and 1.8 per cent used condoms. As shown in Table 3.3, among married women aged 15 to 44 years as few as 0.5 per cent and 0.4 per cent reported using a condom in the central and northeastern regions respectively. These low rates of condom use are particularly alarming, as condoms to date are the only contraceptive to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and other STDs.

(b) Illegal abortion and maternal mortality
Women have always been vulnerable to unwanted pregnancy. As abortion is illegal in Thailand under normal circumstances, no national data are available on abortion rates. A study conducted on women seeking illegal abortions reported that 64 per cent of the clients were young women under the age of 25 years. Infected cases accounted for 89 per cent of the total, of which 10 per cent of clients went into a state of shock (MOPH 1996a). This highlights the need for counseling as part of health services for youth, in order to ensure healthy psycho-sexual development.
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(i)

Maternal mortality

Maternal mortality often occurs as the result of the lack of health personnel present during prenatal care and post-partum care. Death among mothers has been considerably reduced when delivery has been performed by trained personnel. Good nutrition prior to conception, during pregnancy, and during childbirth is also essential for maternal health. From 1992 to 1996, the MOPH reported that 83.4 per cent of pregnant women received antenatal care (ANC) services four times, and 96.4 per cent of deliveries were attended by health personnel or traditional birth attendants. As a result, the maternal mortality rate decreased from 14.2 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1992 to 10.6 per 100,000 live births in 1997, with a peak of 15.6 per 1,000 live births in 1996 (Kakwani and Pothong 1999b). 5. Hereditary illness

Thalassemia, a blood disease, is the most significant hereditary illness occurring in young people in Thailand. Although this disease could be harmful to the new generation of youth, it has been largely ignored by national level policy makers. In 1996, Thalassemia affected about 1 out of 500,000 individuals. In the same period, there were 50,000 pregnant women at risk of delivering infants with Thalassemia. Each year, about 12,250 pregnant women risk contracting this disease. In 1997, the prevalence rate of Thalassemia was 33.6 per 100,000 population, excluding Bangkok. The northern region had the highest rate at 61.2 per 100,000 population (MOPH 1998). Concerted efforts in surveillance and control must be made, for it could take more than a century to eliminate this disease. 6. Sexually transmitted diseases Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are common among male youth due to their culturally condoned sexual permissiveness. STDs (excluding HIV/ AIDS) has been reported among almost 40 per cent of the population under 25 years of age (MOPH 1996a). The first AIDS case was reported in Thailand in 1984. Transmission has occurred at alarming rates since that time, predominantly through heterosexual sexual relations.
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Hospitals and clinics reported high numbers of AIDS patients between 1984 and 1997, totalling 65,792 persons. Youth accounted for 20 per cent of all AIDS patients, while the working population, aged 20 and 44 years of age accounted for 80 per cent. Children under five years of age accounted for 4 per cent of the total (see Table 3-4).
Table 3-4: Number of AIDS patients and percentage classified by age group and by sex, 1984-1996 and 1997, 1998 and 1999
Age group
0-4 5-9 10-14 15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60+ Unknown

1984-96 M
540 47 5 249 2600 6048 4971 3073 1569 797 459 304 480 24

1997 F
482 30 9

1998 F
163 37 4 92 620 795 521 314 193 86 49 26 28 1

1999 F
122 51 9 81 579 855 558 342 198 89 50 28 36 0

M
228 47 2 58 597 1995 1926 1135 624 316 132 80 124 1

M
168 73 4 36 575 1755 1752 1035 622 246 118 87 114 1

M
53 26 0 13 160 578 616 373 199 87 48 31 40 0

F
37 24 2 33 201 306 235 145 85 42 20 14 13 0

316 1399 1504 950 519 320 124 61 67 51 4

Source: NSO 1997c.

The male to female ratio of AIDS patients was 5 to 1 for all age groups, with the exception of the 20 to 24 year age group, where it was 1 to 1. This higher rate among young females as compared to the general female population may be attributed to groups that are at high risk in that age category, including commercial sex workers and other young women who are not practicing safe sex. AIDS patients in the north accounted for 44 per cent of the total, followed by the central at 24 per cent, the north-east at 14 per cent, Bangkok at 10 per cent and the south at 6 per cent (see Table 3-5).
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Table 3-5: Number of AIDS patients classified by region, September 1984 – July 1997
Region
Whole country Bangkok metropolis Central North North-east South
Source: NSO 1997c.

Sept 1984-1993
8,989 955 1,481 5,076 1,059 418

1994
13,308 1,170 3,176 6,372 1,742 848

1995
19,273 1,859 5,044 8,010 3,027 1,336

1996
19,909 2,014 5,500 7,767 3,068 1,560

July 1997
4,313 486 1,135 1,863 576 253

The ten provinces recording the most AIDS patients from 1984 to 1997 were Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Payao, Lampang, Rayong, Lamphun, Khon Kaen, Chonburi, Ratchaburi and Petchaburi. Five of the provinces are located in the north, one is the gateway province to the north-east, and the other three are western and eastern seaport provinces. No age-specific data exist for risk behaviour. Among the general population, sex related causes made up 80 per cent of the total. This was followed by intravenous drug use at 5.0 per cent, transmission from mother to child at 5.0 per cent, blood transmission at 0.05 per cent and unidentified sources at 7.05 per cent. A total of 17,492 people have died of AIDS-related diseases from the total of 65,792 people who have been recorded as living with HIV/AIDS in the period from 1984 to 1997 (MOPH 1997c). This is a 26 per cent mortality rate. Due to social stigma, however, many people do not report their illness, which has resulted in underreporting. Tremendous amounts of resources from both the public and private sectors have been invested in curative treatment and preventive campaigns on HIV/ AIDS, as well as support for safe sex among high-risk groups and the general public. Thailand is world renowned for the implementation of successful, innovative strategies to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS. The HIV sero-surveillance programme has found transmission rates to be decreasing in all high-risk groups, with the exception of intravenous drug users. Also, studies on the prevalence rate of military conscripts living with
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HIV from 1991 to 1998 indicate that the prevalence rate has dropped from 4 per cent to 1.2 per cent (Wibulpolprasert et al. 1999). Although Thailand has achieved much success in containing the spread of HIV/AIDS, investment in prevention programmes must be continued, particularly among high-risk groups of both sexes. For people terminally ill with AIDS, there is also a need for more state facilities to be established and available for those who need care and have nowhere else to go, as well as support for community based programme initatives. 7. Substance abuse Rapid economic growth and social made consumer goods accessible to have become particularly vulnerable available, including alcohol, cigarettes changes experienced by Thailand have the majority of the population. Youth to substances, which are now readily and certain drugs.

(a) Cigarette smoking
According to the NSO survey of cigarette smoking behaviour conducted in 1999, 12 million persons 11 years of age and older smoked, accounting for 24 per cent of the population. Of the total, 10.2 million people were regular smokers. Youth aged 15 to 19 years and 20 to 24 years who regularly smoke cigarettes accounted for 6.3 and 18.3 per cent of the population in their age group respectively in 1999. Female rates were significantly lower than male rates, with less than 0.1 per cent of females aged 15 to 19 reported as smokers, and 0.7 per cent of females aged 20 to 24 reported as smoking. The male rates for the same age groups were 12.4 and 35.4 per cent. Of the total male population, 38.9 per cent were smokers as compared to 2.4 per cent of the female population. Sixty per cent of the regular female smokers who were married with young children aged below five years, reported smoking during pregnancy, putting themselves and their babies at health risk. People living outside municipal areas smoked more than those living in municipal areas. In 1999, of the total population living in the south, northeast, north, central and Bangkok, 23 per cent, 22 per cent, 21 per cent, 19 per cent and 14 per cent smoked respectively (NSO 1997b).
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From 1996 to 1999, the number of smokers decreased in all regions of the country. The north had the highest drop in smoking rates, followed by the central, the north-east, the south and finally Bangkok. Among the general population, smokers smoked an average of 1 to 12 cigarettes per day, costing B 19 to B 20. Youth expenditures on smoking ranged from B 7 to B 13 per day. People started smoking at the age of 13 to 14 years, with the youngest smokers aged 10 years. Many became regular smokers by the age of 15 years (Wibulpolprasert et al. 1996). The reasons cited for smoking were similar for men and women. The most predominant reasons for smoking included wanting to try smoking and wanting to be associated with cigarette smokers. The other three reasons found among female smokers were to imitate another household member, to release tension and anxiety, and to ease boredom. Male smokers cited socializing, forming a personality and releasing tension and anxiety as the three main causes. The NSO survey also found a correlation between smoking and level of education, with lower proportions of smokers found among higher educated people, regardless of sex and residence. The proportion of smokers was also lower among people of higher economic status. By occupational group, workers in the transportation sector, farmers and labourers formed the majority of regular smokers. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of illness. Some 90 per cent of lung cancer patients, 75 per cent of atelectasis patients and 25 per cent of heart disease patients were smokers. Several anti-smoking campaigns have been launched by various organizations and the mass media. Furthermore, in compliance with the Anti-smoking Act, non-smoking areas have been designated in public places, such as public transportation and restaurants.

(b) Drinking
Alcohol consumption among Thai people has been on the rise. In 1990, an average of 20.2 litres of hard alcohol was consumed per person. This increased to 35.6 litres in 1998, and then decreased to 28 litres in 1999. Also, the rising trend appeared with beer drinkers, in the same period, with an average of 6.5 litres increasing to 35.3 litres.
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A study of the drinking behaviour of youth conducted by Termsirikulchai and Wattanasomboon in Bangkok schools in 1998 found that 53.5 per cent of male students and 25.1 per cent of female students consumed alcohol. Male students consumed three times more alcohol than did female students (Wibulpolprasert et al. 1999). Other research findings showed similar results among workers. Whisky was the most popular drink, followed by beer, locally distilled alcohol, and wine (Wibulpolprasert et al. 1999). Several studies have found that alcohol consumption has led to sexual abuse, quarrelling, accidents and violent behaviour among youth. Furthermore, several diseases have been associated with alcohol abuse. The analysis of an NSO survey conducted by Siriwongs found that 31.4 per cent of the population over 14 years of age, or 12.4 million persons, consumed alcohol. The regional distribution included 4.8 million persons in the north-east, 3 million persons in the north, 2.4 million persons in the central region, 1.1 million persons in Bangkok and 0.9 million persons in the south (Wibulpolprasert et al. 1999).

