Thailand enjoys a high level of literacy, and education is provided by a well-organized school system of kindergartens, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary schools, numerous vocational colleges, and universities. The private sector of education is well developed and significantly contributes to the overall provision of education which the government would not be able to meet through the public establishments. Education is compulsory up to and including age group 14, and the government provides free education through to age group 17.
Chulalongkorn University, established in 1917 is the oldest university in Thailand.
Teaching relies heavily on rote rather than on student-centred methodology. The establishment of reliable and coherent curricula for its primary and secondary schools is subject to such rapid changes that schools and their teachers are not always sure what they are supposed to be teaching, and authors and publishers of textbooks are unable to write and print new editions quickly enough to keep up with the volatile situation. The issue concerning university entrance has therefore also been in constant upheaval for a number of years. Nevertheless, education has seen its greatest progress in the years since 2001. Most of the present generation of students are computer literate. Thailand was ranked 54th out of 56 countries globally for English proficiency, the second-lowest in Asia.
Extensive nationwide IQ tests were carried out in December 2010 to January 2011 on 72,780 Thai students. The average IQ was found to be at 98.59, which is higher than previous studies have found. The IQ levels are not consistent throughout the country though, with the lowest average of 88.07 found in the southern region of Narathiwat and the highest average of 108.91 reported in Nonthaburi province. The Thai Ministry of Public Health blames the discrepancies on iodine deficiency and steps are being taken to require that iodine be