Only better education will improve Thailand’s industrial competitiveness and bring sustainable economic growth, says the president of the Thailand Development Research Institute.
“However, access to college education is very limited for lower income families,” said Nipon Paopongsakorn in an interview with The Nation.Nipon was referring to the study “Schooling Access Inequality and Educational Wage Trends in Thailand, 1986 -2009” by Dilaka Lathapipat, which will be presented at TDRI’s annual forum on Monday and Tuesday.
The study found that between 1986-2009 wages of workers educated to high-school level increased more slowly than wages of people with primary and college educations. “It is peculiar because industries such as food processing still want to hire unskilled labour while high-tech industry demands college graduates,” said Nipon.
So workers with primary school education or foreign labourers from Burma are in high demand in labour-intensive industries, said Nipon.The number of students entering universities has increased substantially but the quality of education is vastly different between institutions. Those graduating from top universities get much higher pay, he said.
Industries also need to upgrade. There are few food producers such as CP Group that can invest in research and development leading to innovative products, Nipon pointed out.