A group of parents dissatisfied with the quality of public education in Surat Thani have set up a micro-school, which an expert said reflects the urgent need to reform the education system.
Sixteen families have taken their children out of school to enrol them at Little Unicorn House, a micro-school where students learn together in a shared space with only a tutor and/or a parent to supervise and assist the class.
Niwat Hoteakim, the adviser to the Youth Creative Group behind the school, said Little Unicorn House has 19 students.
On his Facebook page, Mr Hoteakim said the school was founded by a group of parents who believe their duty is to educate their children, along with the schooling system.
Parents do not worry about accreditation at the Little Unicorn House, as they are assured that teaching instructions are given out only by those devoted to their children’s education.
Mr Hoteakim said the school’s students learn by engaging in projects and activities based on their interests.
Little Unicorn House, he said, does not consider national education standards relevant to the needs of children, so it seeks to develop a curriculum that inspires passion and learning by focusing on real-world knowledge.
As such, lessons and activities at the school are focused on improving the children’s critical thinking, decision-making and problem- solving capacities.
Students get to learn a variety of skills from these activities, which range from music, language, IT, as well as the importance of volunteerism and learning about other cultures, he said.
The school, however, has also hired some professional teachers to ensure students have a well-rounded set of skills.
Little Unicorn House’s goal is to develop students’ creativity, along with their life and social abilities, Mr Hoteakim added.
Sompong Jitradub, a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Education, said the concept of micro-schooling has taken off in many developed countries, where many complain about the quality of public schooling but can’t afford the cost of private education.
“These parents sought a way to personalise their children’s education, so I’m not surprised the concept has been taken up by Thai parents,” he said.
“It’s not surprising considering the quality of our school system and its constant failure to equip students with the skills needed for jobs in the 21st century, which will be dominated by automation, artificial intelligence and robotics.”
Mr Jitradub said the emergence of micro-schools in Thailand reflects the urgent need to reform the education system, to allow students to better catch up with the fast-changing world.
“When parents start to think that they can do better than schools and professional teachers, something must be wrong. If the quality of our schools is not upgraded soon, I think we will see more micro-schools in the future,” he said.
“Perhaps, this can lead to changes within our school system.”