(c) Drug abuse
Drug trafficking, including narcotics, has been a major concern in Thailand. Despite suppression efforts in production, distribution and sale, policing, and campaigning by concerned organizations, drug trafficking is on the rise. Drug abuse affects the health and socio-economic condition of individuals both inside and outside Thailand. Narcotics production and trafficking routes are found in northern Thailand. The illegal business has spread southward, where 9 million pills have been seized in 1997, accounting for 60 per cent of all seizures in that year. Although national figures for drug abusers do not exist, the Thailand Development Research Institute estimated that there were at least 1.27 million drug addicts in Thailand in 1992 (Wibulpolprasert et al. 1999). Drug abuse is a serious problem among certain groups of youth in Thailand, particularly those living in poor communities in both rural and urban areas. It is also becoming an increasing problem within the general population of youth. Records of treatment centres showed that the number of drug patients rose steadily from 68 per 100,000 people to 92 per 100,000 people from 1992 to 1995, before decreasing to 64 per cent in 1997 (Wibulpolprasert et al. 1999). Students accounted for 80 per cent of new abusers.
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The Office of the Narcotics Control Board has reported that amphetamines are the most commonly used drug, accounting for 39.8 per cent of the total illegal drug use, followed by marijuana at 22.5 per cent, glue and thinner at 19.5 per cent, heroin at 13.2 per cent and ephedrine at 3.5 per cent. Other drugs used by less than one per cent of all users include ecstasy, seconal, ketamine and mitragyna. Reported cases of drug abusers come from people who voluntarily seek treatment, representing a small proportion of the total number of abusers. The total number of drug addicts who sought treatment increased from 1,289 persons to 5,229 persons from 1992 to 1995. In 1997 the number of treatment seekers dropped to 4,369 (Wibulpolprasert et al. 1999). For the entire period, new drug users accounted for the overwhelming majority of addicts who sought treatment. D. 1. QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS Health personnel

A severe shortage of high quality health personnel exists throughout the country despite efforts to encourage the training of health professionals. The Ministry of University Affairs (MOUA) is responsible for the training of personnel in major disciplines such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, radiology, medical technology and physiotherapy. At present, the MOPH has trained approximately 8,000 professional nurses and auxiliary personnel annually in various fields. However, the number of personnel trained is still inadequate, especially for health centres. According to a three-year staffing plan for health centres (1995-1997), each centre should have five staff members. In reality, they average 3.1 staff per health centre (Prabaromrajchanok Institute 1996). Furthermore, as health problems related to socio-psychological factors are on the rise among youth, more psychologists, psychiatrists and social welfare workers are also required. As there are few counselors trained in these fields, efforts are needed to sensitize existing professionals to deal specifically with youth. Shortages in medical and health personnel, especially doctors, dentists, pharmacists and nurses are serious. They have been exacerbated by regional maldistribution, resignations and transfers. Table 3-6 illustrates the imbalance of health personnel by region, showing a concentration of personnel in Bangkok.
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Table 3-6: Numbers of medical and health personnel in 1997
Region Doctor Dentist Pharmacist Number Ratio
2,847 3,094 757 685 1,145 507 5,941

Registered nurse Number Ratio
1:368 1:1,333 1:1,188 1:2,133 1:1,004 1:1,080 1:1,076

Number Ratio Number Ratio
1:720 1:6,237 1:5,791 1:9,951 1:4,506 1:5,216 1:3,649 1,651 1:3,389 1,763 1:33,124 398 1:30,248 460 1:45,622 657 1:21,263 248 1:3,176 3,414 1:17,711

Bangkok 7,771 Other provinces 8,798 North 2,079 North-east 2,109 Central (Except BKK) 3,100 South 1,510 Whole country 16,569
Source: MOPH 1999c.

1:1,965 15,190 1:17,735 41,176 1:15,903 10,130 1:30,636 9,841 1:12,201 13,915 1:15,535 7,290 1:10,178 56,366

Bangkok has 1 doctor per 720 persons, while the ratio in other provinces is 1 to 5,000 or more. The shortage is particularly severe in the north-eastern region, which has a doctor to patient ratio of 1 to 9,951. Similar distribution patterns are also found for other health personnel. A promising sign has emerged with regards health workers in rural areas. The ratio improved from 1 to 2,421 in 1987 to 1 to health workers are concentrated in the central regional gap is narrowing (see Table 3-7).
Table 3-7:

to the distribution pattern of of health workers to people 1,309 in 1997. Even though and the southern regions, the

Distribution of health worker by region between 1987 and 1997
1987 Number
4,217 3,233 2,318 4,573 14,341

Region
Central North South North-east Whole country
Source: MOPH 1999c
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1997 Ratio
1:1,833 1:2,387 1:2,064 1:3,167 1:2,421

Number
7,917 6,826 5,038 10,430 30,211

Ratio
1:109 1:1,293 1:1,079 1:1,582 1:309

CHAPTER III: YOUTH HEALTH

2.

Drug treatment centres

The public and the private sectors have pooled their resources and efforts to provide treatment centres for drug addicts throughout the country. Of the 280 curative and rehabilitation centres for narcotic addicts in Thailand, 31 per cent are located in the central region, followed by 28 per cent in the north, 18 per cent in Bangkok, 13 per cent in the north-east, and 11 per cent in the south (MOPH 1996b). Eighty per cent of the curative and rehabilitation centres for narcotic addicts were run by the government. The highest percentage of government institutes was located in the central and northern regions, while the highest percentage of private institutes was found in Bangkok, followed by the northern and the central regions. E. CHALLENGES FOR YOUTH HEALTH POLICY

A paradigm shift has occurred in the Eighth Five-year National Health Development Plan. While previous Plans focussed primarily on curative care, the Eighth Health Plan has placed greater emphasis on primary health care, health promotion and the development of health personnel. Its successful implementation will require significant attitudinal and behavioural changes of all concerned in its promotion. Over the last three decades, Thailand has made impressive progress in enhancing the health status of its population. Thailand’s health system is well developed, with public health care facilities extending to the village level throughout the country, where increased levels of sanitation and the provision of clean water and electricity have had significant health impacts. Infant, child and maternal mortality rates have all been halved over the past decade (UNDO 1999a). Life expectancy has increased, and communicable diseases have been reduced or eradicated. Nonetheless, inequalities in health care status, health care delivery and access to health care remain and require urgent attention. Although malnutrition is uncommon in Thailand, it still exists in some remote areas (UNDP 1999a). Data on youth health remain scarce, yet available studies demonstrate that youth have health problems distinct from adults and from children, clearly shown in mortality and morbidity patterns. Also, different patterns exist between rural areas and urban areas, and between young women and men.
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The fact that many youth prefer self-treatment through the purchase of curative drugs at a pharmacy may indicate that even if many have access to services, they are not comfortable seeking these services. Factors leading to this choice may be financial, perceived and actual negative attitudes of health workers, as well as the stigma attached to seeking medical care for certain illnesses such as STDs. Integrated approaches to counseling, supplying contraceptives and STDs services through youth clinics are likely to reach more youth than through traditional health centres. Reproductive health care issues are more prevalent among female youth than male youth. Issues such as abortion, which is currently illegal in Thailand, need to be openly addressed, as young women continue to suffer from infections, which result from unsafe practices. Also HIV/AIDS rates among young women are considerably higher than that for all other age groups of women, indicating the importance of addressing youth health issues as an independent category. Although the HIV/AIDS campaigns have successfully targeted high-risk groups of young people including commercial sex workers, sex education has yet to be introduced into school curricula. In order to prevent the spread of STDs, further measure are needed, in particular to influence men’s sexual behaviour. Correct usage of condoms greatly reduces the risk of both STDs and HIV, and need to be encouraged among young men. Considering the low usage of condoms as a contraceptive method in all regions of Thailand, this issue requires particular attention. Substance abuse is a serious problem among male youth, particularly in rural areas. This issue has received considerable attention from the Thai government and these efforts need to be continued. Data on young women’s and young men’s health needs, as well as a youth health policy, are urgently needed for better-targeted interventions. The policy should differentiate between health needs of older youth and younger youth, who have varying health care needs. As young people are generally literate, investments should be made in creative approaches to disseminate health education, information on health promotion and disease prevention. Imaginative campaigns on health concerns that affect youth should be further promoted.
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The problem with regard to health is poor services, especially in remote villages where people suffer from malaria and malnutrition. Most of the people who live in these poor villages have no work and no money to pay for medicines or health services. The government should consider the improvement of health services as their first priority. They could begin in schools where health and nutrition programmes could save a great number of lives in remote areas. (18-year-old Thailand) female kindergarten teacher, Tak province, northern

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Youth Employment

IV

The most important factor for success in employment is oneself… Youth must try to be self-reliant before seeking help from others. Starting from oneself, one should seek out knowledge and skills to analyse situations. Family members should provide advice and encouragement and the community should recognize youth’s capacity and support their activities by providing a market for their products. The government should provide knowledge and skills training to prepare youth for their future careers. (24-year-old male fruit and tapioca farmer, member of Network of North-eastern Youth, Buriram province, north-east Thailand) A. 1. YOUTH EMPLOYMENT POLICY Background

Youth employment policies are contained within overall national employment policies in Thailand. In response to internal and external pressures to improve its labour record, the Thai government has stepped up efforts to strengthen labour laws and regulations in line with international standards. To this end, the Labour Protection Act B.E. 2541 was promulgated in 1998, setting the legal framework for the safeguarding of workers’ rights, with an emphasis on workers under 18 years of age. The Thai labour force currently has a shortage of skilled workers, due to the low educational attainment of the population. In recognition of
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the importance of human resources development to the sustainability of economic growth in Thailand, the government has made the education and training of youth, as the future workforce, a priority. Since the onset of the economic crisis of 1997, the prevention and alleviation of unemployment has been one of the government’s main priorities. Comprehensive employment schemes have been established, focussed upon labour market information, skills training, job creation and placement, wages and social security systems, and industrial relations. Youth form a main target group of these initiatives. 2. Legislation relevant to youth employment

