I really should pick Dave up on a statement he made referring to a shortage of unqualified teachers (The Day of Reckoning, Ajarn Postbox 24th July). That is one thing Thailand has never had. What Thailand does have, and will continue to have, is a shortage of qualified teachers because at present the salaries that government or mainstream schools can offer is far below what a large proportion of the teaching fraternity will come and work for.
Add to this the obvious 8.5 month pay structure which is pretty much the backbone of the current system I cannot see an immediate (within the next few years ) solution to this problem, and this is a problem for the Thai authorities and no-one else. I certainly can't see qualified teachers (PGCE etc) scrambling to come here and work a year and be content being paid for two thirds of the year.
I also think Dave is spot on with his comment that the degree today is equivalent to the high school diploma, this is certainly the case in most developed countries now, in fact the degree is becoming increasingly devalued. In the US for example there is much debate whether it is worth getting a degree as most people have one and the benefits regarding earnings no longer make it a viable option for most people.
No bitching here. I have a degree and I am just quoting what several studies seem to be concluding. Many years ago a room full of applicants would muster a handful of degrees but a hell of a lot of high school diplomas, Now, you just have a room full of degrees, no separation, just personality and competence. So you employ who you think the most competent person as they all have the degree anyway.
Thailand's problems are not small by any means and there is nothing to be gained by cracking a hazelnut with a sledgehammer. I think the Thai authorities know what they have to do and I think they will do a good job. Things take time and in all fairness this might have started back in 2002 but in reality nothing has been addressed as yet. Token bits and pieces maybe - but if they are starting now then they have a long way to go.