วันอังคารที่ 30 เมษายน พ.ศ. 2556

One Decade of Educational Management in Sri Saket

(01-05-2013)


The Minister of Education, Mr. Phongthep Thepkanjana, chaired the opening ceremony of, "One Decade of Educational Management in Sri Saket," organized by the Local office of Education Service Area 2 on 26 April 2013. The Secretary General of the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC), Mr. Chinnapat Bhumirat and the Inspector General of Education, Ms. Jirapan Punkasem, also attended the event.

After the opening ceremony, Mr. Phongthep complimented the organizer for upgrading local education to the leading standard in Thailand which is reflected through the good learning achievements of students in Sri Saket and their three consecutive year award-winning talent.

Then, the Minister of Education recommended the following policies on educational management:

- The progress of curriculum reform - at present, Special Prof. Phavich Thongrot chairs a weekly meeting on this topic. Work is being done so actively that, within the next five months, a new reformed curriculum will be completed and teachers will be informed how to use them according to the goal of creating new generations of Thai students. Before using the curriculum, public hearings will be conducted for all Thai people.

- Student study hours - nowadays, Thai students have more study hours than those in other counties, thus making them stressed out. These study hours need to be reduced because some subjects are unnecessary for Thai students while others are too profound for young people. The students should learn more mathematics and general sciences which are subjects that can be used in their daily lives.

- Changing the title of Thammasat University - Initially named, "Thammasat University and Political Sciences", the university offers courses on law, politics and other relevant subjects. After the Ministry of Education proposed a drafted act of Thammasat University again to the Cabinet, some members of the Thai parliament wondered why the old title of the university could not be used again. An answer to the question is that the old title contains the term, "political sciences" which implies that the university may be a political university although it actually is not.

The "One Decade of Educational Management in Sri Saket" aims to honor organizations and educational personnel who have contributed to Sri Saket and to allow all participants to share their knowledge of classroom management. It also features a display of good educational works and reports on the development of educational quality for the relevant organizations and the public by educational administrators, teachers, educators and students of the province. Their contributions result in the fifth rank for Grade 6 students and the 14th rank for Grade 9 students in the academic year 2011. In addition, the Local Office of Education Service Area 2 won the first gold medal for the northeast of Thailand at the 62nd Handicraft Festival for students in northeastern Thailand and the Student Handicraft competition of the academic year 2012.

OVEC to Propose ODOS for Vocational Students

(01-05-2013)


The Secretary General of Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), Dr. Chaipruek Serirak, said that the One District One Scholarship (ODOS) program that recently took place had only 137 passes out of the total of 20,381 students who sat it. As a result, the Ministry of Education is preparing a second round of the ODOS exam. However, none of the vocational students who applied for the test passed the written exam. So, at the upcoming meeting of the ODOS committee on 3 May 2013, to be chaired by the Education Minister, Mr. Phongthep Thepkanjana, he will propose an adjustment of exam regulations which will allow vocational students to take the written exam for the scholarship separately. By so doing, those students will have more chances to win scholarships to further their studies in Thailand or overseas in the required areas of study.

Dr. Chaipruek added that, for the next ODOS exam for 77 scholarships, he would propose that students who received the scholarships should have good academic records as well as records of good behavior and creativity and should come from families of limited financial status. Moreover, they should have studied in the province where they apply for the scholarship for at least two years. The scholarship will also be given to students from academic institutions supervised by OVEC, the Office of the Private Education Commission (OPEC) and the Office of Non Formal and Informal Education (ONFIE). The scholarship recipients who study abroad will be required to come back to work in Thailand for the same number of years that they spent studying.

Phavich to Deal with Ph.D. Thesis Ghost Writers

(01-05-2013)


Special Prof. Dr. Phavich Thongrot, the advisor to the Minister of Education, has recently reported that he was aware of the business of writing Ph. D. theses for doctoral students as advertised on some websites. When visited, the sites provide information on how to contact the so-called research team leaders who come from many universities in Thailand. Moreover, the sites guarantee their customers that the academic work will be of high quality as it will be conducted by former university lecturers, Ph. D. students from Thailand and foreign countries as well as over ten highly qualified people who have been carrying out research for more than 20 years. Some sites even boast that their staff has successfully written 1,000 research projects on behalf of many Ph. D. students already.

