Steve Crawford

Any truth in the rumors?

It's about time we analyzed what the bar-stool experts are saying

There seem to be a lot of rumors floating around these days about how the teacher licensing requirements set forth by The Teachers Council of Thailand have changed.

Some people seem to think that the 4-part exams are no longer a valid option or that they have been changed. Some people would like to know if teacher certification courses from outside Thailand, such as The Cambridge TKT, are acceptable in lieu of the approved one-year courses at places such as Assumption and Ramkhamheang.

One person, who emailed me, told me the story of how he sent all of his paperwork in to The TCT, including a Bachelors of Education, but received a letter back stating that his request for a teacher's license had been denied due to "lack of qualifications"!

So, with a lot of questions, a detailed printout of what courses are taught in The Cambridge TKT and copies of the same qualifications that the man who had been denied had sent to The TCT, I walked into The TCT.

Below is what I was told by Khun Teeranuch Saipanya, the personal assistant to The Secretary General of The Teachers Council and it was also confirmed by Khun Kedtida Kiensaard, Head of Professional Standards Assurance for The TCT.

1) Application Methodology:
There are still only three types of applicants and/or four ways to go about getting a teachers license, the details have not changed since February 2007. To see those details, you can click here:

2) The Cambridge TKT and similar courses:
The Cambridge TKT "may" be acceptable. According to all of the records that Khun Teeranuch and Khun Kedtida checked, so far no one has tried to apply for a teacher's license citing a diploma from The Cambridge TCT. If someone does apply, citing The Cambridge TKT as a qualification, then a precedent will be set. This of course applies for similar courses, certificates, etc. from other nations. Unless and until the transcripts and course descriptions have been given to The TCT, a decision cannot be made.

Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, The TCT itself can not make rulings as to which overseas academic institutions are acceptable or not. That duty falls to The Academic Accreditation and Comparisons Office. In Thai it is abbreviated as ก.พ.

There is a young lady from The Academic Accreditation and Comparisons Office attached to The Teachers Council. When foreign teachers apply for teachers licenses, she has the onerous and difficult task of verifying the authenticity of both the granting institution, the course content (based on transcripts and syllabi) and, by extension, the degree/certificate/diploma itself. Usually she is enough. If however, things get busy and she is overwhelmed, she calls an MOE courier who then takes the overflow to the main offices of The Academic Accreditation and Comparisons Office. There is also a satellite office on Chaeng Watthana whose help can be enlisted if things get really crazy.

I have two friends, a husband and a wife, who are both Fillipino and both possess a Masters of Education from The Phillipines. Their degrees are from Ataneo University, one of the best known universities in the country. When they applied, they were given a 6 month "temporary" license and were told that The TCT (really The Academic Accreditation and Comparisons Office) would take six months to verify their degrees. Now, eight months later, they have their teacher's licenses. Their degrees checked out.

Which brings us to our gentleman who was denied even though he possesses a Bachelors of Education.

3) Fake and/or Unaccredited Degrees:
At the main office, deep in the bowels of The MOE, there is a room which I jokingly refer to as "The Bat Cave" The reasons for this are twofold. First, I'm a Batman fanatic. I know that's off topic. But hey! This is my article.  The second reason is that it is staffed by four young Thai men who only see the light of day on their lunch break and when they get off work. They all received Undergraduate and Masters Degree scholarships from The Thai Government and are now paying that off, working for The MOE. They all speak, read and write English fluently. More importantly, they all have dedicated phone and fax lines as well as super fast and reliable internet connections as well as the full official weight of The Royal Thai Ministry of Education behind them.

Why am I going off about this? Because that man who e-mailed me and was denied, based on "lack of qualifications" was denied because he had a "Lifetime Experience Degree", in Education, from Ashwood University. Now, I am not going to get into a debate about the pros, cons, validity or anything else of Lifetime Experience Degrees. Some ACCREDITED universities, such as masters Degrees from University of Leicester (for example) are real, accredited and will present NO problems to people who hold degrees from them. However, the young guys in The Batcave can find out if the degree you are presenting is from an internationally accredited academic institution or not! Even if they can't find it online, which is not a good sign, they can still write a government to government communication asking the Ministry of Education in that country for their full cooperation and assistance. My point is, if you have a degree from an academic institution that does not hold any international accreditation, for your own sake, do not present it to The TCT for approval towards receiving a teacher's license.