(a) Labour Protection Act B.E. 2541 (1998)
The Labour Protection Act B.E. 2541 was promulgated in 1998, in line with the directions set by the Eighth Economic and Social Development Plan (1997-2001) and the Constitution of Thailand of 1997. The former focuses on human capacity building, with a particular emphasis on disadvantaged groups, through the protection of young workers, particularly in the agricultural and informal sectors. The latter provides a legal framework for the prohibition of forced labour, the guaranteeing of youth rights with regard to unfair treatment, and the promotion of employment among the working-age population. The Labour Protection Act provides legal measures to safeguard the rights of all workers with separate chapters devoted to the rights of workers under 18 years of age and female workers. The Act, under Section 15, stipulates that employers are obliged to treat male and female workers equally. Section 16 prohibits sexual harassment of women and children. Employers are obliged to abide by the working hours, holiday periods, overtime and rest periods stipulated in the Act (MOLSW 1997a). Labour by children under 15 years of age is prohibited by Chapter 4 of the Act, repealing the former legal working age of 13 years in Thailand. Furthermore, regulations and restrictions are spelled out by the Act for employees below 18 years of age. They must be registered and authorities must be regularly informed of their employment status (MOLSW 1997a).
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The Act prohibits employers from requesting employees under 18 years of age to perform night work, as well as certain tasks involving hazardous substances and heavy machinery. Also prohibited is the employment of youth below 18 years of age in dance halls, establishments where sexual services are offered, gambling dens and slaughterhouses. Youth workers under 18 years of age are provided with additional rights under the Act. They can take paid leave for up to 30 days to upgrade their skills through participation in human resources activities. Also, payment for their work is to be provided to them directly. Parents or guardians are no longer allowed to accept payment for the work performed by a young person, particularly not in advance of the working period. Regulations for women workers, including young women are clearly stipulated in Chapter 3 of the Act. Employers are prohibited from requiring a woman to perform certain tasks that are hazardous to her health, such as working underground in tunnels, or above ground on scaffolding exceeding ten metres in height. Pregnant women cannot be asked by an employer under the Act to carry out work which may cause harm to themselves or their babies, such as working on vibrating equipment and lifting loads of more than 15 kilogrammes (MOLSW 1997a). The employment rights of pregnant women are secured under the Act. They cannot be terminated due to pregnancy and they are entitled to 90 days of maternity leave for each pregnancy. A pregnant woman can ask for a change in duties if a medical practitioner guarantees that she is no longer fit to perform her current job.

(b) Other relevant legislation
Additional laws that have had an impact on youth employment opportunities are the Occupational Training Promotion Act of 1993 and the National Education Act of 1999. The Occupational Training Promotion Act aims to promote occupational training among active workers to upgrade their skills and to enhance their productivity. The Act calls for cooperation between employers and educational institutes in providing students with on-the-job training. It also seeks to increase compatibility between human resources development and labour market demands.
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The National Education Act of 1999, as discussed in Chapter 2 of this monograph, establishes the framework for the provision of free education for 12 years. It lays the basis for educational reforms, particularly with regard to increased access to education and to improvements in quality, particularly in rural areas. One of the Act’s main goals is to improve the capacity of youth for future employment. 3. Government initiatives on youth employment promotion

Government budget allocation in the area of youth employment amounted to B 235.4 million in 1998 and B 318.7 million in 1999. The programmes include short training courses and programmes for youth in areas such as job creation and career development (NYB 1998a).

(a) Training programmes
The National Institute of Skill Development is the most important supplier of semi-skilled workers for the industrial sector, offering extensive skills training programmes. Several government departments also implement programmes to promote career development and employment among youth. Formal education training, skills training and on-the-job training programmes are offered by the Department of Vocational Education, Ministry of Education (MOE), and the Department of Non-Formal Education, MOE. The Department of Skill Development, MOLSW; the Department of Public Welfare, MOLSW; and the Department of Welfare and Labour Protection, MOLSW, all offer semi-skilled development and short training course programmes for youth (NYB 1998a). In rural areas, the Department of Community Development, Ministry of the Interior (MOI), and the Office of Accelerated Rural Development, MOI, provide short pre-work training programmes. The Department of Agricultural Promotion, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives also offers training programmes for young farmers. Finally in remote areas, pre-work training courses are provided by the Supreme Command Headquarters, Ministry of Defense. Several other training programmes for youth are run by the private sector, including NGOs. Trainers used by the government often work in medium and large private firms.
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Although youth employment programmes are plentiful, these initiatives could be strengthened with a greater focus on management and entrepreneurial skills. Seventy per cent of youth are currently employed in the agricultural and home industry sectors and so training programmes in small enterprise development and management for youth would be appropriate (MOLSW 1995).

(b) Youth unemployment initiatives in response to the economic crisis
In the aftermath of the economic crisis that began in 1997, the Thai government adopted numerous measures to stabilize the economy and to reduce the effect of the crisis on vulnerable groups such as the unemployed. The MOLSW initiated several youth unemployment programmes with funds from the Miyazawa Fund Loan of the Government of Japan and the Economic and Financial Adjustment Loan II of the World Bank. The programmes focussed on increasing productivity and employment while alleviating the social impact of the crisis in specific geographic areas and among deprived groups. The MOLSW conducted a survey on the demand for and the shortage of skilled workers. A database on labour demands was created and employment and unemployment trends were analyzed. Occupational training courses for workers aged 15 years and above were also organized by the MOLSW for laid-off workers and the unemployed in the rural areas with additional special courses for women and youth under 18 years of age. Finally, the MOLSW organized a voluntary graduate project to employ new graduates in local communities to stimulate development (MOLSW 1999).

(c) Government initiatives to assist young workers
At present, the MOLSW runs programmes on the prevention and protection of workers under 18 years of age. Regional centres to assist women and young workers have been established and counseling services have been set up in the workplace. Inspection of establishments and the running of a 24-hour hotline to report cases of abusive child labour and violations of child rights have also been conducted. Capacity-building activities for young workers, such as general education, vocational education, health checks and study tour programmes have been promoted with the cooperation of other relevant agencies.
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B. 1.

QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS Labour force

(a) Definitions
The National Statistical Office persons, underemployed persons follows: 1 (i) Employed persons defines employed persons, unemployed and seasonally active labour force as

Employed persons are defined as persons aged 15 years of age and over who fulfill one of the three following conditions. They are people who worked for at least one hour a day during the surveyed week for wages, profits, dividends or any other kind of payment in kind. They are also defined as people who did not work at all but had regular jobs, business enterprises or farms from which they were temporarily absent.2 Lastly, a person is considered employed if he or she worked for at least one hour or without pay in a business enterprise or a farm owned or operated by the head or member of a household. (ii) Unemployed persons

Unemployed persons are those aged 15 years of age and over who did not work even for one hour. They had no job, business enterprises or farms of their own from which they were temporarily absent, but were available for work. They include those who had been looking for work during the preceding 30 days and those who had not been looking for work because of illness or due to the belief that no suitable work was available.

1 The definitions were altered slightly by the Labour Protection Act of 1998 that raised

the legal age of an employed person from 13 to 15 years.
2 The absence may have been caused by illness or injury, vacation or holiday, strike or

lockout, bad weather, off-season or other reasons. These include temporary closure of the work place, whether or not they were paid by their employers during their period of absence. In the case of temporary closure, the expectation was that the workplace would be reopened within 30 days from the date of closure and the employees would be recalled to their former job. 88

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(iii)

Underemployed persons

A person is considered underemployed when the employment carried out is inadequate in relation to specified norms which includes work of less than 20 hours per week. Technically, this overlaps with the definition of an employed person, which is important to note when interpreting employment data. (iv) Seasonally inactive labour force

The seasonally inactive labour force is defined as persons aged 15 years of age and over who were neither employed nor unemployed as defined above, as they were waiting for the appropriate season. They were persons who usually worked without pay in seasonal activities on farms or in business enterprises owned or operated by the head or a member of the household.

(b) Labour force participation rate
The National Labour Act of 1998 raised the legal working age from 13 to 15 years. As the Act has yet to be fully enforced, some children still leave school after Grade 6 in order to work to supplement their family income, particularly in poor households. In 1997, the number of working children aged 13 to 14 years was 1.3 million, with the majority working in the agricultural sector and some 0.55 million working in formal sector enterprises (NSO 1997a). This number declined to 0.1 million in 1999 (NSO 1999a). No comprehensive data exist for child workers in the informal sector. In 1997, the number of employed persons aged 13 to 24 years of age was 6.7 million, or 49 per cent of the total population in that age range for that year (NSO 1998). Among youth, the majority of workers (65.4 per cent) were aged 20 to 24 years throughout the country, with slightly higher rates for females than males at 65.9 per cent and 65.0 per cent respectively (see Table 4-1). Youth labour force participation rates were higher in rural areas than in urban areas in the 15 to 19 year age group, as greater numbers of urban youth of that age group were enrolled in education. For the 20 to 24 years age group, the labour force participation rate was higher in urban areas than in rural areas, due to greater employment opportunities in urban centres for secondary school or higher education graduates. By 1999, the number of employed people aged 13 to 24 years had decreased to 5.1 million, accounting for 38 per cent of the young people aged 13 to 24
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Table 4-1: Youth labour force participation rates by age, by sex and by area in 1997 (in per cent)
Age
Total 13-14 15-19 20-24

Whole kingdom Total
100.0 3.2 31.4 65.4

Urban Male
100.0 20 28.1 69.9

Rural Female Total
100.0 2.0 25.4 72.6 100.0 3.4 32.5 64.1

Male
100.0 3.5 31.5 65.0

Female Total
100.0 2.8 31.3 65.9 100.0 2.0 26.7 71.3

Male
100.0 3.8 32.2 64.0

Female
100.0 3.0 32.8 64.2

Source: NSO 1997a.

years (NSO 1999a). The labour force participation rates of youth aged 15 to 19 years was lower than that for youth aged 20 to 24 years. Among 15 to 19 years old, 1.4 million young people were employed, making up 26.3 per cent of total population in that age category. Another 3.5 million young people aged 20 to 24 years of age were employed, or 61.6 per cent of the population of that age group (NSO 1999a). Labour force participation rates for young people did not differ significantly by sex. In 1999, employed males aged 13 to 24 years made up 52.0 per cent of all males in that age category. Among females the percentage was 45.8 for the same age category (NSO 1999a). Regionally, the proportion of employed youth in the 15 to 19 year age group was highest in the south at 34.8 per cent, followed by 34.6 per cent in the central region, 33.5 per cent in the north-east, and 30.1 per cent in the north. In the 20 to 24 year age group, the proportion of employed youth was 77.5 per cent in the central region, 76.0 per cent in the south, 75.4 per cent in the north and 73.1 per cent in the north-east (NSO 1999a). The decline in youth labour force participation from 1997 to 1999 can be attributed to several factors, including the promulgation of the Labour Protection Act in 1998, which increased the legal working age from 13 to 15 years; the economic crisis which depleted employment opportunities; and the government’s efforts to promote secondary school and higher education enrolment among young people. Youth participation in the labour force is all workers in the labour force, due to Thailand. The percentage of youth in lower birth rates and longer life expectancy
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also declining as a percentage of changing demographic patterns in the population is declining with at birth (see Figures 4-1 and 4-2).