"Actually, ghost writers for academic work have existed for quite some time, starting from bachelor degree term papers, master degree theses and finally Ph. D. dissertation. The development of this business usually begins with only typing research work for students. The more work the business owner has, the more databases and networks there will be. To make things worse, the ghost writers are hired to do research work for teachers who would like to be promoted. Each work reportedly costs 200,000 baht. I can call this activity an academic crime," said Special Prof. Phavich, adding that he was meeting the Director General of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to discuss how to prosecute not only the ghost writers of academic work but also the students and universities that allow this to occur.

Policy on Exam for Teaching Assistants

(30-04-2013)


The Minister of Education, Mr. Phongthep Thepkanjana, presented the policy on the exam for teaching assistants at a seminar on exams for public teachers and educational personnel on 25 April 2013 at the Adriatic Palace Hotel in Bangkok. There were 500 participants from Offices of Education Service Areas, the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), the Office of Non-Formal and Informal Education, the Institute of Physical Education and other concerned public sectors in attendance at this event.

The Education Minister said that the exam for teaching assistants was crucial because it was a process for selecting good people to become role models for students in the future. The exam should be carried out with transparency, fairness and without any corruption.

As the Ministry of Education is responsible for creating good citizens, this examination will set an example that will make Thai people confident in effective ministerial work that will follow all regulations and rules without any cheating whatsoever. Moreover, Thai people should help the Ministry to monitor any wrongdoings. In cases where they find problems, they should inform the Minister of Education or the Office of the Prime Minister immediately so that history will not repeat itself.

For this exam, the Office of Teachers and Educational Personnel (OTEP) will use the same exam paper for the same education areas. One of the Local Education Area Offices will be the focal point for supervising its members. The supervising office should be systematic, straightforward and trustworthy in order to regain the confidence of the Thai public.

The Education Minister also asked the participants at the seminar to propose and recommend ways of solving problems with cheating in any admission exams which could be shared with any of the offices under the Ministry of Education's supervision.

"The current exam for teaching assistants will be different from the previous ones because Local Offices of Education Service Areas are using the same exam paper that other offices in their groups do. Each group will take care of its members so that exam proctor systems are transparent, fair and trustworthy. However, I'd like to ask all the relevant people to monitor this exam to prevent any problems that may occur," concluded Mr. Phongthep.

Short-Term Professional Training Site Now Available

(30-04-2013)


The Secretary-General of the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), Mr. Chaipruek Serirak, reported that the information technology project under the initiative of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and carried out by the Distant Learning via Satellite Foundation and OVEC had recently created 1,365 video clips on professional training and publicized them through the website: www.edltv.vec.go.th, so that interested people could download and use them to improve their professional skills.

The video clips are categorized into various disciplines: food science, business management/commerce, fine arts, industry, general education, technology and communication. Under these disciplines, there are many sub-categories that learners can study according to their interests. For example, the food science discipline offers how to make golden shrimp, five-color congee or deep fried Thai pancakes made of taro, whereas the industry discipline provides basic knowledge on semiconductors and PN junction jump heads.

"The length of each of the progressive training clips depends on how easy it is. Anyone can view them and learn for free. In cases where they would like to study with the trainer, they have to contact OVEC vocational colleges that provide the relevant professional training individually. In so doing, they will be able to obtain more knowledge to improve their professional skills," concluded Mr. Chaipruek.

OVEC to Propose an Increase of Financial Support for Students' Learning Materials

(30-04-2013)


The Secretary General of the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), Mr. Chaipruek Serirak, is planning to propose to the Cabinet the need for more financial support regarding learning materials for vocational students under the 15-year quality education program. This is because all vocational students have to buy learning materials themselves and, according to OVEC’s research, some learning materials cost more than 2,000 baht. At present, each vocational student receives financial support of 230 baht per semester or 460 baht per year to purchase learning materials. As a result, a lot of parents have complained about the expenses and some students have had to drop out because they could not afford the additional learning materials.

"Expenses for learning materials for vocational students are different to those of basic education students because, apart from notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers or rulers, vocational students have to buy more professional equipment for their specific areas of study. The equipment can be used in their future careers. Although OVEC helps them to buy it, the students still have to find some more money to cover the cost of the equipment. OVEC has to help these students, but the additional financial support will start in 2014 and the amount will vary according to areas and years of study. For instance, first year students may get more money than the second and the third ones because some equipment may be used until the students graduate," said Mr. Chaipruek.

In terms of student uniforms, Mr. Chaipruek said that OVEC might propose a higher budget for the students if the Ministry of Education changes it. Although vocational students get higher financial support than basic education students; i.e. 900 baht per person per year, if basic student uniforms becomes more expensive, so will those of the vocational students.

