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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

International Education Directory Thailand 2009

For those readers who have school age children, there is always doubt and uncertainty as to where to send the offspring. There are many factors to be taken into account, far more than just curriculum. There are geographic and financial factors to be considered as well.
I picked up the “International Education Directory Thailand 2009” which looked as if it could answer all the questions a parent could ask. In fact, the book begins with two pages of FAQs, though some of the answers I felt dodged the question - such as “Are international school fees in Bangkok unreasonably high?” This produced a three line answer including, “When parents choose an elitist type of education for their child, they expect to pay more.” However, the book does give some helpful web sites that can be accessed in the quest for answers.
Other subjects touched on before the listings include Getting True Value for Your Money, and the Curriculum Conundrum which has a somewhat patronizing description advising the readers “Don’t confuse the term curriculum with educational philosophy or with teaching methodology.” I believe that parents who earn salaries sufficiently high to be able to afford up to half a million baht a year probably knew that before opening this book.
Each school listing begins with address and contact details, followed by admission requirements and the curriculum system. Languages spoken and taught are listed, as well as the academic years catered for. Any religious affiliation is also denoted. Size of classes and origins of the teaching staff, sports and other extra-curricular pursuits are listed followed by the school accreditation, such as the International Baccalaureate, fees (and be prepared for some shocks as to the enrollment fee), a history of the school and the school philosophy.
As well as all the international schools, the book also lists international universities, but not in the same detail as with the schools.
Now my complaints. Am I being unreasonable in expecting that books that have been published be proof-read? This book obviously had not, with many words losing the space between them. Thisproducesverydifficulttoreadtext. This artifact occurs when the printer’s software and the publisher’s software does not quite marry up - but would be / should be caught at proofread time.
Am I also being unreasonable in expecting that a book covering private schools should give me an indication of the fees? Some schools did provide this information, others did not. “No information” or “Please contact the school” is not good enough for an enquiring reader, I am afraid. I also realize that the information presented was that as supplied by the institution, but if the institution does not realize the importance of this information, do I, as a parent, want to look further, or look at the schools that did give me what I wanted to know from this book?
At B. 325, it is not an expensive publication, but after promising so much, it lets itself and the readers down in the end. Perhaps next year’s edition will be better? This year’s book does mention “Caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware). You have been warned.