Founded in March 1917, Chulalongkorn University is Thailand’s first institution of higher learning. The groundwork and preparation for the university’s establishment, however, took place almost half a century earlier. The worldwide economic, social and political changes in the late nineteenth century compelled Siam, as Thailand was officially called until 1939, to adapt in order to avoid Western colonization. King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) introduced a royal policy to strengthen and improve the government so that the country could successfully resist the tides of colonialism. One of the major parts of this policy was to improve the Siamese educational system to produce capable personnel to work in both the public and private sectors. To this end, a school was founded in 1871 at the Royal Pages Barracks within the Grand Palace compound. Then, in 1882, King Chulalongkorn upgraded the school and gave it the name “Suankularb”. In the same year, the King also established other schools, including the Army Cadet School, the Cartographic School, the School for Princes and the School for Dhamma Studies.
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