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The Ministry of Education declared that due to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, Thailand needs to reform its educational system. As neighboring countries are moving forward, Thailand has to increase its competitiveness in human resources as well.
The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is a market integration which will be implemented in 2015. With the opening of the country, Thailand needs to improve its human resources because of the rising competitions. The Ministry of Education is one of the agencies responsible for producing and increasing standard of quality human capital.
In the last two decades, the major development on the world scene has been globalisation. This international wrinkle on capitalism has helped the Thai economy as a whole. Thai workers now make computer chips for Korean smartphones, windscreens for Japanese cars. Trade prospers, Thailand’s economy grows, workers reap some of the benefits.
The country is rapidly coming to a crunch, however. New competition is rapidly emerging. Of all the un-taught, neglected school subjects, language _ specifically English _ is about to become a national problem. In three years, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will evolve into the Asean Community. This is a huge development for the group. After 44 years of tiny baby steps towards regional cooperation, Asean borders are about to fly open. Entire industries will lose the protectionism that has kept out competition. National, regional and international companies will be competing for the best employees from all of Asean. And they will be looking for people who can communicate in common languages, especially English.
noted an article published in the Bangkok Post
There have been many criticisms towards Thai education system.
They include a claim that Thai students are forced to study too many subjects at the same time which leads to inefficient learning. The Ministry of Education now admitted that in the past Thailand had no clear explicit study plan which relates to the country’s development. With that unclear direction, Thai students have been studying things that do not match with labor market demand, resulting in unemployment later on.
Today, the Ministry of Education has plans to reform the Thai educational system into a whole new level. Unlike the past where every university in the country had the same course syllabus, the new reformed system provides each province to form its own syllabus. The Ministry emphasized that because every province has unique resources and characteristics, it should utilize its best resources and further improves its own strength.
At present, teachers, researchers, and experts in each province are appointed to learn more about provincial geography, weather condition, and resource. The Ministry will also create 5 new professional fields, including agricultural, industrial, commercial, creativity, and vocational. The plan is expected to result in rising of employment.
The Ministry added that with the reformed education, students in high school to the undergraduate level will have freedom to choose subjects they want to study. Starting from high school, Thai students would be able to avoid subjects they do not like. The admission process, however, will be based on what they studied in high school. Therefore, universities will have students who really are interested in a certain field, producing quality work force for Thailand in the future.
Thai people have English language skill at below average
As there are several concerns regarding the language barrier in Thai people, the Ministry said that comparing to foreign countries; Thai people have English language skill at below average. It is not like Thai people do not know how to use English, but they do not have the courage to use it frequently. The Ministry came up with the solution to encourage Thai students to use English in daily life, by encourage every school in Thailand to use English language as a main language once a week. Not only learning English, but Thai people also need to learn our neighbor languages as well.
The Ministry of Education stressed that it is crucial to prepare and improve Thai human resources as the AEC will be implemented in the near future. It also hopes that with the reformation of the education, Thai people would be able to stand competitive among 9 other ASEAN countries.
See also Special Report: Thai education reform for AEC : National News Bureau of Thailand.