It’s back to school in Thailand for many Thai schools this week, and that’s why typical Thai school uniforms are showing up in all the supermarkets as evidenced by today’s ‘Daily Photo’.
As you may know if you’ve spent any time in Thailand, all Thai students wear uniforms and that even includes university students. It’s actually a very good idea as, not only does it make it easier for poorer students to fit in with everyone else, Thais are actually very proud of their schools anyway so, unlike many westerners, love to wear a uniform.
Most school uniforms in Thailand are either purchased at cheap supermarkets and market stalls or, for some bilingual schools and most international schools, at specialty suppliers. These are then often embroidered with the name of the school or other pertinent information, so students can easily be identified by which school they go to.
This photo was taken at my local Tesco Lotus supermarket in Bangkok yesterday, which is currently packed full of school shirts, skirts, shorts and shoes as the new semester of school starts again next week.
All Thai school girls wear a short sleeved shirt (usually white or light blue) and a skirt. Boys all wear the same color shirt and shorts. The only time you’ll usually see most Thai male students in long pants is when they are in university. Then again, it’s so hot here who on earth wants to wear more clothing than necessary.
Price-wise, school uniforms in Thailand are incredibly cheap. At Tesco this weekend, short-sleeved school shirts were selling for 179-224 baht each — that’s around $6-$7.50. Skirts were 175 baht ($5.95) and shorts 229 baht ($7.60).
Most Thai students will own two shirts and one or two pairs of shorts or skirts, depending on how many their parents can afford. These will always be very well taken care of and will always be clean and pressed.
You will rarely if ever see a Thai student in a dirty uniform and never meet one that smells. In fact, during the six years I spent teaching in Thailand, the only Thai student I ever saw who wore a dirty, stained uniform and smelled of sweat was a student whose father was ‘farang’ (a westerner). Sad.
By the way, if you’re interested in the Thai school system and what it’s like going back to school in Thailand at primary and secondary schools, Ajarn.com has an excellent article about it.