The Thai Education System

Understand the different levels and the grading system in Thai schools...

Since 2001 Thailand's educational system is divided into three levels:

  • Level 1: first three years of school
    • KG1 to KG3 – 3 years to 5 years old
  • Level 2: Primary or elementary school (Prathomsuksa or Prathom)
    • P1 to P6 – 6 years to 11 years old
  • Level 3: Secondary school (Mattayomsuksa or Mattayom)
    • M1 to M6 – 12 years to 18 years old

Level 1 is optional, but Thai children are required to complete levels P1 to M3.

At the end of each year, students must take a National Education test in order to move on to the next level. If the student cannot pass the test, they may have to repeat the last completed year or may be given an option of attending a summer school programme at the end of which the student will be retested. Students cannot continue to the next level until they pass the test. However, it is not common for students to be held back as, typically, the student can take the test again with the assistance of a teacher. This can be repeated until the student passes the required exam.

After completing the final obligatory year, M3, students who wish to continue their education must take the Ordinary National Educational Test (O-NET). At the end of M6 they take the Advanced National Educational Test (A-NET) in order to graduate. Graduating from M6 is the equivalent to graduating after taking A levels, the International Baccalaureate or the Standardised Achievement Test (SAT) in the US.

In order to attend a university after graduating from M6, students must pass the Central University Admission System (CUAS). This system is based on the scores of the O-NET and the A-NET as well as the Grade Point Average from M4.

The Grading System

Thailand uses a number grading system in primary and secondary schools.

  • Highest: 4
  • Lowest: 1

Many English programmes and some individual teachers still use the A, B, C, D and F grading system with F being the failing grade.

Grading at the university level is based on a credit points system. Each subject is graded individually and the points are tabulated.

For the latest information on education visit the Ministry of Education website