Thailand, the only country in South East Asia to have escaped colonial rule, today boasts an upper-middle income economy. The World Bank states that this country will likely succeed in meeting most of the millennium development goals on aggregate basis. Whilst the economy grew at a strong 8-9% per year in the 80’s and 90’s it slowed to around 5% between 2002 and 2007, and in 2014 economic growth is projected to be around 1.5%. EAC partners with Save the Children and UNESCO in order to increase enrollment for out of school children in both national and refugee communities in Thailand.

source(s): UNESCO EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/14

Main Barriers to Education

  • Conflict
  • Poverty
  • Accessibility
  • War
  • Poverty
  • High population

Thailand has made significant progress on social and economic issues since the 1970’s and has managed impressive poverty reduction, particularly in the 1980’s.  However, today around 13.2% of the population still live below the poverty line (2011).  80% of this county’s population lives in rural areas and as such the benefits of their economic success has not reached all areas as equally as it should have. 

Rural areas are subject to income inequality and a lack of equal opportunities. That being said, Thailand has an unemployment rate of less than 1%, which is amongst the lowest in the world, millions of migrant workers travel to Thailand from neighboring countries in search of employment.

Thailand’s natural resources include tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite, arable land.  According to UNESCO, education provision for Thai citizens is wide spread and all areas are served by government schools.

This country also has a significant refugee population, where Save the Children reports that from 1984 until only recently, refugees from Myanmar fled to Thailand in significant numbers due to military offensives between the national government forces and their associated militia groups, against the forces and communities of ethnic minority groups.   Today, after nearly 30 years, around 130,000 refugees live in camps along the Thailand-Myanmar border with governmental policy restrictions on movement and access to external opportunities to education or employment.

source: save the children

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Successfully Completed Project

With EAC support, Save the Children (STC) is implementing the ACCESS project in Eastern Myanmar and Thailand. The project aims to address key barriers to education in three communities: eastern Myanmar; refugee camps in Thailand; and migrant communities in Bangkok and Mae Sot, Thailand.

Strengthening Education System for Out of School Children

The Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, and East Timor continue to face challenges in reaching and educating out of school children (OOSC). The EAC-UNESCO Asia Pacific Regional Bureau for Education Strengthening Education Systems for Out of School Children project seeks to enrol and retain 50,000 out of school children in quality primary education programs in the sub-region.


Save the Children

Save the Children and Educate A Child have partnered in Côte d’Ivoire and Thailand/Myamar to help children affected by conflict to enrol and stay in school. In Ethiopia, the Save the Children and EAC partnership is working to reach the most marginalized children across five regions, three major cities, and two refugee camps with quality primary level education.


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has partnered with EAC to work toward achieving Millennium Development Goal 2, ensuring universal primary education. As a strategic partner UNESCO works with EAC to advance the agenda of out of school children at an international level. In partnership with EAC, UNESCO also implements projects in ten countries to ensure that out of school children complete a full course of primary education.