Speech by Mr. Pongsak Ruktapongpisal, on the 25th Anniversary of KIS International School

Speech by Mr. Pongsak Ruktapongpisal, Former Minister of Transport, on the 25th Anniversary of KIS International School

Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen,

Congratulations KIS on reaching this remarkable milestone of 25 years of success! These 25 years have flown by, and it feels like just yesterday that I first thought about starting this school.

Many people have wondered why I, an engineer, contractor, and real estate developer with no background in education, decided to start KIS. I would like to share with you the vision and what inspired me to do it.


I grew up in a very poor family and had to fight for everything. I taught myself many things and loved to read. Reading, especially Chinese martial arts stories, taught me that
continual practice and learning are key to becoming the best. This early interest in education stayed with me. I got into Triam Udom Suksa, one of the best high schools in the
country, and later graduated from Chulalongkorn University with a degree in Civil Engineering.

No description available.
Mr. Ray Davis, KIS Board Chair and Mr. Pongsak Ruktapongpisal

There were 4 important events in my life that sparked my interest to start a school. The first story is a personal one about my nephew, who was doing very poorly in school in
Thailand with a grade 0.8. I took him to the US, where a Catholic school accepted him. Within a year, his grades improved dramatically to almost 4.0, and he went on to
complete his master’s degree. This made me wonder why the education system in Thailand wasn’t working as well for him and made me want to know more.

The second event was in 1993-1994 when I accompanied the Minister of Commerce, Uthai Pimchaichon, to the US to negotiate trade agreements. There, I met Khun Pornpimon Kannarat (Pauline), a young lobbyist fluent in English who helped make the trip successful.

Later, she introduced me to Washington International School (WIS), describing it as one of the top 5 high schools in the world. Many diplomats’ children studied there, and I saw how these children, even those for whom English was not their first language, could learn, quickly adapt to the environment, and go on to study at top universities. This was the first time I came across the IB curriculum, and made me realize that education in Thailand needed to change.

When I looked at the education system in Thailand, I often wondered why some students succeeded while others struggled. I believe a child-centered education approach was the key. I noticed that children could remember names and objects without teaching.

However, when asked to recite the alphabet, they could remember all the letters but struggled to identify individual ones. This highlights the difference between rote learning and child-centered learning, where students are active participants in their own learning. Children are naturally curious and learn better when they are interested in the subject.

This approach builds confidence and helps them make a greater impact on society. This idea further inspired me to start a school that focused on this type of education.


No description available.

The third event that got me thinking about the school was the rise of technology in the 1990s. I realized that education needed to keep up with the changing world. I wanted to create a school that not only provided a good education but also prepared students for the future with new and innovative technologies.

I remembered that I outcompeted one of Thailand’s largest construction companies to build a factory in Pathum Thani for an Australian company, using computer programming and software to create CPM critical path method and strategies. Having the ability to use technology correctly can further enhance more opportunities in life and that is what I want to provide for the future generations.

Lastly, the final event and the most important one that made my vision stronger was when I had my twins, Kook and Kik, in 1995. I wanted a good school for them that provided all the opportunities and resources needed to be the best version of themselves.

Instead of sending them abroad, it is at that moment that I decided to start a school here. With the help of Khun Pornpimon, Khun Tang Natrudee, Khun Kumaree, Khun Kanokporn, and WIS, KIS was founded (formally known as Kesinee International School). Thank you for making my dreams and vision a reality. I want to give a special thank you to Khun Tang again and express my gratitude for her strong support of this school.

So, what is next? As we look ahead to the future, I am committed to expanding opportunities for our students. The world is changing quickly with new technologies and innovations that are transforming our lifestyle, jobs, and interactions, especially with the rise of social media. We see increasing reliance on AI, robotics, and drones, which can help transportation but also serve as weapons. These developments and changes raise important questions about how we prepare and what kind of education is needed for the next generations to thrive in the 21st Century.

No description available.

That is why I have decided to start a new school alongside Dr.Chanchai Ruayrungruang and Reignwood Group. This time I have my twins, Kook and Kik, coming full circle to take on the challenge and create this new campus at Reignwood Park while continuing the wonderful achievements at KIS Bangkok. The vision remains the same – to make KIS, both the Bangkok campus and Reignwood Park, the best school in Thailand and in Asia.

Thank you all for your support, dedication and shared vision.
Together, we will continue to shape a brighter future for our students and communities.