Phongthep Visits ONESQA

(29-04-2013)


The Minister of Education, Mr. Phongthep Thepkanjana, paid an official visit to the Office for National Education Standards and Quality Assessment (ONESQA) to monitor the work there on 23 April 2013. On this occasion, the director of ONESQA Prof. Dr. Channarong Pornrungrot and the executive members gave the Minister a warm welcome then discussed ways to evaluate the quality of Thai universities.

Prof. Dr. Channarong informed Mr. Phongthep of the current problem of educational management caused by a lack of continuous policy implementation, a lack of qualitative supervision and a lack of quantitative control. Therefore, ONESQA has designed a new tool to assess the quality of Thai universities which focuses on three aspects: basic, identity and promotional measure indicators. Moreover, all outside evaluators have been instructed to encourage universities, not to find faults with them.

Moreover, ONESQA emphasized Area-Based Assessment or ABA as a crucial tool for evaluating Thai universities. It transforms the macro assessment to the micro one. The assessment will be carried out at three main levels: higher education, basic education and vocational education, at the provincial level. Furthermore, the results will be announced within a year.

Another innovative assessment which foreign countries are interested in is the 1 for 9 method in which 1 academic institution that enjoys very good evaluation results helps nine others without using any budget so that they have better results of evaluation.

Currently, ONESQA has to assess the quality of 1,785 faculties, 803 vocational colleges, 903 non formal and informal institutions, 36,453 schools and 22,605 child centers. Recently, 6.93% of schools have been ranked as very good, 58.30% good and 34.77% uncertified while 20% of vocational colleges have been ranked very good, 63.33% good and 16.67% uncertified.

The Minister of Education then asked ONESQA to consider the following issues:

- In terms of quality assessment, ONESQA should think about the effectiveness of their work because student learning achievement is actually a good indicator of the assessment;

- Although academic institutions are sometimes categorized in the same group, they are all different. So, the goal of assessment should vary according to this factor;

- The assessment should not take a long time as it distracts teachers from teaching and taking care of students in class. It should focus on aspects that need to be completed and the timeframe should not be overlong; and

- ONESQA has hired more evaluators to monitor the result of evaluation.

After the discussion with the ONESQA, the Education Minister visited its offices and a server room. Finally, he said to all ONESQA staff that a good indicator of Thai education was the quality of learners. ONESQA should cooperate with relevant organizations to develop the quality of Thai graduates. Regarding the budget proposed by ONESQA to the Ministry of Education, the Minister asked it to put some of the budget from projects that are not currently necessary or urgent to use for ones that are more important now.

Research Universities Suffer from Huge Budget Cut

(29-04-2013)


Research universities in Thailand are now facing budget cuts for the fiscal year of 2014. The proposed budget was dropped from 1 billion baht to 600 million baht. However, the Minister of Education said that the government was pleased to support any research useful for national development.

On 23 April, the Education Minister talked about the upcoming budget given to Thai research universities after their representatives met with him to discuss this. He said that, according to the government's continuous budget for 2010 - 2012 with a total amount of 5 billion baht to promote research at Thai universities and to develop Thai national research, over three billion baht had been approved. Now, there was around one billion baht left. The Ministry of Education has already proposed the budget for the next fiscal year of 2014 and 600 million baht had been already approved. So far, the overall budget for the Ministry in the next fiscal year of 2014 is 488,264,141,600 baht.

"I guarantee that the government is happy to support research useful for the economy and agriculture. That's why I asked Thai universities to formulate research proposals that will yield quick results for national development. They can present the proposals at the 2nd National Research University Summit from 7 to 8 May," said the Education Minister.

Assoc. Prof. M.D. Kamchorn Tatiyakawee, the Deputy Secretary General of the Higher Education Commission, said that many universities were disappointed that the 1 billion Baht had been cut because this might affect some ongoing research projects and might result in incomplete and non-practical research methodology in the future.

OVEC to Persuade more Students for Vocational Education

(29-04-2013)


The chairman of the Vocational Education Commission (VEC), Dr. Anusorn Saengnimnual, was invited to a TV program, "Chuay Kid Chuay Tham (Think Together Do Together)", in which he gave an interview with the host Ms. Siribun Natthapan.

Dr. Anusorn said that he would like a larger number of lower secondary students, especially those with very good academic performances, to study vocational education because the country is now in great need of many skilled human resources to improve the national economy.