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Figure 4-1:

Population distribution by age group and by sex in 1975
Age-sex distribution in 1975
Male
70 over 65-69 60-64 55-59 50-54 45-49 40-44 35-39 30-34 25-29 20-24 15-19 10-14 5-9 0-4 –15% –10% –5% 0% 5% 10% 15%

Female

Age

Percentage

Figure 4-2:

Population distribution by age group and by sex in 1995
Age-sex distribution in 1995
Male
70 over 65-69 60-64 55-59 50-54 45-49 40-44 35-39 30-34 25-29 20-24 15-19 10-14 5-9 0-4 –15% –10% –5% 0% 5% 10% 15%

Female

Age

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2. Employed youth labour force Up until the economic crisis, the employment situation for job-seeking youth was very positive. While the labour force grew by only 1.5 per cent a year in the 1990s (half the rate of the 1980s), employment grew at a much faster rate and workers with low levels of education were able to find productive employment. The rate of those without jobs but actually seeking work remained below one per cent, since 1988, and the total unemployment rate had remained below two per cent, since 1992. The crisis resulted in high rates of unemployment and underemployment for the working population, resulting in lower earnings, declining income opportunities and worsening living conditions, with a direct impact on working youth, women and child labour.

(a) Distribution by sector
The agricultural sector accounted for the highest proportion (42.7 per cent) of young workers aged 13 to 24 years in 1997. The private production process, including handicraft production and unskilled labour, absorbed 30.5 per cent of the young labour force of the same age range. Young entrepreneurs in agriculture, commerce and manufacturing represented 7.1 per cent of employed persons aged 13 to 24 years. Finally, youth employers made up only 0.1 per cent of the employed youth population. They were concentrated predominantly in the agricultural sector (NSO 1997a). By occupation, females predominated as professionals, technical workers, electrical workers, sales workers and service workers, while males were dominant in the transport and communication sectors (NSO 1997a). On-the-job training and skills development area of management, are needed for youth competitiveness in the international arena. English language skills to enable Thai youth globalization and to function effectively in based society. programmes, particularly in the in order to increase Thailand’s Training is also needed in to respond to the challenges of a knowledge and information-

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(b) Wages and earnings
The average monthly income of an unskilled youth worker was B 3,000 for a craftsperson, or worker in the production process. Clerical workers earned on average B 4,000 monthly, while young workers in the vocational and skilled employment sectors received B 15,000 per month. The latter workers were graduates of vocational training or high secondary education (NSO 1997a) (see Table 4-2).
Table 4-2: Number of employed children and youth aged 13 to 24 years, not attending school, by average monthly income and occupation, whole country (in thousands)
Average monthly income (Baht) Occupation Total 1
157.2 3.4 4.8 6.2 15.3 6.0 42.8 39.2 17.6 13.3 7.7 0.9

2
16.4 * * * * * 3.2 3.6 2.8 * 6.8 –

3
276.7 * 2.3 9.8 38.8 93.0 83.0 39.1 5.0 * * 5.6

4
379.7 6.3 28.6 41.3 85.1 51.9 55.2 88.7 12.6 3.1 1.8 5.1

5
617.1 120.1 129.7 150.5 111.3 48.4 31.4 17.0 2.9 * 0.8 5.0

6

7

8

9
16.0 – – – – 0.4 9.9 0.5 – – – 5.3

Total 3,910.5 Less than 1,000 155.6 1,000-1,999 321.6 2,000-2,999 578.5 3,000-3,999 906.1 4,000-4,999 849.0 5,000-6,999 597.9 7,000-9,999 305.7 10,000-14,999 99.4 15,000-19,999 24.8 20,000 and over 33.6 Unknown 38.4
Source: NSO 1997a. Notes:

178.5 1,944.5 324.4 * 8.5 19.6 31.6 56.4 36.6 9.2 10.5 1.1 * 5.1 21.7 111.2 280.5 543.1 535.7 280.8 99.6 42.4 7.2 13.4 8.9 4.2 36.5 70.7 80.9 57.1 55.0 8.8 5.6 0.1 3.1 2.5

1. Professional and technical workers; 2. Administration and executives; 3. Clerical workers; 4. Sales workers; 5. Farmers, fisher people; 6. Transportation and communication workers; 7. Craftspeople and workers in the production process; 8. Service workers; 9. Unknown.

Among people of working age, average incomes were lowest for the 13 to 15 year age group. Incomes increased gradually with age, reaching a peak level among people aged 40 to 49 years.
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Youth incomes were the most affected by the economic crisis, as compared to those of other age groups, with reductions in income of 30 per cent among the 13 to 15 year age group, as well as the 16 to 18 year age group (ONESDB 1998b).
Table 4-3: Trend and crisis indices for unemployment rate and real income per earners by age in 1998
Unemployment rate Age group Long term trend 1993-1998
13-15 16-18 19-24 25-30 31-39 40-49 50-59 60 and over –4.2 –7.8 –5.7 –11.1 –17.5 –13.0 –11.4 2.1

Real income per earner

Crisis index Long term trend 1st quarter 3rd quarter 1st quarter 3rd quarter 1998 1998 1993-1998 1998 1998
45.3 74.0 78.7 99.0 110.4 109.8 79.0 56.8 68.7 132.2 137.4 150.4 180.2 179.0 128.2 96.8 9.8 9.9 8.5 6.0 3.6 4.3 5.1 5.2 –33.1 –30.0 –24.6 –17.2 –14.9 –13.1 –8.3 –8.7 –41.7 –36.0 –31.2 –24.2 –17.7 –18.4 –10.8 –17.2

Crisis index

Source: ONESDB 1998b.

Youth earnings are linked to educational attainment, with more educated people earning higher wages. Higher education, which has been inaccessible to poor people in the past, has reinforced income gaps in the country. A large disparity exists between male and female earnings. In 1992, males on average earned 35 per cent more income than did females. This percentage declined to 22 per cent in the rainy season, May to September, of 1998. The economic crisis contributed to a reduction in the male to female earning disparity by 5.5 per cent in the third quarter of 1998, as a large proportion of women work as unpaid family workers in the family sector that has been least affected by the economic crisis. These earning disparities arise from various causes. As mentioned above, many women work as unpaid family workers while men do not. Also, gender discrimination still exists in the informal labour market where females earn less than males for work of the same value. Finally, in the formal sector, females work, on average, fewer hours than their male counterparts.
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(c) Unionization
Unions and employees’ associations were established in Thailand after the promulgation of the Labour Relations Act of 1975 to protect the welfare of employees, including youth workers, as well as to improve working conditions in both private and state enterprises. In 1999, there were 1,041 labour unions, 18 organizations of labour federations, 8 organizations of employee councils and 44 labour unions of state enterprises in the country. Data on youth membership in labour unions are unavailable and thus, it is unknown whether youth workers’ specific needs are addressed by unions. 3. Unemployed youth

Thailand experienced an overall unemployment rate of 5.2 per cent in 1998. The female unemployment rate was 5.5 per cent, while the male unemployment rate was 5.0 per cent. The number of unemployed people rose from 0.43 million in 1997 to 1.69 million in 1998. Rural areas experienced higher unemployment rates than urban areas for all levels of educational attainment. Unemployment rates were highest among people aged 31 to 49 years, although youth aged 15 to 24 years were also badly affected. Prior to the economic crisis, youth unemployment rates were higher for females than males. Following the crisis, however, the trend was reversed, with males experiencing a higher rate of unemployment than female youth (ONESDB 1998b) (see Table 4-4).
Table 4-4: Unemployment rates by age and sex, whole country in 1998
Sex and age group
Total 13-60 years and over Male (13-60 years and over) 15-19 years 20-24 years Female (13-60 years and over) 15-19 years 20-24 years
Source: NSO 1998.
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Whole country Total
5.2 5.0 16.1 11.9 5.5 11.7 9.5

Urban
4.3 4.2 12.3 8.9 4.5 6.7 9.5

Rural
5.5 5.2 16.8 12.5 5.8 12.9 9.5

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The significant increase in unemployment in 1998 resulted from a shrinkage of the labour market, particularly in sectors which employed unskilled labour (ONESDB 1998b). The economic crisis has affected almost all sectors of the economy. Youth from all socio-economic and demographic groups have suffered. Unemployment has increased among youth graduating from higher education as well as those with lower levels of education. A study entitled “Impact of the Recent Economic Crisis on Youth Employment” (TDRI 1999) indicated, however, that the crisis has had the most severe impact on people with low education. As the highest concentration of youth are employed in the agricultural sector, both female and male youth should be trained in off-farm activities, such as the processing of agricultural products to improve productivity. Raising the quality of labour through on-the-job training, and informal and formal courses could also contribute to labour productivity and employment growth. This would assist youth, particularly in the 13 to 18 year age group, who have suffered the most in terms of real income as a result of the economic crisis. The informal sector can often absorb workers at lower wages than the formal sector. Earnings in the informal sector were also drastically reduced, however, due to the drop in real incomes throughout the country. Poor people have been unable to access higher education provided by the government in the past for financial reasons. This has limited skills development among lower income groups that has perpetuated existing income disparities. Thus, unskilled youth from lower income backgrounds could not improve their productivity nor their quality of life. Moreover, neither governmental nor private social security systems cover youth employed in the informal sector, such as agricultural workers, self-employed contract workers and unpaid family workers. C. CHALLENGES FOR EMPLOYMENT POLICY

