Date Approved

2-25-2003

Date Posted

10-1-2009

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

James Barott, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David Anderson, Ed.D.

Committee Member

William Shelton, Ed.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to understand educational policy-making and politics in Thailand. The researcher sought to answer the questions “What is the nature of Thai politics?” and “What is the nature of educational policy-making in Thailand?”

The study followed an institutional approach to political research adopted by sociohistorical theorists (Kato, 1996; Scott, 1995). The research design was based on the qualitative, case-study strategy. The study consists of two parts: (a) an investigation into the historical development of Thai politics, society, and education and (b) the case study of the bill on the establishment of the council of teachers and educational personnel. The case study is an examination of the political conflicts occurring during the development and consideration of the bill. The conceptual framework and categories used in this study were derived from institutional theories (Scott, 1995) and the concepts of legitimacy of authority (Weber, 1924/1968), citizenship (Marshall, 1969), and political conflict (Schattschneider, 1975).

The data-collection methods of document review and interviewing were used. The interviews were conducted individually with seven participants who were senior civil servants and elite political officials. The trustworthiness of the research findings was achieved by applying the constructivist criteria for evaluating qualitative research (Lincoln & Guba, 1985).

The research findings suggested that the Thai political system is an exclusive system. The development of Thai politics was based on an authoritarian tradition vested in the institution of the absolute monarchy. In the past, the masses were excluded from politics by the legal system, social structure, and religious beliefs. The social structure and processes constituted the normative and cultural frameworks that constrained the choices of political participation by the masses. Similar to Thai politics, educational policy-making in Thailand is an elite system controlled by senior civil servants in the Office of the National Education Commission, by the Ministry of Education, and by members of the Cabinet. The authorities decides who could get involved in the process and at what points in the process. The public was allowed to participate only in the process of drafting policies through public hearings that were organized, for the most part, to support the authorities’ agendas.

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