Thai children's IQ scores fall again

Thai children's IQ scores fall again

The Public Health Ministry has mounted a fresh campaign to try to spur intelligence and emotional development among school children after the results of their intelligence quotient (IQ) tests came in below the global average again.  

In a survey of Thai children's IQ in 2014, the average score for students at Prathom 1 (Grade 1) level nationwide was 93.1, falling from the average score of 94 in the previous survey in 2011, Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatanavin said Wednesday. 

The world standard IQ score is 100, he said.

Dr Rajata said the survey found Prathom 1 students at urban schools had an average IQ score of 100.72, slightly above the global benchmark, while those at rural schools only scored 89.18.

Dr Rajata and Dr Jesada Chokdamrongsuk, director-general of the Mental Health Department, unveiled the IQ and emotional quotient (EQ) scores at the Ministry of Public Health Wednesday.

The average EQ scores for children at schools in the city and provincial areas were normal, Dr Rajata said. However, scores for children in rural areas were a worry and the ministry would have to devise specific measures.

The Ministry of Public Health has launched a campaign that focuses on the role that parents play in improving children's development as it attempts to lift students' IQ and EQ scores.

Measures for improving IQ and EQ development include setting up centres for children at public health centres under the Ministry of Public Health; opening family centres where parents and children can engage in activities that create a close bond between them; and boosting access to information about child development.

IQ scores are closely linked with environmental factors, Dr Rajata said, adding that healthy meals and creative activities help a great deal in improving their skills and cognitive abilities.

Play helps stimulate intelligence and emotional development. More educational toys and games should be made available to children in rural areas, he said.

Dr Rajata also urged parents to read books with their children. It is also vitally important for parents to show love for their children in the form of physical affection. This assists with the development of their intelligence, Dr Jesada said.

A study conducted by his department showed neglect and abuse impair the development of children's IQ.

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