Success in the area of youth employment and youth worker protection requires the continued implementation of relevant employment policies, such as the Occupational Promotion Training Act of 1993 and the Labour Protection Act of 1998. The implementation should be carried out by the MOLSW with the support of other concerned ministries.
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Youth employment has been limited by the formal education system, which has been skewed in favour of the higher socio-economic groups. Employment skills required by poor people have been underemphasized in the education system. As the majority of youth are employed in the agricultural sector and in the private production process, government skills training programmes for youth should place greater emphasis on management and entrepreneurial skills. The government’s pre-work training programmes targeted at out-of-school youth working in the unskilled sectors should also be expanded in order to provide them with an equal opportunity to improve their skills and to compete with in-school youth for good jobs. These programmes will also assist in filling the demand for workers in specific sectors. In the area of child labour, government efforts need to be continuously enforced, as unregistered workplaces still employ workers aged below 15 years. The government’s exposure of abusive and exploitative conditions of child labour to rural communities is an effective preventative strategy, which should be complemented by safety net programmes at the village level. These could include career development information for young people to protect them from exploitation should they have to work (NYB 1999a). The implementation of Thailand’s new labour and education legislation is a challenging task, but there are large gains to be made in terms of a more equitable society, as well as sustained economic growth in the future. Youth receive low wages although they work very hard. Some are exploited by employers who put pep pills in their drinking water to make them work more. Youth should be provided with knowledge on workers’ rights. The Government should enforce strict inspection of work places in order to protect youth workers from exploitation. (19-year-old female graduate of Grade 9 Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand) in non-formal education,

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Youth Participation

V

Youth should have more opportunities to participate in media management. Modern media sell pictures more than content and youth have no choice but to absorb what is presented by producers. Youth should be able to participate in making comments and recommendations to help to improve the media. They should also be given the opportunities to produce and disseminate their own programmes. Adults must be aware of the potential of youth. Opportunities for youth to participate must be provided. Youth themselves must in turn express their views and demonstrate their ability in order to gain recognition and support from the general public. (22-year-old male member of Mai Keed Fai (Matches) Youth Group, Bangkok, Thailand) A. OVERVIEW

Thailand adopted a democratic governing system with the introduction of the constitutional monarchy in 1932. The country’s political and social structures, however, were influenced by successive military regimes until the early 1990s. The occasions in which civil society successfully challenged the State were short-lived, most notably the student-led revolution of 1973, which brought in a democratic government to Thailand for a three-year period. Channels for people’s participation, including youth participation in socio-political life, were not institutionalized and accepted until the 1990s.
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Youth participation has been spurred on by efforts to encourage public participation of society as a whole. Recent events, such as the drafting of the 1997 Constitution, included people’s participation for the first time in Thai history. Public hearings on the draft constitution were held in every province of the country, supported by mass media campaigns. Eleven main networks of NGOs and 28 democratic organizations, including youth organizations, were involved in the preparation of the Recommendations on the New Constitution. This document formed a critical input for the Constitutional Drafting Assembly (UNDP 1999b). Processes such as this one have paved the way for increased youth participation in Thai society. B. YOUTH ORGANIZATIONS

More than 10,000 children and youth groups exist in Thailand, with some 4.5 million members. Fifteen youth groups are listed in Appendix IV-I, along with the objectives and activities of the organizations. Most Thai youth groups are rural-based and have been formed and continue to be supported by governmental or non-governmental organizations. Large national groups with sub-groups extending to the village level, such as the Young Farmers Groups and the Village Children and Youth Groups, were established by governmental agencies such as the Department of Agricultural Extension, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and the Community Development Department, Ministry of Interior. Smaller children and youth groups in the rural areas have received the support of local NGOs. Again these groups rely on adults for guidance and support. A village–level children and youth group committee is lacking, and should also be established to consolidate children and youth development programmes and to link GO and NGO supported children and youth groups. Urban-based children and youth groups consist of school student groups, university student groups, groups established by GOs, independent youth groups, and informal groups who use the services provided by children and youth centres. Most of the school groups teachers and the approval of trators should enable students that they can truly participate
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have been established with the guidance of school administrators. Teachers and administo manage their own groups and activities so and develop leadership skills.

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The largest urban–based youth groups are university student groups. Each university has a student council, as well as several student clubs that organize activities in the areas of sports and culture, and community and democratic development. Some of the groups receive financial support from the government through the University Bureau while others receive funds from NGOs and the business sector. University student councils represent the voice of the students with the university management. Thai student councils have also been active in increasing political awareness among students, campaigning to reform the political system, and contributing to national policy-making. Student councils have been an important building block for the democratic movement in Thailand. The student movements of 14 October 1973 and 6 October 1976 were led by university student councils. The university students tried to introduce reforms in the education and social systems. They also participated in all political events to increase government transparency and responsibility toward the people. Some governmental organizations, such as the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and the Police Department, have been active in supporting the establishment of children and youth groups in urban areas. The BMA trains 300 young volunteers annually and helps to finance social development activities in the Bangkok area. The Police Department’s Youth Relations Programme has provided training, organized camps and supported the setting up of urban children and youth groups for over 10 years. Independent youth groups originate from varying backgrounds. One such group, the Thai Youth Group for the Cause of Youth, is made up of school and university students from more than 20 institutions in Bangkok. The group’s activities focus predominantly on environmental issues. Another group, the Young Volunteer Training Group, consists of students from various universities who come together to conduct leadership training and social development activities. Lastly, the Mirror Art Group and the Grandfather and Grandmother Group were formed by youth leaders who work in the areas of culture and arts. Children who live in urban areas and who use the services of children and youth centres are loosely organized through their activities at the centres, such as sports, recreational programmes and cultural events. Members of these informal groups seldom initiate or implement their own activities.
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Children and youth groups in Thailand are active in self-development and social causes. All of the groups, however, face problems, such as insufficient and irregular funding; inadequate and inappropriate support from adults and authorities; limited freedom to initiate and implement their own programmes; and difficulties in sustaining their groups and activities once group leaders and members leave the group. C. VOICE OF YOUTH

Since the 1990s, seminars, meetings and workshops have been organized by GOs and NGOs in order to provide children and youth with the opportunity to voice their ideas and experiences. Grants have also been provided to youth leaders and youth groups to conduct activities and implement projects for self-enhancement and social development. At the national level, the first National Youth Platform was convened in 1998 to enable youth catalysts, leaders and representatives to share ideas and concerns and to consider future actions. In preparation for the national meeting, platforms were organized by youth at the local, provincial and regional levels. 1. First National Youth Platform

Approximately 600 youth leaders, catalysts and representatives from all regions of the country participated in the First National Youth Platform, held on 26 September 1998 at Vajiravudh College in Bangkok. At the workshop, Thai youth identified eight major concerns: youth and drugs; youth and the environment; youth and national policies and politics; youth and the economy; culture and youth development; media and youth development; youth and AIDS; and youth and education.

(a) Youth and drugs
Participating youth attributed the drug problem to family disintegration, negative environments and the desire to try new experiences. Participating youth also stressed the difficulty in preventing and eliminating the drug problem due to ineffective law enforcement and insufficient penalities imposed for drug offences. Closer coordination between youth, teachers and parents; more productive use of free time; self-enhancement programmes; stricter law enforcement and more effective rehabilitation
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programmes were recommended by participating youth. Mass media were also identified as an important tool to promote public awareness and participation.

(b) Youth and the environment
Youth identified the need for good role models and mentors in the area of the environment. They also emphasized the significance of local wisdom and community participation in the development of environmental teaching and learning. The youth recommended that the mass media should become more active in promoting environmental issues in order to create genuine understanding and the desire to solve environmental problems by the general public, including youth.

(c) Youth and national policies and politics
Youth identified such problems as the lack of political participation by youth; abuse of political power; inappropriate governance, including nepotism; non-transparency; the privilege system; absolute management; and ineffective and distorted information dissemination on political issues as contributing factors to problems in national policy and politics. Participating youth suggested the need for better service provision and that a collective youth report outlining problems and recommendations be submitted to government. Most importantly, the participating youth recommended that a national youth council be established by and for youth.

(d) Youth and the economy
Youth were the group most affected by the economic crisis in terms of wage cuts. Participating youth saw the economic crisis as the manifestation of excessive consumerism; unstable and unsound economic policies; and too much of a focus on exporting and importing, rather than domestic activity. The youth participants recommended a return to national and local wisdom and traditions, especially the revival of the agricultural sector.

(e) Cultural and youth development
Youth stressed the importance of cultural integration and preservation of natural and cultural heritage. Suggestions were made to raise cultural awareness among children and youth, and to promote relationships and understanding between different generations.
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(f) Media and youth development
Youth felt inundated by information. However they felt that much of it was unwanted. They expressed the desire to gain access to useful information which was appropriate for their age group and locality.

(g) Youth and AIDS
Youth felt overwhelmed by the severity of the AIDS problem. They saw exposure to sex-related media and pornography, inappropriate sexual behaviour, changing values, and widespread drug use, as factors which contributed to the AIDS problem. They also highlighted that the general public was inadequately informed about HIV/AIDS and that they had negative attitudes toward people living with HIV/AIDS. Youth agreed there was a need for urgent remedial action, such as suitable sex education, the promotion of positive attitudes with regard to people living with HIV/ AIDS, as well as their social integration.

(h) Youth and education
Participating youth felt that there were insufficient educational opportunities available for youth. They expressed concern that the education system was inadequate with regards to the general environment; equipment and materials; and teaching capacity and quality. They expressed concern that the current Thai educational system failed to promote national and local traditions, which resulted in youth forgetting their heritage. They urged youth participation in developing educational curricula. 2. Second National Youth Platform

More than 1,000 youth leaders, catalysts and representatives from 124 youth groups from all regions of the country gathered in Bangkok from 26 to 28 November 1999 for the Second National Youth Platform. The three days were spent discussing issues of mutual interest and concern, as well as sharing ideas and experiences in social development work. There was a realization that all problems, whether economic, social, cultural, educational, or political, had a great impact upon them. Five issues were identified as those most significant. They were recorded in a letter of consensus that was disseminated to the public at the closure of the event. The five issues are briefly discussed below.
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(a) Social problems
Youth found that social problems are accelerating in both scope and severity. Youth cited AIDS as a serious risk to themselves, due to their lack of genuine understanding of the issue. They felt the pressure of drugs and were concerned that family members and friends could fall victim to drugs at any time. Sexual abuse by family members and friends was another concern identified by youth. Lack of knowledge about individual rights and gender inequality were identified as issues of particular concern. The lack of nationality rights for children and youth born in Thailand from non-Thai parents, such as ethnic minorities, was raised as an issue of concern, as these children and youth would not be entitled to education and other basic human rights.

(b) Community disintegration
Youth expressed concern that as a result of the government’s policy to promote industrial development, local traditions and community ties were being destroyed. Modern cultures were being thrust upon youth via the media which made it difficult for them to preserve community ties and preserve local traditions and heritage.

