To teach at a Thai university, you need to have a Bachelor’s degree at the minimum. A Master’s degree or a Doctorate degree is preferred. You will also have to have some teaching experience.

The best way to apply for a position at a Thai university is to find your way to either the Faculty of Liberal Arts or the Faculty of Humanities. These two faculties often recruit new foreign lecturers for a September start. It doesn’t matter if you can’t communicate in Thai, have the following written in Thai on a piece of paper by a Thai friend and simply show it to the security guard or a student: “can you please help me find the Faculty of Liberal Arts or the Faculty of Humanities? Thank you”. And before you know it you’re chatting with the head or assistant head of the department on employment possibilities at the university.

It's worth mentioning that Thai universities typically don't hire non-native speakers, even if they are highly qualified and experienced. Thai universities are mostly interested in recruiting native English speakers to teach English subjects and "may be" one French, one Chinese and one Japanese teacher. However, Assumption University and maybe also Bangkok University are the exception and possibly the only universities in Thailand that employ non-native-speaking lecturers. While there may be other universities that recruit non-native-speaking lecturers, I can’t tell for certain and I suggest using Google to find out.

Heads of departments and staff in charge of recruiting foreign lecturers often change. It is therefore pointless in sending out an email to a general email address found on a university website. Thai administration staff don’t read much English and would likely not forward your email to the head of the English department. That is why it is crucial that you either meet the head of the department in person on the day of your visit to the university where you’re seeking employment or get ahold of his or her phone number and email address. Remember, Thai universities despite the not-so-attractive remuneration packages remain popular places to work for, the reason they hardly ever advertise for new lecturers on job sites.

In order to work legally at a Thai university, you must possess a non-immigrant B visa and a work permit. Although the university will assist you in obtaining these documents, you will be responsible for fulfilling the necessary paperwork and meeting the requirements. Unlike teachers who work in Thai schools, a teaching license is not required for university teachers. Therefore, obtaining legal status through a university job is a simpler process.

When teaching at Thai universities, foreign professors/lecturers are required to teach in English. However, this may pose a challenge as many of their Thai colleagues, even those who teach English in the same department, often prioritize theoretical explanations of the language over practical activities for students to practice using English. As a result, many English majors struggle to speak the language fluently.

The salary for teaching at a public university in Thailand ranges from 30,000 to 60,000 Baht per month (equivalent to 1,000 to 2,000 US dollars), depending on the university. Some universities pay their foreign faculty well, while others do not.

Generally, teachers are expected to teach 3 to 5 classes per week, with each class lasting 2 sessions of 1 hour and 30 minutes each. I preferred to teach a little less than 2 hours and found that students would start to lose focus after 1 and a half hours.

Office hours are not always mandatory, and foreign teachers have the flexibility to decide how much time they want to spend on them depending on which university they’re based. At my university, I was free to come and go as I pleased. The working environment was very relaxed. My Thai colleagues were a little timid but very pleasant. They never criticized my teaching techniques or approach and treated me with politeness and respect, without ever interfering with my responsibilities.

In Thailand and at most universities, lecturers are given the freedom to teach what they feel is necessary as long as they follow a standardized curriculum set by the government which often consists of a short two-sentence description of what ought to be covered during the semester. Foreign and Thai lecturers (ajarns) write their own curricula at the beginning of the semester and seek approval from their department heads to get the official go-ahead to teach it.

Public universities provide their instructors with a minimum of three months of vacation time, not including national holidays. So, plenty of opportunities for foreign lecturers who wish to teach additional classes at their current university in the evenings or on weekends. Or offer private tutoring services. Private students seeking assistance with their thesis or individuals looking to practice their conversational skills may take advantage of these private tutoring services foreign lecturers offer.

While teaching salaries in Thai universities are generally lower than those in other countries, it's important to note that teaching at a Thai university is considered to be an incredibly low-stress job in comparison to teaching at a university in the West. In fact, teachers at Thai universities are often not required to clock in and enjoy a great deal of freedom when it comes to lesson preparation, grading, and administrative duties.

Foreign lecturers usually share an office with other foreign and Thai lecturers, usually ranging from 2 to 5 people in the same room. These offices are usually well-equipped with computers and printers, and often include a central table to facilitate one-on-one meetings between students and their professors.

It is useful to have a little background knowledge of Thai culture, as it will help you communicate and understand your students and colleagues. Thai culture is quite different from Western culture. It is important to learn about Thai customs and traditions, as well as their values and beliefs, to avoid misunderstandings and to be able to adapt to the local way of life.

