The Education of the Thai Sangha: Conservation and Restoration Efforts

Phramaha Setta Hinsila


The Thai Sangha has played a key role in education from ancient times right up to the present. During the Sukhothai period until the reign of King Rama V, the Sangha has played an important role in providing education with the support from the state. During that period, Thais’ education were mostly conducted within the temple’s wall where monks assumed the role of teachers. The teaching and learning process was carried out in a more or less casual manner and was aimed to enable students to be able to read and write. Those who were educated from the temple were considered as valuable civilians who had the required knowledge that the state greatly needed in order to recruit them into the civil service. When Thailand’s political landscape transitioned to a constitutional monarchy in 1932, the state took it upon itself to manage education for the general civilians, while allowing the Sangha to only be responsible for dhamma studies for monks. As a result, the Sangha faced problems in the management of learning that was inconsistent with changes in the social landscape by forcing monks and novices to study dharma based on traditional values. However, education based on traditional dharma teachings did not inspire confidence among the monks and novices and strived to study on more realistic worldly subjects. It eventually prompted the state to cooperate with the Sangha to re-organize the education system with the enactment of various Education Acts. As a result, a positive change began to emerge on the Sangha’s education system.


Education; the Thai Sangha; conservation; changes

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