This interview was televised on Channel 3 Thailand on 25 April 2013 at 5.10 a.m.

OPEC Confident about more Students for Private Schools

(26-04-2013)


The Secretary General of the Office of the Private Education Commission (OPEC), Mr. Bandit Sriphutthangkul recently talked about the admission of private school students in the upcoming academic year of 2013, saying that, normally, the number of students applying for private schools is continuously increasing every year, especially kindergarten and primary students. Like last year, 40,000 to 50,000 more students are expected to apply for private schools which keep accepting students until before the first semester of the academic year of 2013. Parents interested in sending their children to any private schools in Thailand can contact them directly because the schools do not depend on any financial support from the government.

"Although private schools are allowed to accept new students until the beginning of the first semester, they have to close the applications if the number of students exceeds the limit set per classroom. Due to concerns regarding the quality and standard of the education provided, one classroom can have no more than 45 students. Currently, many private schools are asking OPEC to increase the maximum number of students per class. This shows that private schools in Thailand are still much favored by parents," said Mr. Bandit.

Regarding admission of lower level vocational education students, the number does not tend to increase. However, after the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC) introduces bachelor degree courses in vocational education in the next academic year of 2013, more students are expected to study vocational courses and OPEC's curriculums are similar to those of OVEC, so students who complete their studies in private vocational colleges can then further their studies at public institutions, concluded Mr. Bandit.

OVEC Joins Retail Business Training

(26-04-2013)


On 22 April 2013, the Secretary General of Office of the Vocational Education Commission Dr. Chaipreuk Serirak chaired the opening ceremony for teacher training at business companies organized by CP All Co. Ltd. (Public Company)

The CP All has been conducting this project on vocational education management through bilateral cooperation with OVEC since 1995. The fast and continuous growth of business in Thailand requires competent human resources in the retail business. Since academic institutions are responsible for providing proper workers that the labor market needs, CP All has organized the teacher training so that all participants understand and gain hands-on experience in retail business and pass on their knowledge to their students.
The training is divided into two parts as follows:
Part 1 - theoretical training on 22 to 23 April 2013 at Thara Park Training Center, Chaeng Wattana, Nonthaburi

Part 2 - practical training on 25 to 27 April 2013 at 7-11 shops located close to all trainers' neighborhoods.
Dr. Chaipreuk also emphasizes maintaining the number of vocational students and keeping them at their colleges until they complete their studies. This needs cooperation between business companies and vocational colleges.

Participants of the teacher training were 27 teachers from vocational colleges under OVEC's supervision and 18 university teachers. Speakers at the event were provided by CP All and Panya Thara Co. Ltd.

OVEC Considers Bachelor Degree Curriculum on Vocational Education

(26-04-2013)


The Deputy Secretary General of the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), Dr. Akanit Khlangsaeng, chaired a workshop at the Asia Airport Hotel in Pathum Thani on 23 April 2013 to consider the bachelor degree technology curriculum or the operation of Thai vocational colleges. The workshop consisted of a sub-committee responsible for making recommendations on the curriculum so that all proposed curriculums are improved and perfect prior to the OVEC meeting on 2 May 2013.

During this meeting, nine vocational colleges and forty-seven academic institution networks proposed draft curriculums in technology and the operation of sixteen subjects so that altogether the participants made recommendations on several important issues, namely course syllabi, plans for bilateral cooperation on educational management and plans on educational resources, such as the total number of teachers, trainers at companies, teaching and learning materials and classrooms.

Progress of 4th ODOS

(25-04-2013)


On 22 April 2013, the Minister of Education, Mr. PhongthepThepkanjana, reported on the progress of the “One District, One Scholarship”project (ODOS) for which very few applicants had passed the written exam.

According to Mr. Phongthep, this is the fourth time the ODOS project has been organised. This year, there were 20,381 applicants for the written exam, of whom only 137 passed. Fourteen of them received scholarships for students whose families had total incomes of less than 200,000 baht and 123 won scholarships for bachelor degrees in science both within Thailand or abroad. Since very few applicants had passed the exam for the scholarships, the Minister said that it might be repeated.

Mr. Phongthep said that students who study abroad should possess some prior knowledge, otherwise, they will have some problems when they study. When he met ODOS scholarship students in France, he encouraged them to improve their foreign language skills and to find academic institutions suitable for each of them so that they can graduate successfully.

Mr. Phongthep asked the media to do the P.R. for ODOS so that all Thai students would know about it and apply for it.

