Equality of Opportunity in Education: A Way to Reduce and Prevent Conflicts in Thai Society

  • Pradit Chinudomsub Faculty of Political Science, Maejo University at Chumphon
Keywords: education, resentment, conflict,, social class, middle class, lower class, equality, opportunity

Abstract

There are many ways to describe the 2013-2014 political turmoil that led to a series of clashes. It can be described as a conflict between classes; possibly between the middle and lower classes. Many scholars have pointed out the resentment between classes in the political arena, where the middle class seemed to gain an upper hand in influencing national policy until the arrival of Thaksin's regime. However, resentment also appeared in the form of the differences in income, occupation, education, healthcare, and, above all, life chances. It is generally accepted that a person’s class can be identified by various means such as level of income, type of occupation, and level of education. These means are highly related. Higher education is needed for any occupations that provide enough salary to reach middle class status. In practice, education in Thailand is not free and can be enormously costly. This makes it harder, if not impossible, for the lower class to climb up the class ladder and receive the same life chances as the middle class. This creates resentment between classes and often leads to conflict. This article aims to demonstrate that, firstly, Thais do not have an equal opportunity in higher education (or at any level); secondly, the level of education contributes to a person's level of income and ability to live properly; thirdly, the lack of educational opportunity prevents poor people from being in a better position in life, it is perpetual and creates resentment between and within social classes which leads to conflict. Finally, this paper suggests it is possible to reduce resentment and prevent conflict by creating more equal opportunities in education for Thais.

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Published
2019-07-27
How to Cite
Chinudomsub, P. (2019). Equality of Opportunity in Education: A Way to Reduce and Prevent Conflicts in Thai Society. Social Science Asia, 5(3), 25-37. Retrieved from https://socialscienceasia.nrct.go.th/index.php/SSAsia/article/view/164
Section
Research Article