HomeAsia-Pacific Social Science Reviewvol. 17 no. 2 (2017)

A Theoretical Analysis of Non-formal Education as a Social Movement for Change in Thailand

John Draper | Pennee Kantavong



In a society where class conflicts arise, people usually form a collective group to lead change. One underlying tool for change may be based on non-formal or informal activities. Recently in Thailand, following the May 2014 military coup, the New Democracy Movement (NDM) arose. It was formed by a core group of 14 students from a variety of class backgrounds. The group was popularized by its call for an investigation into the corruption in the construction of a military park in January 2016. The NDM group represents both a movement against the military junta and one to end the political deadlock in society (Haberkorn, 2015; Silvan, 2016; Taylor, 2016). It has close links with the Khon Kaen University Faculty of Law-based Dao Din students, who attempted to work with villagers in educating them about their rights, for example in the face of state-backed mining projects (“Military Summons Villagers,” 2014; “Thai Military Forbids,” 2015). These events provide an opportunity to look back at the original Thai student social movement, which was born in 1973 and was the first mass student movement in Thailand to make use of non-formal education