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An exploratory study of human rights education in two contrasting secondary schools in Thailand

Thipwajana, Pitaya


Pitaya Thipwajana


Max Hope


Human Rights Education (HRE) is a growing research area which informs policy discussion and teaching practice development (Bajaj, 2011; Osler & Starkey, 2010). Thailand is one country attempting to integrate HRE into its school curriculum. However, recently, due to its having a military government, Thailand has been criticised for its human rights situation (Human Rights Watch, 2015). It is therefore of great interest to study the current situation of HRE delivery in a country where a democratically elected government does not exist.
There is a shortage of research into the practical delivery of HRE within secondary school contexts in Thailand. By employing case studies underpinned by ethnographic research methods, this study sought to explore the current situation of HRE in two contrasting secondary schools in the north-east of Thailand. School A has a good reputation for HRE while School B appears to follow the government guidance on HRE, but as yet, does not have a high profile. Three data collection methods were employed, including participant observation, document analysis, and interviews. Observation took place both inside and outside classrooms. Thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) was employed to analyse the data.
This study found evidence that human rights were implemented extensively in School A both inside and outside of the classroom while human rights were partly implemented in School B. However, in School B, there was still evidence of good practice of human rights learning in some classes of Civic Duties Subjects, even though there was reluctance to deliver HRE amongst many of the teachers. The findings in this study shed light on issues relating to building a model of how HRE should be presented in schools, which consists of eight key claims: 1) HRE needs to be embedded in every aspect of a school both inside and outside classrooms; 2) Contextualising human rights in the classroom makes the learning experience for students meaningful; 3) The knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes of teachers have an impact on pedagogical practices; 4) Close collaboration and support between teachers is crucial to HRE; 5) Student council plays a vital role in bridging communication between students, teachers and school administrators and provide a resource for human rights; 6) Extra-curricular activities can have a significant impact on students’ behaviour and attitudes regarding human rights; 7) Community engagement and partnerships with other organisations enhance the understanding of the wider implications of HRE for students; 8) The context of operating within a military regime creates a complex and contradictory environment for teachers and students in schools which endeavour to promote human rights.


Thipwajana, P. (2018). An exploratory study of human rights education in two contrasting secondary schools in Thailand. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jul 19, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jul 19, 2023
Keywords Education
Public URL
Additional Information School of Education and Social Sciences,
The University of Hull
Award Date Oct 1, 2023


Thesis (3.9 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2018 Pitaya Thipwajana. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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