Brunty in four years my wife,children and I will be moving to Ubon. The location we choose to live in will be directly related to schools for the kids. I have concerns about education plans for the kids. Could you recommend/explain the educational opportunities available and costs from age 5 up to University available in Ubon. I will be retired and will not be able to afford International schools. Thanks Mike.
Then David Peters has come along with an excellent reply, full of information about schools in Ubon. I thank him for this, it is very helpful for Mike.
The schools in the city are okay but as parents you will have to do a lot of educating yourself. I know. My two children went through primary and secondary schools in Ubon. From there they went to university in Bangkok. Both graduated with top grades and now have jobs in International companies. Believe me, the job opportunities for graduates with fluent Thai and English are fantastic in Thailand. So many of my friend’s children who live back in their home countries are finding it difficult to get a good job. Asia is where it is happening.
A good choice Mike to decide to bring your children back here to get educated.
State schooling is zoned in Ubon but you can get in to the school of your choice if you know someone or pay money-a donation.
David makes a great point here; you have to live in the area (zone) of the school to attend it. There are people who register kids on their house papers and also teachers do this, for a fee so that the child will be accepted into the school they want.
Primary schools. Anubann Ubon has always been regarded as the best but these days it is very crowded. Plus you are unlikely to get in if you live outside the central city zone. Also the children that go there on the whole are little shits. Ubonwit further up in Kilosoon is a private school but always seems to fairly well regarded. Then there are the four catholic schools. Ave Maria is solid, Assumption seems to teach dropouts who can’t get in elsewhere, Yaowawet is a girls school but now takes boys and the one near Makro I don’t know anything about.
Again David makes another good point. Anuban the classes in the regular programme are large, usually between 45 to 53 students. In the English Programme some classes now have 30 students and I think a few more in some cases. In the Advance Programme, new this year there are around 35 a class. I teach in the regular programme there, so the kids that get thier education for free and I can honestly say that 99% are fantastic for me, very polite but again they do know my rules to a T. As for the English Programme kids I have no idea what they are like but most do come from well off familes at 60,000 baht per year.
Ave Maria I have heard good things about it from people, but personally I have never been there. David hits Assumption hard with “seems to teach dropouts who can’t get in elsewhere” but in some cases this is so true.
I worked there for 5 years, and some of the children admitted into the English Programme were just ridiculous. We fought as teachers to try and have an entry exam and set a standard so classes would be strong, but this was always ignored in favour of money and profit.
In many classes of high school level there are kids in the English Programme who cannot do the alphabet, cannot read lower primary level and have a very limited vocabulary. Then there are a lot in each class that are of below average and struggle. It makes it very hard for the teacher to try and put a lesson together for a class.
These days a lot of children of better off families, government officers and mixed race children are going to the YES school on the bypass road. Children seem to like it there. And Baandek in Warin seems okay.
YES or Youth Exchange School I have only heard things from people who used to teach there, so it was mostly bad things, but as David said many of the Hi-So Thais send their kids there. They do win a lot of the competitions in the Ubon area when they compete.
When deciding your school remember that Ubon now has massive traffic jams in the morning and afternoon. Children have to be at school at 8 am and finish at 4 pm. A long day. Try to buy a house as close as possible to the schools.
Traffic in Ubon city from just after 7am until 8.30am can only described as frustrating. Remember Thais drivers pretty well do what they want. If I leave my house before 7am I am at school in under 10 minutes. If I leave after 7.15am it will double the time at least. This is on my motorbike. In my car the other day it took me nearly 40 minutes to get home from school.
Be prepared to be a taxi driver on weekends taking your children to special classes. I am afraid you have no choice because at school they only get taught about half the syllabus. I recommend you don’t send your children to the commercial tutoring schools but seek out a teacher who teaches at their home and have a one on one tutorial. With my children, we paid for a university student to come in every week night for one hour to help the children with their homework. This was because in the first years their Thai language was not good enough.
David hits the nail on the head here; teachers hardly teach in their class and make “big money” teaching special classes and the rest of the syllabus to the kids that study with them. I will also state that so much time is lost each year because of ceremonies and anything else deemed more important than studying.
Now for secondary schools. Only two in the city worth considering. Benchamat is the former boys school that now takes girls. Bursting at the seams. Nearly 60 in a room, over 5,000 children there now. If your children are bright they will do okay. But if they are average they will fall away. However, Benchamat seems to get children into university and once there they do okay. The other school, Nareenakoon is the former girls school that now takes boys. Good teachers. But I forgot YES. They are teaching up to high school level but again I don’t know their success rate in getting students into university. Assumption is a write-off as far as science majors go.
Benchama for some reason does get kids places in good universities, all parents in this area strive to get their children in there. I have seen nothing but trouble with teachers there over the years. Last year at one stage I think they were all dismissed. Nareenakun has an international programme that costs well into the hundreds of thousands of baht. Its regular programme I have no idea about. I do know a couple of excellent teachers there, really good teachers. Assumption is definitely not for science majors, the labs are pathetic and this is being polite.
Then on to university where it is the Faculty that is important. Ubon Ratchathani University has 2-3 faculties that are solid but others are not very good. The local Radjaphat university is like a community college. Good on social skills but lacks any research depth. The private Ratchathani University I know nothing about but I would never recommend it.
David is right here, Rajabhat is like a community college, it takes all students and cranks them out in the thousands. Students cannot be failed there. English majors leave there after 4 years with many not able to hold the most basic conversation, and some with virtually no English at all. Ubon Ratchathani University (Mor Ubon) has the best name for the area but as David said it is definitely better to send your children to Bangkok to university for sure. There is also Chang Mai and Korat that could be considered.
My choice. Send the children to a top university government university in Bangkok. But let your children decide this.
At the end of the day it comes now to networking in Thailand. You have to know people to get anywhere. Children who are educated overseas often find it very difficult to fit back into Thailand society.
Any university graduate from a top university with strong bilingual skills will have no problem at all in finding a top job in Thailand.
But as parents, who will have to do a lot of teaching at home especially during the primary school years.
Anyway, good luck with the move to Ubon Mike. My family and I made our choice to come here 30 years ago and it was the right one.
A heap of information from David that is very useful and gives a wrap up of the education possibilities in the Ubon area.
Thanks mate for helping Mike out.