A yearly reminder of utter incompetence

Students sit the annual O-Net exams, which confirm the Thai education system is unable to effectively teach. (File photo by Thanarak Khunton)

Thailand's latest round of national educational assessment, the Ordinary National Educational Test (O-Net), just provided a painful reminder of the country's educational failings, reflecting the incompetence of both the testing system and its authors.

This year's O-Net results, released last month, were as disappointing as ever. Over 380,000 Mathayom 6 (12th grade) students sat the assessments, with the average student failing four of the five exams. The mean scores for mathematics (24%) and English (27%) were shockingly low. Worse, a recent in-depth report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Unesco has strongly criticised the O-Net system and its authors, the National Institute of Educational Testing Service (Niets), for the country's educational shortcomings.

The O-Net system reveals a full picture of failure. The results from 630,000 Mathayom 3 (9th grade) students were even more disappointing than those of the 12th graders, with average scores in all five subjects below 50%. Once again, students fared worse in mathematics and English, with scores averaging 29% and 31%, respectively.

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