The ODOS scholarships, worth over 1 million baht, have very few commitments for the scholars because it aims to encourage them to study, whatever their status or family backgrounds. Even first year university student a eligible to sit the scholarship exam.

The Minister of Education finally concluded that he would discuss the regulations and criteria for the scholarship with the ODOS committee. If the rules are not strict enough, scholars will have problems. He believes that Thai students can do anything but, in terms of this ODOS exam, the more applicants there are for this exam, the more qualified scholars the fund will sponsor and the better the country will become after they graduate.

MOE to Systemize Teachers' Debts

(25-04-2013)


The former Deputy Education Minister, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Waraporn Samoset, said that he was currently concerned with Thai teachers' debts because, although the problem was not getting worse, their debts were increasing. The Office of Teachers and Educational Personnel Welfare Promotion (OTEPWP), is trying to solve the problem by letting some teachers have new loans to pay for the old one. Although no problems exist at the moment, the debts of Thai teachers will get worse in the next couple of years.

"Some Thai teachers misunderstand that the government will help them pay the debts. That's why 400,000 Thai teachers are victimized by both official and illegal loans. Some will probably be sued because they don't have enough money to pay back their loans. If the government isn't serious about finding a practical solution, the problem will get more complicated. Personally, I think that the Ministry of Education should not ignore the problem as it's very important and may affect Thai education in the future," concluded Assoc. Prof. Waraporn.

Seminar held to promote cabinet missions

(26-04-2013)


Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Labour opens a seminar on the compilation and the sending of information via IT network for support of cabinet mission at Phukhaongam Resort Hotel in Nakornnayok province, suggesting concerned agencies to work with virtue and ethic and create good work relations among them to foster an organization harmony.
 
Mr. Poonsak Sethanandha, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Labour, said after opening the seminar that coordination sometimes requires techniques in order to smoothly and swiftly achieve a goal.  Coordination techniques help concerned parties understand policies and objectives of the organization, save times/money/resources, smooth work operations, increase rate of success and create harmony/understanding/unity among them. They also help reduce work tension, prevent work interference and duplication, and create teamwork and passionate responsibility. Good coordination allows concerned parties to understand reality and problems of others, which they could use to spark new ideas and improve their works.
 
Mr. Poonsak said coordinators of the cabinet and the house of parliament need to be a virtuous person with work ethic. Having work ethic allows each person to choose to do right thing, to avoid making mistake and to develop good work relations with others, helping foster an organization harmony.
 
Mr. Poonsak said civil servants of Ministry of Labour should apply these ethic virtues, namely honesty, sacrifice, tolerance, fairness, generous, politeness, and kindness when performing their duties. They should also be a good role model of civil servants by having good work attitudes, conducting one-self, not using their authority to pursue interest of their own or others, regularly visiting people, not distorting government information and taking responsibility for mistake.
 
Mr. Poonsak said achieving work success with transparency requires officials at every level to have work ethics, especially discipline. The basic code of work ethics is percepts. A person who undertakes the percepts seriously is a disciplined person. Discipline then breeds work ethics.

National Economic And Social Advisory Council proposes using zoning to determine minimum wage rate in future

(25-04-2013)


On April 24, 2013, Mrs. Pranin Muttaharach, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Labour, presided over a meeting of National Economic And Social Advisory Council and Office of the Permanent Secretary to consider proposals and recommendations on 300 baht daily minimum wage relief measures at Ministry of Labour’s conference room. During the meeting, the National Economic And Social Advisory Council proposed using zoning to determine minimum wage rate in the future.
 
Mrs. Pranin said the meeting proposed an interesting recommendation to use zoning to determine minimum wage rate in the future. The study has been made to determine its appropriateness and see whether it can practically been enforced in the country. The proposal is currently being considered by the Central Wage Committee.
 
Mrs. Pranin said the meeting also reported revised versions of the 15 300 baht daily minimum wage relief measures, including the reduction of employers’ and insured persons’ contribution to the Social Security Fund, the increase in welfares – which is currently being studied and required laws amendment --, loans granted to boost liquidity of firms affected by the wage hike policy and assistance for laid-off workers.
 
Mr. Chavalit Akhomthon, Director of Labour and Social Welfare Taskforce of Office of the Permanent Secretary, said it is possible that Office of the Permanent Secretary will compile its own study on the minimum wage zoning, which the government can use for its management.
 
