Despite high fees and well recognized brand names, some of Thailand’s largest international schools are worse than average in terms of their student to teacher ratio.
Thailand’s largest international schools pride themselves on the quality of education given at their prestigious establishments. But some of them fall below average when we look at the important ratio between the number of teachers compared to the number of students.
Looking at all of the roughly 120 international schools tracked by TIS Monitor, using data collected from Ministry of Education we found that the average student-teacher ratio was 7.0. Meanwhile the ten schools with the best ratios averaged 3.6 students per teacher.
As TIS Monitor can report in this second part of our series about student-teacher ratios, it is striking that none of Thailand’s 10 largest international schools reached anywhere near the top of the list when comparing student-teacher ratios. This is despite the fact they are often among the most well known and expensive.
Among these large schools the average is 7.7, and some of the schools are alarmingly far behind the highest ranked schools.
“The average of 7.7 that the ten largest schools have is worse than the overall average of all International schools in Thailand, or even the averages of comparable schools in other countries. Even worse, all ten of the largest schools in the country are nowhere near the top of our rankings when we look at this metric, without exception” Dr Anders Engvall, Head of Research at TIS Monitor, says.
The data is hard to find
Low student–teacher ratios is often an important factor for parents when choosing between schools in many parts of the world. But prior to TIS Monitor’s release of student-teacher ratios for Thailand’s international schools, this information was hard to come by.
While many parents regard smaller class sizes as better, the reality can be more nuanced.
While in theory there are a number of ways by which having a low number of students for each teacher should be good for instruction and learning, a lower student-teacher ratio often has to be weighed against other potential uses of funds, such as higher salaries for teachers, investing in their professional development, greater investment in teaching technology, or making more widespread use of assistant teachers.
“Despite these considerations, having more high-quality teachers at a school, rather than fewer, would obviously be better as each child could then receive more personal attention,” Dr Anders Engvall says.
The large non-profit schools ISB, NIST and Bangkok Patana all show similar figures, with just under eight students per teacher. There is a wider spread among the large for-profit schools, ranging from less than six at Bangkok Prep to almost nine students per teacher at St Andrews NAE Sukhumvit 71.
TIS Monitor will continue to track how high and low fee schools perform on the student-teacher metric, and will publish additional guides to allow parents to use this information when choosing a school for their children.
Update April 8,2021: Thailand International School Monitor draws on data from Thailand’s Ministry of Education for this analysis (ranking). While offering information on the vast majority of the country’s international schools, data for some schools are missing from these official statistics (notably Shrewsbury International School in Bangkok which on its website claims to have a student-teacher ratio of 10).