(c) Environmental problems
Pollution and degradation of urban areas due to industrial expansion were identified as issues of concern to youth. They believed that the destruction of natural resources by irresponsible and greedy adults would greatly impact future generations.

(d) Educational problems
It was collectively agreed that educational equality had not yet been realized. Children and youth in remote areas, including ethnic minorities, have had very little access to education. High competitiveness has been apparent in urban areas and children and youth in big cities have suffered from the pressures associated with competition.
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(e) Career development and self-reliance
Youth saw inadequate and inefficient budget allocations for youth career development, as well as the lack of funds for youth self-employment schemes, as problems. They also felt pressure as a result of their parents’ heavy debts. At the conclusion of the forum, the participating youth unanimously endorsed the following recommendations: • The government should provide youth with the opportunity to participate in committees at all levels which are responsible for policies related to and with direct impact on children and youth; The government should promote and support problem-solving activities carried out by children and youth by providing financial and technical assistance to them; and The government should endorse and support the establishment of a National Youth Council through the enactment of a law drafted by youth representatives.

While it is too early to ascertain the impact of the National Youth Platforms, follow-up activities will hopefully be initiated in response to the issues highlighted by youth during these events. D. 1. POLITICAL PARTICIPATION Voting

The voting age was reduced from 20 to 18 years in the 1991 Constitution. Voting qualifications for the House of Representatives, the Senate and local administrative organizations include holding Thai nationality or Thai citizenship for no less than five years; being inscribed on the house register in the constituency for no less than 90 days prior to the election; and being not less the 18 years of age on 1 January of the year of the election. Voter data disaggregated by age are not available, so data on youth voting patterns are unavailable. For all age groups, voter turn-out fluctuated in the last three general elections from 63.6 per cent to 61.6 per cent to 63.2 per cent in 1988, 1992 and 1996 respectively. Regionally, the central region consistently had the lowest voter turn out rate, while the north-east had, on average, the highest.
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In 1996, voter data were disaggregated by sex and by region for the first time. Female voter turn-out rates were higher than males in all regions except the south, where one per cent more eligible men cast their ballots than women. At the local level, elections were held in 1995 for the first time for the Sub-district Administrative Organization. In that year, 10 per cent of all sub-districts held elections, followed by 30 per cent of the sub-districts in each consecutive year. By 1998, Sub-district Administrative Organizations were in place in all sub-districts, each serving four-year terms. The voter turn-out rate increased substantially among the sub-districts which held elections in 1995 and then again in 1999. In 1995, the rate was 51.0 per cent. In 1999, 62.1 per cent of eligible voters voted. By region, the north-east and the south had the highest voter turn-out and the north and the central, the lowest. The female voter turn-out rate was higher than the male rate in all regions, with an average of 63.3 per cent for females, as compared to 60.8 per cent for males. 2. Political representation

Youth aged 18 years and above are eligible to stand for election if they were born Thai citizens. As of the year 2000, there has never been a Member of Parliament in Thailand aged below 25 years. 3. Political parties Youth are eligible to establish political parties. Section 8 of the Law on Political Parties stipulates that a person holding Thai nationality at birth; being not less than 20 years of age; and having gathered at least 15 party members can establish a political party. Membership in a political party is open to all Thai citizens at birth who are no less than 18 years of age under Section 21 of the same law. 4. Government programmes aimed at increasing political awareness District youth centres have been established at the local level throughout the country with the purpose of uniting youth and encouraging them to use their free time to develop their locality and themselves. The government
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has also designed public relations campaigns aimed at increasing political awareness among youth group leaders, who, it is hoped, will in turn spread the message to other youth. Several country-wide public relations campaigns aimed at the Thai general population, and youth in particular, included: • • • • • Campaigns and public relations concerning the Constitution of 1997 and the new election system by young volunteers; Democratic activities (both formal and informal) for youth at the local level; Training and awareness for students and voters throughout the country; Awareness for youth and the general population concerning election procedures and participation by the media; and Agencies for youth to participate in auditing election results.

These programmes have been designed to increase political awareness and concern; increase formal and informal political participation; and heighten youth participation in political procedures to develop further a stable democracy in the future. E. THE MEDIA No data are available outlining the number of television shows, magazines, radio programmes, and comics that specifically target youth. However, there are several issues concerning youth and the media that should be noted. At present, the mass media has an enormous influence on Thai people, particularly its youth. The results from a children and youth survey conducted in 1997 by the National Statistical Office showed that 87.5 per cent of children and youth between 6 to 24 years of age watch television and videos. It found that for those youth between 15 to 24 years of age, almost all listened to the radio, stereo, and read materials other than newspapers. Although mass media can have positive effects upon youth, it also has the potential to have negative effects. Mass media can present sexual issues in wrong ways, may promote violence, and proliferate the decline of traditional Thai values and present material inappropriate for the age/maturity of the youth.
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There is very little evidence to indicate that youth are involved in the development and programming of media in Thailand. Content and programming decisions are largely determined by adults. One way to increase the appropriateness of information presented in the media for youth is to involve them in the process. Similar to the issues discussed above concerning mass media, advertising can have both positive and negative effects on youth. Once again, it is recommended that youth become more involved in developing advertising campaigns to ensure that the goods and services being advertised are presented in a manner which is appropriate to the age and location of the youth being targeted. F. CHALLENGES FOR YOUTH PARTICIPATION

In the process of democratization, youth participation has increased in Thailand in recent years. The designation of the National Youth Bureau as the agency responsible for many main areas of youth administration was significant, providing a focal government agency to coordinate activities concerned with increasing youth participation. While a network of youth groups exists, coordination among such groups, in the way of networks, needs to be strengthened. More efforts to promote youth managed groups are needed. Thai youth have gradually been given more opportunities to become involved in different areas of decision making. There are still, however, many areas where levels of participation can be increased and improved. The lack of data available on participation in the formal political arena by way of political registration and voting makes it difficult to assess youth involvement in the formal political arena. The recommendations which emerged from consultations with youth demonstrate nonetheless that Thai youth have a valuable contribution to make to the direction of the political agenda. There is also a need to increase youth participation in media and advertising programming. Only once youth participation in all aspects of civil society has been increased, will political platforms and the media effectively reach the youth target and effectively represent their needs. Informed youth participation, aimed at effective intervention in the policy process so as to influence decision making and implementation, requires full
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information sharing. It also calls for careful training in the forms and methods of participation. Government agencies and NGOs should make special efforts to create these opportunities, for rural youth in particular. Youth should participate in planning and policy formulation meetings, especially on issues with a social impact. They should not only sit as observers in meetings such as UNCTAD, but they should be allowed to express their views in meetings, particularly on issues related to youth development. At present, youth have formed groups and they have worked effectively and successfully on social development issues. They have the ability to communicate at the international level, but they are deprived of the chance to express themselves. Adult organizations tell them to wait. Adults must have faith in youth potential and allow them to demonstrate their strengths. (21-year-old male university student, member of Environment Group, Bangkok, Thailand)
Table 1: Table 1-1:
Name
Prevention of AIDS by Teenagers Group in Chiang Mai Province

of

Young

Ambassadors

Youth groups

Health youth groups
Activities
• Information dissemination/ campaign on AIDS issue • Training in prevention of AIDS • Provision of assistance to HIV/AIDS patients • Development of youth catalysts for the prevention of AIDS • Information dissemination /campaign • Exchange camps/seminars/ workshops • Productive and creative development training

Objectives
• To raise awareness among youth about AIDS issues • To create a positive attitude toward HIV/AIDS patients • To promote youth participation in solutions to AIDS problem • To advocate for reproductive health, family planning and AIDS prevention among youth • To exchange information and experiences with other youth groups • To promote productive use of free time among youth

Youth Volunteer Leaders for Social Causes Group in Bangkok

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Table 1-2:
Name

Employment youth groups
Objectives Activities

Network of Northern • To support activities of • Social development Young Farmers with Northern Farmers Network activities centre in Chiang Mai • To enhance youth capacity • Arts/cultural and tradiProvince • To learn how to manage tional activities community resources • Leadership and potential development training

Table 1-3:
Name

Participation youth groups
Objectives Activities
• Nature Camps • Newsletter • Community work around Chamao Mountain area • Other social services

Khao Chamao Preser- • To create youth’s awarevation Group in ness in natural resources Rayong Province and living with nature • To help reduce pollution in Chamao Mountain area • To be the centre of Khao Chamao preservation promotion Grandpa and • To mobilize resources Grandma Group in for the preservation of Phetchaburi Province culture and environment, emphasizing the role of youth

• Dissemination of information through puppet shows • Phetchaburi River Preservation Project with funds for youth activities • Siam Bay Preservation Project • Network of Children Protecting Local Heritage • Cultural performance training • Local music preservation and promotion

Arranyawas Group in Nan Province

• To preserve and transcend local tradition • To promote productive use of free time among youth • To build capacity of youth

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Name

Objectives

Activities
• Leadership and selfreliance training • Career development programs • Youth social participation campaign • Provincial/regional youth platforms • Training in singing and performance of local songs

North-eastern Youth • To build capacity of Network with centre north-eastern youth in Buri Ram Province • To promote youth role in social causes • To pressure for the establishment of National Youth Council

Local Songs Preserva- • To preserve and transcend tion Group in Suphan local songs of Suphan Buri Province Buri • To create youth awareness in Thai culture and arts • To promote productive use of free time among students Forest Preservation Group in Saraburi Province • To promote and support youth activities for community and society • To create awareness, love and understanding of local heritage among youth • To promote environmental study in local communities

• Training in community and social development work • Information collection and dissemination on environmental aspects of Khao Yai National Park • Promotion of youth community development activities • Information dissemination/ campaign on the issues • Provision of assistance for youth activities • Training on participation in community activities

Youth Group for the • To promote youth partiProtection of Pattani cipation in the protection Bay in Pattani and resource revival of Province Pattani Bay • To create knowledge, awareness and understanding of the role of youth towards community and society • To encourage youth to participate in community and social activities

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Name
Youth Group for Development Work (Mai Keed Fai – Matches) in Bangkok

Objectives
• To promote youth participation in social causes

Activities
• Workshops/activities to widen youth’s perspective • Production of creative media for child and youth development • Encouragement and technical support for youth social participation • Exchange of ideas and experiences among youth on related issues • Provision of assistance to youth national resource preservation activities • Promotion of child rights and hilltribe nationality right • Life skills training for hilltribe youth • Career promotion for community as a tool to eliminate drug problem • Promotion of local music, living condition and traditions • Theatre arts training for youth groups • Social – oriented plays • Environmental activities • Campaign at national level

Young Protectors of Nature Group in Ubolratchathani Province

• To promote youth’s awareness of their role in solving local environmental problems

Mirror Arts Group in • To promote educational Chiang Rai Province development and community development of highlanders

Grassroots Micro Media Group in Bangkok Committee for National Resource and Environmental Preservation of 16 Universities based in Bangkok

• To promote the use of theatre arts in development work • To coordinate environ mental preservation groups in universities • To pressure for policy changes

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114

Future Directions for Youth Development

VI

A.

