Thai Culture

A close relationship between the community and its schools is highly valued (Pillay, 2002: 31).

A highly-respected Thai senior educator emphasizes that unique aspects of Thai culture, based on Buddhism, can play an important role in the education reform (Atagi, 2002: 61).

There are attempts to promote Thai-ness based on Buddhist philosophies (Atagi, 2002: 61). For example, Sumon Amornvivat emphasizes the role of teachers as "kalyanaamitta" (amicable collaborators) (Sumon, 1999 cited by Atagi, 2002: 62).

Traditional hierarchical practices are obstacles to the education reform (Atagi, 2002: 62).

Although the modernization and professionalization of the government and private sector is breaking down the hierarchical walls, it is a slow and gradual process. The basic concepts underlying decentralization and learning reform run contrary to the traditional hierarchical structure (Atagi, 2002: 62).

The community's traditional lifestyle conflicts with the western underpinning concept of the ;earner-centered teaching style (Harn-Asa, 2002: 4).

Decentralization will require a radical change of attitudes and values for those who are in positions of authority in the current system as well as more than 600,000 personnel in the nation's educational' system (Atagi, 2002: 62).

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