To see a list of the most well known Institutions of Higher Learning which DO NOT possess international (or even local) academic accreditation, click here...

If The TCT or The Academic Accreditation and Comparisons Office feel so inclined, they can report teachers who apply with fake and/or unaccredited degrees to The Royal Thai Police and I have yet to hear a happy ending to any story like that!

If any readers have any questions they would like me to ask directly to The Teacher's Council or have heard of any other rumors that they would like followed up on, just email me and I'll see what I can do. I'm at The MOE, on average two days a week.

So long and thanks for all the fish.


Hi Adrian,

Re your comments/questions, I am interested to know more about the online course for licensing your colleague is doing for 37k. That is a lot cheaper than the 65k weekend diploma - quite a few of us would have done that if we could have done it in KK but we didn't have enough people for Ramkamhaeng to run it here.

Understand your sentiments but for those of us who are committed to Thailand long-term we have to meet their requirements - and the licensing reqs have now been in place with no change for four years! So not optimistic about a reprieve.

By John Penney, Khon Kaen (4th June 2010)

Dear Steve,

Please provide me an update on the teaching license situation. I been teaching here for 4+ years and plan to live here indefinitely. I have my legal BBA (Oklahoma '66) my Thai culture course and TEFL certificates.
I have one teaching colleague who has paid 37K and is completing the on-line course for his Teacher licensing.
Why would anybody want to spend a year of weekends (and related study) going back to college to take an accreditation that is not valid anywhere else in the world?!
One of my colleagues (all are 30 years my younger) plans to take the course and will surely fail it, believing that he will have a 2 year reprieve.
As a business manager of 35+ years I can see the supply of teachers being reduced to a fraction of what there is presently. Those with a true license should be able to "name their price"! Which makes no sense (unless Taksin is paying the bills!)in a market with a perpetual shortage of experienced and legally qualified teachers.
Also, how many of the youngsters which normally arrive here fresh out of college, stay for 2 years and then move on ,..............will even come here at all.........if they know what they will face here.
I have lived in Thailand for about 5 years and I have watched laws come and go. I truly can not imagine how this licensing situation will remain. Remember the FBI checks?
I welcome your up-to-date comments.
Thank you,

By Adrian L. Sabater, Bangkok Noi (4th June 2010)

To apply for a WP you need some kind of a paper from MoE.
But it is the school's responsibility to verify your degree. MoE and Labor usually trust the school and only check if all the documents have been submitted.

I am not saying that using fakes is risk-free and moral. Your degree will still be verified by your school and if it is found to be fake and you are reported then you risk deportation. Also bear in mind that you might not be reported straight away, but if you piss off anyone from the Thai staff (and you will sooner or later) then you will be reported for sure and will face huge problems.

Just be honest about your qualifications and work toward real degree and you will be much better off.

By really?, BKK (7th May 2010)

Does that mean if people only apply for a work permit and not the teacher's license, they won't get their docs checked?

By Dave, Bangkok (7th May 2010)

Hi Steve,

Interesting article but, in my opinion, full of BS. First of all, the degrees in Thailand are rarely verified, if they are verified at all. I am talking about MoE here, as some schools do verify the degrees. But MoE does not do it, I have never heard about anyone who had their degree verified (by MoE). There is no such thing as "The Bat Cave". I know people with life experience degrees who got their licenses. They teach in the provinces but to apply for the license the docs had to be send to Bangkok. After a few weeks the licenses came!

Simply, it is the schools' responsibility to verify a degree, not the MoE. Teachers get caught when they are reported by a colleague or their former boss etc.

From what you say one could assume there are no teachers with fake degrees in Thailand any more - after all they all got caught by the MoE. But I can assure there are plenty. Thailand can't attract enough qualified teachers, I'm sure you know that!

By really?, thailand (25th March 2010)

Hi Steve,

I noted Jason's outline of the licensing requirements includes the need for certified translations of degrees and transcripts (presumably into Thai!?). My school handles the applications for our teachers here and does not include translations, however we have only had permanent licences granted in the past under the now expired grandfather provisions, all others have been two year temporary licenses. You also commented that the inhabitants of the batcave are competent in English. Is the translation an essential requirement?

Secondly, for those of us who are upcountry do you know if the TCT ever answers their phone. Our Principals secretary has been calling them for days now with no success.

By John Penney, Khon Kaen (25th February 2010)

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