Higher Education Thailand

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Higher EducationThailand

1. OverviewThailand’s higher education system has steadily evolvedover the past four decades. Thailand currently has156 higher education institutions (HEIs) which are dividedinto three categories: autonomous, public and private(explained in the next section). Currently, there are threelevels of qualifications offered: lower than a bachelor-leveldegree, a bachelor-level degree, and a graduate-leveldegree.In 2015, over two million students were enrolled in highereducation but student enrolments have shown a steadydownward trend since this time. One of the most debatedissues among all HEIs is the declining youth population inThailand which is leading to a lower number of studentsapplying for Thailand’s university entrance exam.2

Kasetsart UniversityNumber of students enrolled in vatePublicAnother important change has been thecreation of the Ministry of Higher Education,Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) inMay 2019. This reflects the Thai Government’sbelief that research is at the heart of highereducation, and research can make an impactwhen researchers work hand-in-hand withHEIs. Although major research organisationswere previously under the Ministry of Scienceand Technology, this change has enabledthe government to centralise its researchbudget within MHESI.Following the establishment of MHESI, theadministration and supervision of publicHEIs were no longer under the Officeof the Higher Education Commission,nor private HEIs under the Office of thePrivate Education Commission. Instead,both offices were merged under MHESIand now operate under the umbrella ofOffice of the Permanent Secretary.3

Asia-Pacific International University2. Types of ownershipIn Thailand, there are autonomous, public and private HEIs. Since 2003, publicHEIs, which are financially and human resource ready, have been required bythe Ministry of Education (which had policy responsibility of higher educationat the time) to transfer to become autonomous HEIs. Despite less financialsupport from the government, autonomous HEIs exercise greater control overthe management of their own affairs to enhance efficiency and accountability.As a result, autonomous HEIs also have to come up with strategic plans tosustain their institutions. Private HEIs operate in a similar way to autonomousHEIs but they do not receive funding from the Thai Government.In addition, the Council of University Presidents of Thailand and theAssociation of Private Higher Education Institutions of Thailand are importantpeak bodies that influence the administration and policy of both public andprivate HEIs. The government is encouraging the rest of the public HEIs tobecome autonomous when they are ready.4

2019 data from MHESI indicates that there are 27 autonomous HEIs,57 public HEIs and 72 private HEIs.No.Type of InstitutionNumber1Autonomous HEIsThey continue to receive government fundingbut less than once they were public HEIs.272Public HEIs- Public HEIs – limited admission (8)- Public HEIs – open admission (2)The two public open admission HEIs havea large number of student enrolmentsas the admission system is rather lesscompetitive. They serve the function ofproviding higher education opportunity toa wider public of diverse age ranges andbackgrounds. They have campuses across thecountry and they also offer distance toring& Evaluation- Rajabhat Universities (38)Rajabhat Universities are regional HEIswhich focus mainly on local communitydevelopment and engagement. They wereestablished as teacher colleges and becamecomprehensive HEIs in 2004.- Rajamangala University of Technology(RMUT) (9)RMUTs have a strong focus on technologyand technical fields as they were establishedas polytechnic colleges before being granteduniversity status in 2005.3Private HEIsTotal72156The public HEIs dominate overwhelmingly in all study areas due to thestrong preference of Thai students to enrol in public HEIs. According to2018 Thai Government data, around 82 per cent of enrolled studentsstudied at public HEIs, while 18 per cent studied at private HEIs.Type of InstitutionPublic* including autonomous HEIsPrivateGrand Totalwww.info.mua.go.thNumber 005

3. Financing higher educationIn 2019, Thailand’s Parliament approved a budget allocationof 142,484.69 million THB to MHESI which was a 1.99 per centincrease (2,774.24 million THB) from the previous year.The budget increase was due to two reasons: firstly, theestablishment of the new ministry required a larger budgetto look after all agencies under its portfolio, and secondly,a portion of research and development (R&D) funds previouslyallocated to individual public and autonomous HEIs wereredirected and absorbed into the MHESI budget. PrivateHEIs do not receive any R&D funding from the government.The government budget is divided into four main categorieswhich covers government agencies, public organisations,state enterprises, and a research fund.Category1. Government Agencies- Office of the Permanent Secretary- Research Institutes- Public and autonomous HEIs123,243.79832. Public Organisations- Research Institutes4,651.70873. State Enterprises- Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research- National Science Museum2,034.61904. Research FundTotal6THB Million12,554.5656142,484.6916

4. Admission systemSince 2018, Thailand has been using theThai Central Admission System (TCAS) foradmission into bachelor-level degrees, butsome programs of public HEIs and someprivate HEIs also use their own admissionsystem. The TCAS system comprises fivedifferent admission rounds, including:1. Portfolio round (student record)2. Quota round3. Direct admission round4. Central examination round; and5. Individual admission by facultiesfor vacant seats.The aim of TCAS is to encourage equity ineducation among students from differentsocial classes as it includes arrangementsto minimise the cost of travel expensesand examination fees for disadvantagedstudents. National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA)In addition, students are not allowed toaccept more than one offer at a time as itwill hinder the chances of other students.Due to the aging Thai population, allcategories of HEIs struggle to fill vacantplaces so they are working to reduceprograms with declining enrolments andoffer more attractive courses which arereflective of future skill needs andgovernment priorities such as the digitaleconomy, AI and robotics, and medicalengineering. In addition, most HEIs arealso attempting to recruit larger numbersof international students to offset thedeclining number of Thai students. Chinesestudents are the largest internationalcohort in Thailand, followed by Myanmarand Cambodia.7