CONCLUSION

In 2000, the National Youth Commission will issue a new national youth policy in line with the Constitution of 1997. In the formulation process, public hearings have been held to enable youth in both rural and urban areas to voice their own concerns. This study forms part of the research on youth issues that will feed into the policy process. The study identified four major areas of concern for youth: education, health, employment, and participation. Significant improvements have been made in formal education in Thailand. In addition, non-formal education programmes have been successful in targeting youth. The National Education Act in 1999 was a major achievement in improving the access to, and quality of, education. The planned extension of compulsory education to Grade 12 also has the potential to contribute to achieving education for all, if combined with schemes to encourage families and communities to support youth education and subsidize poor families financially. There are a number of challenges that still remain. Access to secondary and tertiary education is still limited in Thailand. The net secondary enrolment rate was 47.6 per cent in 1997 and less than 1 per cent of adults were enrolled in tertiary education. Although significant improvements have been made, enrolment rates at all levels of education are still higher in urban areas than in rural areas, due to regional inequalities in educational services and resources, as well as in income.
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Greater coordination is needed between the education and employment sectors to ensure that graduates meet the demand for labour in an increasingly competitive international environment. Within secondary education, the majority of students (61.7 per cent) are still enrolled in the general stream, while those in the vocational stream make up only 38.3 per cent. Thus it remains a challenge to provide appropriate and relevant skills to young people. Quality of education is another key issue for youth in Thailand. National assessment tests indicate that the quality of education in the south and the north-east is still low as compared to that of Bangkok. Many teachers lack proper qualifications and most have never received training in participatory methods of instruction. Learning by memorization has been the norm in Thailand. However, it is crucial that young people learn more analytical skills to prepare them for the future. In the health sector, Thailand has made significant progress in improving the health and well-being of its population, including youth. Infant, child and maternal mortality have all been halved in the past decade. Access to safe water and sanitation has been attained in both rural and urban areas. The shift in the Eighth National Health Development Plan to focus on primary health care and preventative health measures will be a further important step towards this progress. Progress is still needed in lowering inequalities between rural and urban areas in access to health care services. Unfortunately, most health data are not disaggregated by age. However, the youth health data which have been collected in certain areas, indicate that youth need to be considered as a target group in health policy, as youth health issues differ substantially from adult health issues. In particular, qualitative research indicates that youth need to be provided with more information on sexual and reproductive health. Prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and drug abuse is critical as young people are increasingly vulnerable to these health risks. The fact that youth prefer to seek treatment at pharmacies rather then at clinics is a strong indicator that many youth do not feel comfortable interacting with health care professionals, or feel that they cannot afford to do so. A youth health policy is crucial in order to signify commitment and formulate an action plan to prevent high-risk behaviour among youth. Such behaviour includes engaging in unsafe sex and substance abuse such as drugs, cigarettes and alcohol. It is crucial that education includes components to inform and prevent youth from engaging in such risky behaviour.
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In employment, young workers, child labour. preventing and economic crisis.

the Labour Protection Act of 1998 safeguards the rights of including young women workers, as well as prohibiting In addition, the government has shown commitment to alleviating unemployment, particularly since the recent These initiatives have often focused on youth.

In addition to this protection, however, skill development programmes are required for out-of-school youth in particular. There is a need for programmes to focus on the areas of entrepreneurial development and management in order to improve income opportunities, as most youth work in the agricultural sector. Young people who are employed in industry require pre-work training in order to prepare them for the jobs that are necessary for the market. It is crucial that young people play an active role in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes, and that their participation is mainstreamed throughout all sectors. While Thai youth have increasingly been given a voice, there is a need to further youth participation to ensure that their needs are fully represented and met. Data on youth participation in politics is unavailable. Thus, it is difficult to assess their involvement in the political process. We can say, though, that youth have played important roles at pivotal periods in Thailand’s history, including the student overthrow of the military dictatorship in October 1973 and the uprising to restore democracy in May 1992. However, youth organizations continue to be predominantly led and managed by adults in both the governmental and non-governmental sectors. B. POLICY GUIDELINES: A SUMMARY

With the forthcoming new national youth policy, the government has been taking measures to ensure its effective implementation, as well as the participation of young people in the policy process. A national youth policy is a mandating document for the development of specific programmes and plans for meeting the needs and aspirations of youth. It is a statement of society’s commitment to youth. As such, the entire policy process must reflect the needs of young people. The only way to ensure this is to involve youth at every stage of the youth policy formulation and action plan implementation processes.
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Policy-making is not a one-time exercise; thus it is necessary for a policy process to be put in place and goals and objectives set. The process begins with a review of existing policies, programmes and projects that directly or indirectly affect the lives of youth. This analysis should take into consideration the many government agencies dealing with youth to assess if duplication or redundancy exists. A detailed action plan for the implementation of the objectives of the youth policy should follow. The policy process consists of several other elements, such as problem and resource identification, resource mobilization and programme/project coordination. Problem identification, which includes needs identification, helps ensure that the action plan has realistic goals and objectives. Correct knowledge of the situation is crucial for determining and ranking the concerns that must be addressed. Developing realistic action plans means taking into account the availability and limitations of resources. Financial resources are crucial, but other resources, such as administrative capability, motivational commitment of various actors, and capacity for the management of social, cultural, political and environmental factors must also be built into the plans. When the plans are realistic, the progress of their implementation can be properly monitored. One of the crucial elements for the formulation and implementation of youth policy and action plans is coordination. An effective policy and its efficient implementation call for coordination within the various levels of a single ministry, and between ministries, departments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. This is best accomplished through an effective national coordinating mechanism. Once the youth policy has been formulated, and accompanying action plans and coordinating mechanisms set, the focus must be on implementation. Appropriate, relevant, and targeted programmes and projects are the key to successful realization of the policy’s goals and objectives. Major bottlenecks in implementation often arise from inadequate cooperation between line ministries and their departments on the one hand, and the key resource ministries, such as planning and finance, on the other. It is thus crucial that the agency in overall charge of youth affairs be given the authority to oversee the implementation of youth activities, in order to avoid duplication of efforts and to ensure effective programmes and projects.
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Full implementation of an action plan, derived from the goals and objectives delineated in the youth policy will depend critically on building adequate human resource capability for efficient management at every level. Full understanding of the intended objectives and impact of the youth policy, by those implementing the programmes, is also a major prerequisite. Another important element of success is the flexibility of plans, programmes and personnel to meet the challenges presented by rapidly changing contexts. Monitoring of the implementation of youth programmes, both government and non-governmental, is thus required on a continual basis. Sufficient resources must be set aside for the monitoring and evaluation processes. The National Youth Bureau can perform these many functions only if it has the adequate resources, both financial and human. Effective coordination among the many actors involved in youth policy formulation and programme/project implementation, through regular monitoring of activities, will require sufficient devolution of authority to the National Youth Bureau. In turn, the Bureau must use such resources prudently through a systematic analysis of the current situation and changing needs. It must provide a realistic assessment of existing, available and potential resources and generate new viable options, so as to remove bottlenecks and accelerate implementation. It must be able to help agencies harmonize diverse activities by pointing to the overlaps, duplications and redundancies in the programmes. A crucial task for the National Youth Bureau will be to ensure that agencies and ministries do not treat youth-specific programmes as just an ‘add on’ to their other priority programmes. To ensure such mainstreaming of youth-specific programmes, the Bureau should make inputs into the formulation and implementation of policies and plans of various departments and agencies for such related areas as gender equality, poverty alleviation, or securing the rights of young people in need of special protection. In this way, competition for resources can be turned into cooperation, such that the quality of outcomes is enhanced for all concerned. As the coordinating mechanism, the National Youth Bureau will be called upon to ensure that an appropriate balance between central coordination, local priority-setting and decentralized implementation is maintained. The Bureau has several other functions, such as advocacy, ensuring coverage,
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managing decentralization, identifying lead agencies, resource mobilization and enhancing legitimacy and support for plans and programmes. These are discussed in detail in the original policy guidelines (Lele, Wright and Kobayashi forthcoming). The recommendations about the policy process, discussed above, constitute some general but central considerations for successful implementation. Specific recommendations arising from those principles are outlined below. C. 1. RECOMMENDATIONS National Youth Policy

(a) Recommendation
The formulation, implementation and evaluation processes of the National Youth Policy need to be strengthened to ensure that youth both participate in, and benefit from, youth development strategies. Justification Thailand has had a youth policy since 1973 and a long-term development plan for youth since 1982, yet young people have only begun to be consulted in a systematic way in the formulation of the forthcoming Fifth National Youth Policy and Ten-year Development Plan. The monitoring and evaluation of the successive youth policies and plans has to date been weak. Further research is needed on issues that have a significant impact on youth, as youth data is still scarce. Implementation The National Youth Bureau should continue its efforts to involve youth in the policy formulation process. Capacity-building training in the areas of monitoring and evaluation skills is needed for NYB staff so that they can effectively achieve the youth development targets in the forthcoming national youth policy and plan. The NYB should coordinate with relevant agencies to conduct youth specific research and data collection on topics relevant to youth. In order to recognize the heterogeneity of youth, accurate statistics and information is needed for different groups of youth, such as young women and rural youth.
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(b)

Recommendation

The Subcommittees at the local level within the structure of the National Youth Commission require strengthening. Justification Subcommittees are currently in place from the provincial to the local levels in Thailand as advisory bodies on youth issues. These bodies are locally based and could therefore play in important role in the identification of youth concerns in their localities and in relaying those concerns to the National Youth Bureau. The potential of these local bodies has yet to be fully realized. Implementation The National Youth Bureau should coordinate with concerned agencies to strengthen the participatory research capabilities of local administrative bodies. Local-level participation should be increased to ensure that local issues are taken up at the national level.