Mr. Chavalit said business operators must understand and adjust to the minimum wage hike. They cannot blame the policy for them having to move their production base because a study has found that most firms can adjust to the policy and not many firms have been forced to move their production base.

วันเสาร์ที่ 27 เมษายน พ.ศ. 2556

80 Years of the Public Relations Department of Thailand

(26/04/2013)

The Public Relations Department of Thailand, known in short as PRD, is scheduled to celebrate its 80th anniversary on 2-3 May 2013.

Through the passage of time, PRD, as the major agency in public relations of the Thai government, has adjusted its roles, philosophy, and structure in accordance with the evolving situation of the country.

The vision today is that PRD is aiming to become a major organization in ASEAN, excelling in professional public relations and mass communication, to promote development, security, culture, and the favorable image of the country.

Established on 3 May 1933, following the change of Thailand’s administrative system from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy in 1932, PRD was formerly called the Publicity Division, which was later upgraded to the Publicity Office and then the Publicity Department. The name was changed to the Public Relations Department in 1952.

PRD is now under the supervision of the Office of the Prime Minister. Its organizational structure is divided into central administration and regional administration. The central administration consists of division-level agencies, office-level agencies, and Public Relations Offices, Regions 1-8. The regional administration comprises provincial public relations offices in 76 provinces. There are currently 3,329 PRD officials and permanent and temporary employees. The headquarters is located on Soi Areesamphan, Phahonyothin Road, in Bangkok.

PRD has a mission to formulate media production policies and plans and organize various activities in order to promote better understanding of the Thai government’s major policies and strategies in the world community.

As a media organization, PRD uses its radio and television networks and internet links, as well as interpersonal media in cooperation with other media channels to disseminate news and information, so that diverse target groups will have alternative sources of information with which to improve their lives and develop their communities. Moreover, it also promotes the process of life-long, constructive learning.

PRD now operates 150 radio frequencies, 88 of which are on FM, 57 on AM, and five on shortwave. As for television, it operates 53 frequencies, 32 of which are VHF band, 18 UHF band, and three MMDS band. Following the enforcement of the 2010 Frequency Allocation Act and Telecommunications Business Act and the establishment of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, PRD no longer serves as a broadcasting regulator but retains its status as a broadcasting operator. It is also in the process of switching from analog to digital television broadcasting services.

Through its Radio Thailand, NBT TV, and websites, PRD is striving to develop state public relations management and mass communications to ensure that they are of high quality and standards, with good governance, in response to the demands of the public sector and the people.

Prime Minister to Pay an Official Visit to Mongolia

(26/04/2013)

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will pay an official visit to Mongolia to strengthen bilateral relations and promote further cooperation between the two countries.

She will be the first Thai Prime Minister ever to visit Mongolia, scheduled for 27-30 April 2013.

On this occasion, the Prime Minister will deliver a keynote statement at the seventh Ministerial Meeting of the Community of Democracies in Ulaanbaatar on 29 April as the guest of honor of the President of Mongolia. She will focus on Thailand’s leading role in empowering people, particularly at the grassroots level, in order to strengthen sustainable democracy.

A report from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the Prime Minister will also touch on Thailand’s adherence to the rule of law and democracy, as well as their inter-linkage with sustainable development. Such inter-linkage should be acknowledged in the context of the United Nations and the post-2015 international development agenda. Thailand will continue to work with all partners to promote democratic development.

As an active member of the global community, Thailand is committed to promoting democracy and human rights, regardless of gender, age, physical ability or economic status. For Thailand, raising global awareness on the significance of empowering people, especially by eradicating inequality and promoting inclusiveness, is also vital in order to ensure sustainable democratic growth.

Thailand has placed importance on Education for Democracy as a key mechanism for inculcating lifelong awareness of citizenship and democratic values into the people. Apart from co-sponsoring the resolution on Education for Democracy at the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly and adhering to the core international human rights conventions regarding this issue, Thailand has domestically applied the student-centered approach to education in order to strengthen the development of students’ democratic awareness, behavior, attitudes and values in a way that is physically, intellectually, and morally balanced.

Concerning Thai-Mongolian relations, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn visited Mongolia in 2009. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Mongolia, Mr. Gombojav Zandanshatar, visited Thailand in late 2010.

Mongolia has also sent officials to learn more about Thailand’s development experience. It also hopes to become a dialogue partner of ASEAN in the future.

Both countries have close cooperation in combating human trafficking, SME development, ICT cooperation, and climate change. In recent years, Thai investors have taken a keen interest in investment in Mongolia in the areas of mining, hospitality, housing development, agro-industry, and infrastructure.

