Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Making Thai: Village School and National Education

Chris White.

The papers title Village School and National Education is taken from a chapter in Charles Keyes dissertation "Peasant and Nation: A Thai-Lao Village in a Thai State" published in 1966. Upon completing fieldwork undertaken in northeast Thailand in the early 1960's, Keyes wrote extensively of the role of the state education system in inculcating primary school village children from diverse ethnic groups into the Thai worldview. These aims, according to Keyes, were primarily achieved in three ways; through the teaching of official 'Thai', a language native to the central region around Bangkok; enculturation through identification with and respect for the national symbols Images of the King, anthem and flag; and through promoting State determined ideas that would be used by villagers to improve their standard of living.

Using Keyes work as a baseline study, taking into account the revival in interest in Thailand of Village Culture and its production, the researcher attempts to answer two questions. Firstly, after the passing of 40 years have the key limitations in the Thai national education system identified by Keyes, been removed. Secondly, is there still validity to Keyes observation that "the school in the Isan village is an extremely important… instrument of the state in shaping in villagers minds the concept of belonging to Thailand?" (Keyes 1966:184)


Chris White  (Australia)
Lecturer in Digital Media
School of Creative Arts and Humanities
Charles Darwin University

  • Citizenship promotion
  • Educational planing
  • Village culture
  • Social conditions
  • Northeast Thailand
Person as Subject
  • Keyes, Charles. F

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)