Thai students are extremely respectful and polite, and they expect their teachers to be the same. However, they may have different learning styles and expectations than students from other cultures. It is important to be flexible and adaptable in your teaching style to meet the needs of your students.

In Thailand, there are both public and private universities, each with their own unique characteristics and differences.

Public universities in Thailand are typically funded by the government and are therefore generally more affordable for students. They are also often considered more prestigious than private universities due to their long history and tradition of academic excellence. Public universities in Thailand include the likes of Chulalongkorn University, Thammasat University, and Mahidol University, among others.

Private universities in Thailand, on the other hand, are funded by private organizations or individuals. They are typically more expensive than public universities, but often offer smaller class sizes and more personalized attention to students. Private universities in Thailand include the likes of Assumption University, Bangkok University, and Siam University, among others.

In terms of admissions, public universities in Thailand are typically more competitive than private universities, with higher entrance exam scores and GPAs required for acceptance. However, private universities often offer more flexible admission requirements and may consider factors beyond academic achievement, such as extracurricular activities and work experience.

In contrast to the West, where only diligent students can pursue university education, Thailand allows anyone interested in studying at a university to do so. Students who are not academically advanced typically choose lower-tier public or private universities, as they would not be able to pass the rigorous entrance exams of top-tier universities like Mahidol University. Many of these lower-tier universities are essentially high school extensions.

In Thailand, having a degree is necessary for employment, and most people possess one. As a result, if one works at a lower-tier university, they will most likely be teaching students who, in the West, would attend vocational colleges and may not be exceptional learners. Consequently, much of the teacher's work at these universities involves more ****sitting rather than actual teaching.

It is unfortunate, the Thai educational system and private Thai universities adhere to a "no student left behind" policy. With top government universities perhaps not so; I would fail several students each semester, and interestingly enough, the Thai department head held me in high esteem for my stringent standards, which were not necessarily shared by my colleagues.

Thai universities are expected to comply with strict regulations when it comes to the use of public funds. Misuse of budgets can occur if departments fail to comply with these regulations, which can lead to financial penalties and reputational damage. Unauthorized or excessive expenses can be a form of budget misuse. This could include expenses such as personal travel, expensive equipment purchases, or other unnecessary expenses that do not align with the department's objectives.

Misuse of budgets can also occur when departments fail to use resources efficiently. This could include inefficient use of technology, wasted supplies or equipment, or underutilization of staff. This phenomenon is quite common in Thailand, actually. Way too many so-called educational trips are organized for the Thai faculty when it’s in fact most of these trips are just a waste of money and totally unnecessary.

To prevent budget misuse, it is essential that Thai universities have effective financial management policies and procedures in place. This can include regular monitoring and reporting of budgets, strict compliance with regulations, and clear guidelines on the appropriate use of funds. Additionally, universities should provide training to staff on financial management best practices and ensure that they have the necessary resources to carry out their responsibilities effectively. This is currently not the case in many of Thailand’s universities, unfortunately.

Corruption, favoritism, and nepotism are additional issues that have plagued many universities in Thailand for several years. These practices have a negative impact on the quality of education and the overall reputation of Thai universities abroad.

In Thai universities, these practices are often found in the recruitment and promotion of faculty members, the allocation of research funds, and the selection of students for scholarships or other academic opportunities. Such practices not only harm the morale of deserving faculty and students but also lead to a lack of innovation and progress in the academic field.

Moreover, the prevalence of corruption, favoritism, and nepotism at Thai universities creates an unfair advantage for certain individuals, thereby hindering the growth and development of the wider society. It undermines the principles of fairness, equality, and transparency, which are essential for building a healthy and vibrant academic community.

In my opinion, to address these issues, there needs to be greater accountability and transparency in the recruitment and promotion processes at universities. Additionally, measures should be taken to ensure that research funds are allocated based on merit rather than personal connections.

Finally, there should be a concerted effort to promote a culture of fairness, equality, and transparency in all aspects of academic life. This will help to build a stronger and more competitive academic community that can contribute to the development of Thailand as a whole.

Thank you for reading! 

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Blog by Ajarn Peter Cradester (Melbourne - Australia)

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Note that the author of the blog is expressing personal thoughts and musings, which do not necessarily reflect those of KruTeacher. Therefore, KruTeacher.com cannot be held responsible for any potential inaccuracies that may be present in the blog.

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