Thailand has stressed the need for both countries to strengthen people-to-people contact and increase the frequency of charter flights between them.

Seeking Measures to Help Exporters Affected by the Stronger Baht

(24/04/2013)

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has instructed appropriate agencies to seek measures to help exporters affected by the ongoing appreciation of the baht.

The Prime Minister said that the impact of the stronger baht was an important issue and that officials involved must take action to assist those suffering from the impact.

In order to cope with the situation, the Prime Minister will call meetings with responsible agencies periodically to discuss ways to deal with the problem. The stronger baht will make Thai products more expensive for overseas buyers.

She believed that if all parties joined hands in handling the issue, the crisis from the strong baht would ease. Asked whether the Government would intervene or not, she said, it is the duty of the Bank of Thailand to take care of the baht value.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said that the Government had set the export growth target at 9 percent in 2013. It needs to keep a close watch on the movements of the foreign exchange market to ensure that the set target will be achieved and Thai products remain competitive in the international market.

He believed that if the baht did not strengthen rapidly, the export sector would be able to continue to grow. In this regard, the Ministry of Finance and other relevant agencies would closely monitor exchange rates.

The Director of the Center for Economic and Business Forecasting, University of Thai Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Thanavath Phonvichai, said that a survey conducted by the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce shows that the appreciation of the baht has led to a decline in Thai exports. According to the survey, 42.1 percent of business operators said that the stronger baht has affected their operations at a high level, resulting in a drop in orders and profits, while 31.6 percent consider the impact moderate. Most of them agreed that the baht should be traded at 30.48 per US dollar. The rate of 29.18 baht per dollar is still acceptable.

The survey also indicates that if the baht strengthens further, some businesses might have to lay off workers. Business operators want the Government to look into this issue by reducing the money exchange fee, bringing down the interest rate, and controlling capital inflow to ensure financial stability. If the baht strengthens to 27 per dollar, the export growth target is likely to drop to only 3 percent.

Mr. Paiboon Kittisrikangwan, Assistant Governor of the Bank of Thailand, stated that the private sector needs to adjust to the new situation. An assessment would be made on the necessity of measures to deal with the situation, since certain measures would produce long-term impacts. He reaffirmed that the current monetary policy rate at 2.75 percent per annum remains favorable to the expansion of credit and the growth of the Thai economy.

Ensuring Justice Emphasized for Peace-Building in the Southern Border Provinces

(23/04/2013)

The Government has emphasized the principle of ensuring justice, as part of the peace-building process in the southern border provinces.

Deputy Prime Minister Police Captain Chalerm Ubumrung on 22 April 2013 chaired a meeting to listen to public opinions and suggestions on peace-building in the deep South. The meeting was organized by the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center.

At the meeting, Police Captain Chalerm instructed officials responsible for the resolving of southern problems to review various cases in order to eradicate unfair treatment and discrimination. He asked the Commander of the Southern Border Police Operations Center, Police Lieutenant General Paitoon Chuchaiya, to reconsider arrest warrants issued in accordance with the Executive Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations. The executive decree was announced in 2005 as an instrument that would enable state officials to deal with the southern situation more effectively.

He said that the arrest warrants would be revoked, if evidence was insufficient to charge the persons suspected of creating unrest in the South.

Police Captain Chalerm stressed that the authorities must ensure justice for local residents, saying that arrest warrants should be issued only when there was clear evidence.

Concerning the possibility of replacing the emergency decree with the Internal Security Act in more areas where the situation has improved, he said, the respective areas should send reports to the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center. The report will be further submitted to the Cabinet for consideration.

A group of Muslim Thais proposed that the Government appoint a Director-General of the Islamic Religious Affairs Department to supervise Islamic affairs in Thailand and adopt religious principles as guidelines for easing conflicts. It stated that each faith needs to provide proper religious teachings and principles to the people.

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm urged all relevant agencies to propose projects, such as those concerning education, security, and social development, in order to seek budget allocations for the development of the five southern border provinces, name Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat, Satun, and Songkhla.

He said that the Government has good intentions toward all groups of Thais, regardless of their faiths. It focuses on peaceful means in dealing with the southern situation and on enhancing better understanding between local people and between officials and local residents. The roles of religion and culture will also be emphasized in the peace-building process in the southern border provinces.

