|School kids, as seen in the "Gift of a Lifetime" post|
Throughout Thailand you'll see them: millions of children heading to and from school in their regulation attire. You'll see them in a lot of other places around town, too, because most of them don't go directly to and from home any more regularly than we did as kids; stopping for snacks, to play with friends, shop, and do everyday things. On any laundry day you'll see the same uniforms hanging in the yards of houses, apartments, and condos. Many times I've seen them hanging on balconies with the rest of the laundry to dry.
|Two boys having ice cream at a school luncheon|
According to figures I've seen there are almost 6 million primary students in Thailand, 4.7 million in secondary schools and over three quarters of a million in vocational education. Education is compulsory for the first 9 grades of school, and the government pays for much of it, as it should. Evidently they're not doing too bad a job of it, as the completion rate is just shy of 82% and the literacy rate for youth aged 15-24 is 97.98%. Figures and statistics can be manipulated from hell to breakfast, so take these with as many grains of salt as you wish, but we're in the ballpark.
|Some of the hundreds of uniform items in the story I visited|
While out shopping with one of the students I sponsor there this last trip they were interested in buying some sports equipment with their allotted spending money, and we'd stopped in at a shop that just happened to sell uniforms for some of the schools in Pattaya. Many of the students from more humble homes are quite pleased to have the proper clothing and equipment for their favorite sport, and I've bought my share of soccer balls, shin guards and cleats for them at different times.
While I was waiting for the clerk to tally my total I looked around the shop and found a large corner of it stocked with the very uniforms I'd seen around the city. In addition to the uniforms there was another small shop just next door that did the custom stitching of the school and student's name. I'd been to similar stores here in the U.S. during my own school days, but only to buy the required attire for the physical education classes, one of my least favorite parts of my school day.
While today's post may not be as interesting to everyone as some aspects of Thai life, it's very much a part of it.