In the previous three Chapters we have seen that in Siam, throughout the periods with which we are concerned, the kings had absolute power and were treated recognized as the ‘Lord of life’. They who seemed to bewere ultimate authorities in all aspects of the country’s development, including education. Even though the education ministry was established in 1894, educational policies were still under controlled ofby the kings through the. ministers of the education whom he assigned. However, in 1932 a military coup brought the era of absolute monarchy to an abrupt end and replaced it with a constitutional monarchy in which the king was confined to a largely ceremonial role. .
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Few years after co-operation with the new administrative power under the institutional system, king Rama VII felt uneasy to compromise his different political opinion with the political leaders that brought to his abdication in 1935. Therefore the constitutional government had absolute power over the country. The ‘modernization period’ of educational reform thus initiated in 1935 and which continued till 1970, was a period of transformation, as the political revolution triggered changes in every aspect of Thai society.
The administrative power was transferred from king to Prime minister and his cabinets. Though the minister of education was remained the same in the beginning of this period, but one out of six pillar policies of the cabinet was to provide equal education to all, hence wWe would expect that ethics instruction could hardly have escaped these political is socialand social upheaval untouched. The question is therefore just how far and in what ways ethics instruction was transformed during the modernization period.
In 1935, after the abdication of King Rama VII, King Rama VIII was offered the crown. A young man on his ascent to the throne, he reigned for 11 years, most of which he spent outside the kingdom, for his education and especially during the period of World War II. He died in mysterious circumstances in 1946. Besides, he was under the constitution monarchy system; his impact on Thai education was thus invisible.
His brother, Rama IX, followed him on the thrown and has held it to the present day – the longest reigning monarch in the world. However, since we are concerned with educational issue in primary curriculum and the ethics instruction in this period, the discussion will end at the year of 1970 which is in the first 25 years of Rama IX’s reign. In this modernization period, primary curriculum was developed based on western idea and theory. There was a Royal Announcement and four primary curricula used in this period, which are the following:
Royal Announcement 1936 (B.E.
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