When people think of Kunthida Rungruengkiat, they are also reminded of the Finnish education systems – one of the best in the world. Not only is Kunthida familiar with Finnish education in theory, she was also a former student in Finland herself. She gained experience of the system during high school, and again during her master’s degree. Therefore, Kunthida is a living source for education policy directions for the Future Forward party. At Future Forward, we aim to create an education system without hidden costs, as there have been throughout the years. We believe that equal access to education would not only lead to sustainable human capital growth, but also contribute to a significant reduction in social inequalities.
Kunthida was born on 10 February 1984 in Bangkok, Thailand. After she was born, her family moved to Nonthaburi. She is now 34 years old.
She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Language from Chulalongkorn University before being offered a Scholarship for International Degree Students in 2008-09 at the University of Jyväskylä, where she earned her Master of Arts in Intercultural Communication.
After graduation, Kunthida came back to Thailand as a professor of Intercultural Communication Strategy at Bangkok University (International and Thai Programme). She had the opportunity to teach high school students at the Engineering-Science classroom (ESC), Darunsikkhalai School for Innovative Learning.
Besides her teaching careers, Kunthida is also a columnist at WAY Magazine. There she writes a column called “Story Telling/Learning”; a play on words in Thai Language, which together means ‘studying’. She also contributes to a column called ‘Fill Teacher in the Blanks’, published on Voice TV blogs.
Kunthida speaks three foreign languages – English, Finnish and French. She is a freelance translator, who had translated books from across the globe, from novels to children’s stories. Amongst her notable translations were Forgotten English Conversation and Hot English books, Finnish child novel, Snow White trilogy by Salla Simukka and a Collection of Finnish short novels “the Explorers and Other Stories” (Tutkimusmatkailija ja muita tarinoita) by Jyrki Vainonen.
Why Future Forward
The turning point was when she had the opportunity to teach high school students. Believing that she was at a disadvantage due to her lack of background in education, Kunthida puts extra effort into researching her teaching materials. Concurrently, as a doctoral student, she dedicates her time to research about classroom discourse. Through these experiences, both as a teacher and a student, she realised that in order to truly change the Thai education system, the use of language in the classroom has to change, and there has not been any research devoted to such topic. She also found from experience that there is a lack of teachers in the management team of education policymakers. This results in a situation of ‘ivory tower’. These factors drove her into politics where she believes she can make the difference in education based on her background as a teacher.
Kunthida spends her time reading novels, especially those of Haruki Murakami, Kazuo Ishikuro, Jhumpa Lahiri, Stieg Larsson, Tove Jansson and Thai novelists such as Uruda Covin. She also has interests in musical plays by Arthur Miller, Wislawa Szymborska’s poems, and documentary books and filmography.
She has a cat as her pet. She cares about personal design in fashion, in which she buys and tailors her own clothes. She owns a total of 21 uniquely designed spectacles.