5. Quality assuranceThe Thai Qualifications Framework (TQF)for higher education was established toassist with the implementation of educationguidelines set out in the National EducationAct of 1999, ensure consistency in bothstandards and award titles, and make clear theequivalence of academic awards with thosegranted by higher education institutions fromother parts of the world. The framework helpsprovide appropriate points of comparisonin academic standards for all HEIs in theirplanning and internal quality assuranceprocess, for evaluators involved in externalreviews, and for employers in understandingthe skills and capabilities of the graduatesthey may employ.8The TQF and its implementation guidelineshave been in effect from 2009 for HEIs todevelop or improve their programs of studyand teaching, and to enhance the quality ofeducation provision to ensure high-qualitygraduates. The TQF is also used by MHESI forthe purpose of recognising higher educationqualifications completed overseas.The aim of forming MHESI and bringingtogether all Thai HEIs and related researchinstitutes under the one umbrella is to betterprepare human resources for the country’sfuture development programs, while helpingtech start-ups and small and medium enterprisesto leverage the use of new technologies.

6. Higher educationpolicy updates6.1. Policies of the Minister of HigherEducation, Science, Research and Innovation King Mongkut’s University of TechnologyNorth Bangkok (KMUTNB)On 31 July 2019, Dr Suvit Maesincee, Ministerof Higher Education, Science, Research andInnovation, gave a policy speech to themanagement of the new ministry thatsummarised the key priorities of MHESI. Thefour main missions of MHESI are:1. Develop ‘smart citizens’ – to encouragelifelong learning policy and to establish a ’creditbank system’ and a ‘modular system’2. Create and develop knowledge – to leadto a ‘value based economy’3. Build innovation – support Thailand inbecoming an ‘innovation nation’4. Reinvent universities – encouraginguniversities as agents of change and dividinguniversities into three groups: frontier knowledgeuniversities (research-intensive universities),technology and industry-led universities, andarea-based universities.6.2. Central government policy: Thailand 4.0Thailand 4.0 is the official development plan ofthe Thai Government. It is an economic modelthat aims to progress the country from severaleconomic challenges resulting from pasteconomic development models which placedemphasis on agriculture (Thailand 1.0), lightindustry (Thailand 2.0), and advanced industry(Thailand 3.0). These challenges have includeda middle income trap, an inequality trap and animbalanced trap where it has been difficult forworkers to seek better job prospects, movebetween industries or increase their earningcapacity.9

Kasetsart UniversityUnder the “Thailand 4.0” model, the nation’s economy will be innovation-driven by upgradingtechnology, improving creativity, encouraging innovation, and enhancing research anddevelopment capacity. One of the focuses of the policy concerning education is to improvehuman resources. All government agencies, private sectors and universities are activelyresponsive to the model. Universities are working to align their research focuses to targetedindustries of Thailand 4.0, which are the: 5 New S-Curve: Biofuels and Biochemical; Digital Economy; Medical Hub; Automationand Robotics; and Aviation and Logistics 5 First S-Curve: Agricultural and Biotechnology; Smart Electronics; Affluent Medical andWellness Tourism; Next Generation Automotive; Food for the Future.6.3. Areas of collaboration with international partnersMHESI is currently working with, or seeking to collaborate with, international partners on anumber of education and research areas. MHESI’s five “hot topic” areas are:1. Quality assurance and accreditation2. Internationalisation at home3. STEM education – advanced technology4. Research capacity building especially in Thailand 4.0 priority areas5. English language training.10

7. Bilateral relations7.1. Diplomatic Australia and Thailand have longstanding and deep relations. Formal diplomatic relations commenced in 1952. 2020 is the 68th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australiaand Thailand.7.2. Education In April 2020, there were 14,071 Thai students in Australia, placingThailand as the 11th largest source of international students for Australia. From 2014-2020, Thailand has hosted almost 2,000 Australian studentsunder different models of the Australian Government’s New ColomboPlan (NCP). In 2018 alone, Australia supported 432 students to study in Thailandunder the NCP, more than double the number in 2017. According to 2018 data from Universities Australia, there are180 formal MOUs existing between Thai and Australian HEIs.SourcesFinancing higher cle 20191213150940.pdfAdmission grade.rmutr.ac.th/tcas-คืออะไร/11

Mahidol University

6. Higher education policy updates 6.1. Policies of the Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation On 31 July 2019, Dr Suvit Maesincee, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, gave a policy speech to the management of the new ministry that summarised the key priorities of MHESI. The

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