Thai children experience better childhoods than most of its neighbours, according to new report, but migrant children are being left behind

Thursday 1 June 2017

Thailand is 84th in a global ranking of the best and worst countries for children to grow up in, putting it ahead of regional neighbours like Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar, a new report from Save the Children reveals. 

The ranking positions Thailand in the top half of the ledger, however, many migrant children living in Thailand are having their childhoods cut short in large numbers, especially because of their lack of access to education. 

There are approximately 225,000 migrant children in Thailand who are currently out of school. For those that are in school, only 1 per cent are reported as enrolled in higher secondary levels.

Launched to coincide with International Children's Day, Stolen Childhoods examines countries using a range of indicators related to events that signal the end of childhood. 

The report’s index of 172 countries ranked Thailand as the 84th best country overall for children to experience childhood, ahead of Vietnam (92), the Philippines (96), Indonesia (101), Myanmar (112), Cambodia (117) and Laos (130). However it was behind China (41) and Malaysia (65). Meanwhile Norway and Slovenia topped the index, followed by Finland, with Niger ranking last.

“The report shows some positive signs for the wellbeing of children in Thailand, which ranked mid table overall and across most of the indicators, like early marriage, child labour and under 5 mortality. However, there is plenty of room for improvement,” Save the Children Country Director in Thailand, Kim Koch, said.

“While Thailand performed comparatively well in things like the percentage of children out of school (10 percent), the same cannot be said when it comes to migrant children living in Thailand, of which around 60 percent are out of school.

“This disparity is really concerning, and it’s a big reason why Save the Children is campaigning to ensure all children in Thailand can access education, regardless of their background, ethnicity or circumstances.”

In Thailand, as part of its global Every Last Child Campaign, Save the Children is calling for clear guidelines and dedicated support programmes at primary level for migrant, refugee and ethnic minority children.

“Every child deserves – and has a right – to go to school, which is such a fundamental part of a safe and happy childhood,” Ms Koch said.

“If children aren’t able to go to school for whatever reason, whether it be lack of documentation, discrimination or funding, they are having their childhood cut short. We must do everything possible to ensure all children can go to school here in Thailand.”

Globally, the Stolen Childhoods Report found that at least 700 million children – and possibly hundreds of millions more – have had the promise of a full childhood brought to an early end.

The report also found that:

  • Every day, more than 16,000 children die before reaching their fifth birthday
  • About one quarter of all children under five (156 million) have their growth stunted as a result of malnutrition 
  • One in six school-aged children worldwide is currently out of school 
  • Conflict has forced nearly one child in 80 from their homes
  • 168 million children in the world are involved in child labour – 85 million in hazardous work – which is more than all children living in Europe (138 million) 
  • One girl under 15 is forced to marry every seven seconds 
  • Every two seconds, a girl gives birth 

Learn More: Endofchildhood.org

For media enquires contact Paeng Chandravithun, Communications and Media Coordinator, Save the Children on +66818063299 or paeng.chandravithun@savethechildren.org.