Friday, 27 January 2017

UK and Thailand 4.0 education

Khun Pavida Pananond as always makes some interesting points from Thammasat in her Bangkok Post article last week:

Globalised economics do seem to be going through a sea change at the moment with a potential reversion to protectionism of America First under new President Donald Trump.

Already much of the Obamacare medicare policies have been revoked and the TTP and NAFTA trade agreements. And calls for Ford to build their car factories in USA not Mexico.

No wonder the Mexican president refuses to meet with Trump.

While President Xia Jinping rightly sounds a note of caution that a trade war helps nobody.

A Trump trade policy in the year of the rooster might lay an egg of just gaudy casinos and towers and hotels or golf courses - and UK for one has enough of those.

While some of Thailand’s environment problems are cited as due to the excess of Japanese investment in golf courses over jungle. Indeed one factor in the high USA military budget is its construction of military golf courses on the rates.

While Brexit so far has yielded a 20% fall in the dollar and 10% fall in the Euro and the potential of price rises from Unilever and Nestle.
Brexit may not mean Breakfast, but it could be a very expensive way to start the next decade.

And Khun Pavida makes some interesting points on the value of education to Thailand's economic strategy in Thailand 4.0 and the 20 year plan - the latest PISA figures a cause for concern.

With my politics hat on here in Kent I've raised the potential to expand Thai students to UK from c.8,000 per year to nearer 20,000, the number of Malaysian students already studying in UK.

And Malaysia with 5 university campuses in UK, is taking a larger slice of the roast beef of the UK education system than Thailand at the moment. While UK is at long last moving ahead on the DaNang campus and IT park investments in Vietnam. Plus trebling the Chevening scholarships in most of the ASEAN nations including Thailand.

The Foreign Minister Boris Johnson visit to Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi last week also urged greater cooperation between UK and Myanmar, no doubt heard by his brother Jo Johnson the Universities Minister.

But shouldn't Thailand be chalking up its plans for education with UK? In Kent we have 4 universities plus 400 schools and dozens of language schools - the Japan Foundation cultural arm of Japan (similar to the UK British council in Thailand) are already active on Japanese language lessons in schools.
Thailand has just one university course in UK universities, and no Thai language courses in schools. To be fair, very there are very few UK language courses except French and German and a bit of Mandarin.

Shouldn't Thailand be aiming for Thai or East Asian Studies courses in UK universities and ASEAN language learning? East Kent 6th Form College, and its 3 sister colleges run courses from auto-mechanics to fashion and beauty and hospitality.

Clearly the extra 12,000 Thai students couldn't all fit into Kent's 4 universities but there are 130 UK universities of academic and vocational courses - plus 19 excellent universities in Scotland and more in Wales. Plus Northern Ireland and even Eire.

And wouldn't an extra 12,000 Thai students provide a massive boost to the Thai economy whether tourism or STEM science with improved English language skills. And provide an opportunity to redress some of the division of North and Isaan and South exposed by the Thai Charter - why not 3,000 students from each of those regions and 3,000 from Bangkok to make up an extra contingent of 12,000 students?

It’s a way to redress the over-centralisation of Bangkok (that UK suffers with in London) and begin the ASEAN 50 anniversary in style?

And in her ThammChula role why doesn’t Khun Pavida consider a study group of a dozen Thai universities focused on UK partnerships - the ThammChulUK group if you will.

Wouldn't closer cooperation between UK and Thailand on education help both nations move ot the top of the class and better weather the storms of a globalised economy?


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