(c) Recommendation
Coordination between GOs working on youth issues, and between GOs and NGOs needs to be strengthened. Justification Youth issues are cross cutting and the effectiveness of programmes in one sector is dependent of the success of other sectors. This study has shown clear links between areas such as education and employment, education and health, as well as participation and health. GOs and NGOs have different strengths and they could benefit from greater cooperation. GOs often lack innovative programmes, due to the scale of their outreach and NGOs while creative, often have small target groups and few resources. Concerted efforts between the two could lead to effective results. Implementation The National Youth Bureau should continue its efforts to coordinate among various agencies working on youth issues, and the participating ministries and NGOs should develop the political will to work together.
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The National Youth Bureau should also help ensure that NGOs receive formal recognition by the government of their role and contribution in the area of youth development. To ensure coverage of service provision to all youth in the country, including marginalized young people, the NYB should encourage NGOs and GOs to undertake complementary activities. 2. Education

(a) Recommendation
Youth belonging to marginalized groups and those living in remote areas should continue to be targeted in education at all levels. Justification Primary education was almost universal at 88 per cent in 1997 in Thailand. The exceptions were among poor and marginalized groups and those living in remote areas, where access to schools is still limited. National Assessment Test results highlight the marked disparities that still exist among regions, demonstrating that there is not equitable access to educational opportunities within the country. Implementation The Ministry of Education and NGOs should continue to provide opportunities for youth who have limited access to schooling, through scholarships and the development of services. Importance should be given to non-formal education, as this is more accessible, and provides an opportunity for young people to combine work and study.

(b) Recommendation
Efforts to promote secondary school enrolment by increasing compulsory education to Grade 12 will be more successful if efforts are made to minimize the impact of loss of income on poor families. Justification The net secondary school enrolment rate was 55.1 per cent at the lower secondary level and 24 per cent at the upper secondary level in 1997. Costs other than tuition currently make up the majority of education costs
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for students. As the financial burden was identified as the major cause of discontinuing studies, efforts such as a lunch box programme must be introduced to assist poor families, if compulsory education is to be successful. Implementation The Ministry of Education should conduct an assessment of how to best address the financial issues of poor families with secondary school aged youth. Resources should be used to assist families who cannot meet the costs. In addition, an advocacy campaign should be undertaken to raise awareness of parents about the new policy, as well as the benefits of an increased education.

(c) Recommendation
The education system should ensure that youth are provided with the appropriate and relevant skills necessary to meet the requirements of the job market. Justification The majority of the education budget is currently allocated to the provision of general education. However, a large demand exists in the Thai labour market for highly skilled workers. Private vocational education is often out of the reach of the majority of young people, who require this type of training. Implementation The Ministry of Education should place greater emphasis on vocational education, especially in rural areas, to develop highly skilled labour. Coordination between government education and employment agencies must be promoted to ensure that the needs of the labour market and the forms of education provided complement each other.

(d) Recommendation
The quality of education should be improved along the lines laid out by the National Education Act, especially in rural areas. Skills in critical thinking and analysis, as well as non-academic skills need to be fostered to ensure that youth receive a well-rounded education.
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Justification Insufficient emphasis has been placed on the quality of education and, thus, educational standards are low in Thailand, especially in the north-east and the south. Rote learning has been the predominant method of instruction, resulting in a lack of analytical thinking and problem solving skills among students. This has had a detrimental effect on the labour force, limiting Thailand’s ability to upgrade its workforce in line with the demands of the international economy. The overemphasis on high academic grades has also had a detrimental effect on young people, causing them to worry more about their grade rather than the skills learned. Implementation The Ministry of Education should require minimum qualifications for teachers. Training in participatory teaching approaches is also needed to ensure the delivery of a high quality education. Qualifications for tertiary education and for employment should emphasize areas other than the entrance exam and high grades, to recognize the importance of non-academic interests. 3. Health

(a) Recommendation
A youth health policy should be developed to address the health concerns that are specific to youth. The policy should target male and female youth separately, young and older youth, and rural and urban youth. Justification No youth health policy currently exists in Thailand. Youth health data are scarce, but existing data show that youth health concerns are distinct from adult and children’s concerns and therefore deserve special attention. This study shows that the leading cause of death among male youth is accidents, while for female youth it is reproductive health related. Problems such as substance abuse and HIV/AIDS infection are also particularly acute among youth and require targeted programmes for sub-groups of youth. Implementation The National Youth Bureau should coordinate with the Ministry of Public Health and the National Statistical Office to collect youth health data and to formulate youth health policy in the future. Coordination with the
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Ministry of Education, as well as other relevant government and nongovernmental organizations will be necessary to ensure an integrated youth health policy and action plan.

(b) Recommendation
The quality of health services needs to be upgraded, particularly in rural areas, and youth-friendly and confidential services need to be introduced. Justification Thailand has an impressive network of health services throughout the country, but the quality of these services is not uniform. High quality health care and private health care is centralized in Bangkok and is primarily accessed by rich people. Furthermore, health care services do not target youth as a separate category of clientele. As youth experience shyness about the various changes their bodies are undergoing, they prefer visiting a pharmacy to treat an illness rather than seeing a doctor. Also, they can maintain anonymity through the purchase of drugs at a pharmacy should the illness be sex-related. This is important, particularly among young women, who are expected to maintain their virginity until marriage. However, it is important that youth visit health clinics for prevention and treatment of heath problems, as the clinics are more likely to ensure qualified personnel and correct diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Youth health clinics are also likely to provide an integrated approach, which can assist young people in numerous concerns at the same time. Implementation The Ministry of Public Health and the private sector should work together to provide high quality health services throughout the country. Government and non-governmental organizations should be involved in concerted efforts to promote youth-friendly services throughout the country. Health and social service personnel should be trained in addressing youth health concerns in an open manner, thus allowing youth to feel comfortable expressing their needs.

(c) Recommendation
Health promotion and prevention should be further emphasized, particularly through the introduction of sex education into the secondary school curricula. Life skills training and knowledge about STDs, including HIV/ AIDS, should be promoted.
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Justification Currently, the majority of the health care budget is spent on curative care, as opposed to preventive care. Among youth, sex education is not currently a formal part of the school curriculum, yet 20 per cent of AIDS patients are youth, and 80 per cent of transmission occurs through sexual intercourse. The rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Thailand is five times higher among males than females, with the exception of the age group 20 to 24 years where the ratio is 1 to 1. Implementation Coordinated efforts are needed between the National Youth Bureau, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Public Health as well as NGOs. Relevant sexual and reproductive health education should be developed and implemented throughout the country, both in formal and non-formal education programmes. These programmes must be targeted at both female and male youth.

(d) Recommendation
Effective strategies to prevent substance abuse should be identified and relevant programmes implemented among all sub-groups of youth. Justification Young people are increasingly at risk of substance abuse. In particular, young men from rural areas are in a high-risk category. Numerous campaigns and programmes have been implemented, but their effectiveness has not been evaluated. Implementation The National Youth Bureau should coordinate with the concerned ministries and NGOs to promote youth participation in the evaluation of existing substance abuse programmes. Youth from different areas and income groups should themselves be involved in the assessment of these programmes. Based on an assessment of the current anti-substance abuse programmes, new strategies should be developed and implemented with the close involvement of young people themselves.
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4.

Employment

(a) Recommendation
The labour law should be enforced to prevent the exploitation of children and youth in the workplace. This enforcement should be carried out in conjunction with safeguards for poor families, such as safety nets at the village level and education of youth about employment rights to protect them against exploitation. Justification Child labour and the exploitation of young workers still exists in Thailand. Many young people are not aware of their rights as employees. Implementation The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare should seek assistance from other concerned ministries, the private sector and NGOs to ensure the effective implementation of the law. The concerned agencies should also provide career development information for young workers to protect them from exploitation.

(b) Recommendation
The public and private sectors should coordinate their efforts to provide skills training programmes and pre-work training for both in-school and outof-school youth in areas that are needed by the economy. Justification The majority of working youth are employed in the agricultural sector, where wages are low and few training opportunities exist. In addition, outof-school youth lack training programmes. The formal education system does not provide adequate vocational training for young people. Implementation The National Youth Bureau should coordinate with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the private sector and NGOs which offer skills training courses to ensure that training leads to employment in the needed areas. Entrepreneurial and management skills training could assist young
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workers in the agricultural sector in establishing their own small businesses. Furthermore, pre-work training programmes should be introduced for out-ofschool youth to prepare them for employment. The formal education system should place an emphasis on vocational training skills in order to ensure successful careers for young people. 5. Participation

(a) Recommendation
Coordination and cooperation between youth groups should be enhanced to minimize the competition for resources and to ensure that efforts are complementary. Justification A network of youth groups currently exists, but coordinated efforts between the various groups in both governmental and non-governmental agencies are still lacking. Implementation The National Youth Bureau should assist in facilitating a planning process for youth groups so that their activities are complementary and that resources can be used in the most effective manner possible.

(b) Recommendation
Youth participation in the management of youth groups should be enhanced. Justification The majority of youth organizations in Thailand are currently managed by adults and only a few, small non-governmental organizations, are youth-led. Implementation The National Youth Bureau should set an example for other youth organizations through the involvement of youth bodies in all of its policy decision-making processes. The Bureau should promote youth leadership of
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youth organizations with an advisory board of adults when deemed necessary. The NYB and other youth groups should provide leadership and management skills training for youth.

(c) Recommendation
Youth data should be collected in the area of voting and other forms of political participation. The data should be disaggregated by sex, gender and by region. Justification No youth data currently exist in the area of participation in formal politics. Without these data, programming in this area is difficult to conduct. It is necessary to assess the situation of youth involvement in politics as well as in civil society campaigns and activities, in order to evaluate youth as active and informed citizens in society. Based on this review, targeted information campaigns and other programmes can be better implemented. Implementation The National Youth Bureau should coordinate with the election commission to collect youth specific data on voting and political participation. In addition, a review of youth involvement in social activism should be undertaken. Upon assessment of these data, the National Youth Bureau and other concerned agencies should develop mechanisms to increase youth involvement.

(d) Recommendation
Youth participation in media and advertising should be enhanced. Justification The media and advertising have an enormous impact on youth. Youth should be encouraged to contribute their ideas to provide positive inputs, using their own age-group specific content, so that the media represents the ideas of young people. Implementation The National Youth Bureau should coordinate with the private sector to promote youth participation in this field.
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