Creating a Network for Systemic Education Transformation

Our Fellowship Program has a simple but important goal: to make sure our alumni continue making positive changes in the Thai education system. Our alumni bring valuable skills and experiences to their various careers. Many of them go on to learn more, work in corporates, and more than half are actively involved in education, especially in areas like education policy, educational innovation, and school leadership. This ongoing involvement has led to significant improvements in the broader education system.

The importance of working together to bring about big changes is nicely explained by White-Suwimon Watanapa, a current graduate student at King's College London. She points out that while different teaching methods can work well in classrooms, having the right rules and policies in place is essential increating a good learning environment.

"Sometimes, we come up with creative solutions, but having the right rules and policies is necessary to make them work well. Working on these policies can have a big impact, especially when we all work together. It can achieve even better results than working alone."

White –  Suwimon Wattanapa

Sky - Tanhhavich Thitiratsakul

Empowering Policies to Improve Education

     One outstanding alumnus who is doing great work in policy is Sky Tanhhavich Thitiratsakul, a researcher in educational policy at the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI). He regularly suggests different policies to the government to bring about real change and improvement.

     “I take pride in creating proposals based on what local communities really need and turning them into practical policies.”

     “For example, in Rayong, where schools had trouble knowing how well their students were doing, we helped them make tools for assessment. These tools may not have worked perfectly right away, but they helped identify where the problems were for future solutions.”

     Another important person in this effort is Auan-Narongchai Tenya, who has made significant contributions. He works with innovative districts and the “Self-Development Schools” project under the Siam Commercial Foundation. Through this foundation, he has pushed for the Innovation in Education Act, which aims to give schools more freedom in how they run things.

     “Schools in the project had to change everything – how they teach, what staff do. They basically got rid of the old system completely. For instance, they switched to having only three subjects a day, completely changed grading, and started using Problem-Based Learning (PBL) so kids could get more involved with real-life stories.”

     “We need people who help schools make these changes, like thinking partners, and that’s what I do.”

Dew-Sukontha Nilyok

Innovations in Education: Enhancing Real Learning

     In the field of educational innovation, Dew-Sukontha Nilyok is someone who has firsthand experience. When she began her role as a fellow, she used Design Thinking to tackle the problem of students not being able to attend classes during the COVID-19 pandemic. She created a Digital Handbook to help parents understand online learning technology. This project received support from Teach For Thailand and even led to her participation in an EdTech event in Singapore.

     “During that time, we connected with the Teach For All Asia group and shared ideas about learning during the COVID-19 era.”

     Currently, Dew is studying Digital and Social Change at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, with the help of a Chevening Scholarship. She is determined to use this knowledge to make a positive impact on the education system.

     “I have two goals. First, how can I help parents understand educational technology better? Second, I want to help teachers use digital tools to create meaningful and well-rounded classrooms. Many teachers have potential, but they need support to feel confident in the classroom.”

Som-Amornrat Srihapanya

School Leaders Tackling Issues on the Frontlines

     In the world of school leadership, some Teach For Thailand alumni have chosen to stay in education as teachers and have become drivers of ongoing change. For example, the team at the Learning Sciences and Education Department (LSED) at Thammasat University’s Demonstration School, including Som-Amornrat Srihapanya, Ann-Chayart Kasatepibal, and Sun-Theeraphap Saechia, are shining examples.

     “For me, the feeling of inequality hits close to home. I used to feel like an outsider as a child from a small province. It felt like I wasn’t part of the same group as others. When I met kids from different parts of the city, it was different,” shared Som.

     Ann added, “Educational equity means that everyone has the right and an equal chance to access knowledge based on their interests, starting with fair treatment in the classroom. Every child should have access to learning, every subject, every lesson, every teaching method; children should have equal access.”

     Sun explained that equity doesn’t mean everyone gets the same amount.

     “‘Equity’ doesn’t mean giving everyone the same thing. Those who need more should get more. We have to support those who need it most. As for those who already have plenty, they might need less,” said Sun.

     Above all, Teach For Thailand unites everyone to work on a mission that can’t be replicated elsewhere. It provides genuine experiences related to educational challenges.

     “Changing the system is really tough. Even the smallest systems we’re dealing with now are challenging,” said Som. “As frontline workers, we must identify the points of change. Ultimately, we need a shared vision. Whether it’s colleagues or superiors, we need to change together.”

Ann-Chayart Kasatepibal

     Ann shared her mission:

     “Having taught for two years, I see that I can make a difference here. I truly believe in equity. I want to use my potential to dispel misconceptions about teachers.”

     “What’s great about Teach For Thailand is that it doesn’t limit talents and age. We learn from each other, and see that we’re doing similar things even if the approaches differ, but we’re doing it together. We’re not alone in this,” Som said.

     “It’s an experiment that shows us the connection between structure, politics, business, and how they relate to Thailand’s education problems,” Sun added.

     “To me, Teach For Thailand is a gathering of passionate people who want to improve education. Everyone has goals, hearts, and passion. Plus, there’s a global network that allows us to see new perspectives.”

     Ann concluded:

     “Working at Teach For Thailand is a choice driven by deep values. Although it’s been two years, a long time, with passion and dedication, we can see small, inspirational changes in the work we do. This clarifies our purpose for others and shows that we are more beneficial to others than we initially thought.”

     Today, many Teach For Thailand alumni continue to contribute to education through policy work, educational innovations, and school leadership. The growing Alumni Network ensures that the transformation of the education system is a collaborative effort, leading to genuine change supported by strong connections.

Sun-Theeraphap Saechia