Books for Asia in Thailand
The Asia Foundation's Books for Asia program is the largest donor of English-language educational materials in Thailand. Since 1968, nearly 3 million books have been shipped. Nearly every university and college as well as thousands of primary and secondary schools, public libraries, nongovernmental organizations, and other important public institutions, have received valuable book donations through Books for Asia.
Status of Education in Thailand
Though Thailand has been hailed as a model of the potential for peace, stability, and democracy in Southeast Asia and boasts a literacy rate of nearly 94 percent (men: 96 percent, women: 92 percent), recent political upheaval threatens the education system in this nation of 65.5 million. English is optional and offered as a foreign language at all levels.
The Asia Foundation Thailand office collaborates with the Books for Thailand Foundation, established as a partnership with local civic and corporate donors, to support local costs of book distribution. Working together, they annually donate more than 50,000 new books from American and Canadian publishers to over 550 institutions, with a special emphasis on reaching rural schools, especially those in poverty stricken areas. The goal is to foster an atmosphere of stability and knowledge so that all may share in Thailand's prosperity.
Read more about The Asia Foundation's work in Thailand.
Project and Partner Highlights
Improving Islamic school education. Books for Thailand contributes brand new textbooks to complement The Asia Foundation's work to help private Islamic secondary schools (pondoks) reform their curriculum. Constituting less than five percent of the Thai population nationwide, the bulk of Thailand's Muslims live in the four southern-most provinces, where they are the majority. Education is a key factor for them to develop the necessary skills to prosper in Thailand's competitive job market.
Rotary Clubs. Books for Thailand works with Rotary Clubs across the country to spread the word about the availability of books through Books for Asia for needy communities and to increase the impact of Rotary projects. For example, in collaboration with the Bangkok South Rotary Club, Books for Asia provides book kits to schools participating in the club's Clean Drinking Water for Schools project, which selects and distributes free reverse osmosis filtration systems to schools in poor and rural areas. The book kits include more than 100 new, English-language texts selected especially for the recipient school, an explanation of Books for Thailand, and an invitation to visit and select more books.
Annika Linden Foundation; Siam Commercial Bank. Through the support of the Annika Linden Foundation, Books for Thailand is able to offer "travel grants" to cover the otherwise prohibitive cost incurred by representatives of schools and organizations who travel to Books for Thailand in Bangkok to make book selections. The Siam Commercial Bank provides warehouse and exhibition space for all materials that pass through the Books for Thailand program.
Major publisher donors: Island Press, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw Hill, Pearson, Lynne Rienner, and W.W. Norton & Company.