Arrival of ASEAN Leaders and Representatives

(25-04-2013)


Meanwhile earlier on, leaders and representatives of the Southeast Asian nations arrived in the sultanate to attend the 22nd ASEAN Summit. The agenda of the two-day meeting is to discuss ASEAN's Central Role and Regional Architectures, the bloc's future direction, as well as to exchange views on regional and international issues.

The first delegate to arrive in the country was the President of Senate, Parliament of Malaysia, His Excellency Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang, as the special representative of the Prime Minister of Malaysia. On arrival at the Brunei International Airport, His Excellency was greeted by the Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister's Office, Awg Hj Mohd Abdoh bin Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdul Salam.

The Prime Minister of Cambodia, His Excellency Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, arrived in the morning. His Excellency was welcomed by the Permanent Secretaries at the Prime Minister's Office, Awg Haji Mohd Abdoh and Awg Haji Azhar bin Haji Yahya.

The rest of the leaders and representatives arrived in the afternoon. The President of the Republic of Indonesia, His Excellency Dato Laila Utama Doctor Haji Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and his wife, Datin Ibu Hajah Ani Yudhoyono, were welcomed by the Permanent Secretaries at the  Prime Minister's Office, Awg Haji Azhar and Awg Haji Yahya bin Haji Idris. This year's summit will include the deliberations of the 9th Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines, BIMP-EAGA, East ASEAN Growth Area. The meeting is expected to put an emphasis on the ASEAN Connectivity Master Plan.

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, His Excellency Lee Hsien Loong, and his wife, Mrs Lee Hsien Loong, were welcomed by the Permanent Secretaries at the Prime Minister's Office, Awg Haji Mohd Abdoh and Awang Haji Jamain bin Julaihi. Brunei Darussalam assumes the Chairmanship of ASEAN from January to December 2013.

This was followed by the arrival of the Prime Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, His Excellency Thongsing Thammavong, who was greeted at the Airport by the Permanent Secretaries at the Prime Minister's Office, Awg Haji Azhar and Awg Haji Yahya bin Haji Idris.

The Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, His Excellency Nguyen Tan Dung, arrived soon after. His Excellency was welcomed by the Permanent Secretaries at the Prime Minister's Office, Awg Haji Mohd Abdoh and Awang Haji Jamain. The two-day summit and other related meetings are expected to set the agenda for subsequent ASEAN Meetings scheduled for the year, leading to the 23rd ASEAN Summit in October.

A few minutes later, the President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, His Excellency U Thein Sein, arrived at the airport, and was welcomed by the Permanent Secretaries at the Prime Minister's Office, Awg Haji Yahya and Awg Haji Jamain. As Chair of ASEAN, it is also one of Brunei Darussalam's prerogatives to continue strengthening ASEAN's external relations with Dialogue Partners, including through the commencement of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, RCEP.

Arriving at the same time was the Prime Minister of Thailand, Her Excellency Yingluck Shinawatra. Her Excellency was welcomed the Permanent Secretaries at the Prime Minister's Office, Awg Haji Abdoh and Awg Haji Azhar. Among the priorities of Brunei's Chairmanship is to carry on with the work of past Chairs, especially in implementing previous decisions of the ASEAN Summit agreements and work programmes.

The last to arrive at the Brunei International Airport was the President of the Republic of the Philippines, His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino the Third. His Excellency was welcomed the Permanent Secretaries at the Prime Minister's Office, Awg Haji Azhar and Awg Haji Jamain. During the 9th BIMP-EAGA Summit, leaders of East-ASEAN Growth Area are expected to hold discussions on expediting the implementation of the prioritised infrastructure projects in the region, especially in transportation, energy, trade and Information Communication Technology, ICT.

ASEAN Summit Working Dinner

(25-04-2013)


The 22nd ASEAN Summit begins tonight in Bandar Seri Begawan. His Majesty  Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, consented to host a Working Dinner for the Heads of State and Government of ASEAN and the ASEAN Secretary General. The dinner took place at the new Prime Minister's Office Complex in Jalan Berakas.

Upon arrival at the Prime Minister's Office Complex, His Majesty was greeted by the Second Minister of Finance at the Prime Minister's Office, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman; the Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng, and the Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office, Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Retired Colonel Dato Seri Setia Doktor Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin.

His Majesty welcomed the arrival of the Prime Minister of Cambodia, His Excellency Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen. Cambodia became the 10th member of ASEAN on 30th April, 1999.
This was followed by the arrival of the Prime Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, His Excellency Thongsing Thammavong. Laos joined ASEAN on 23 July 1997.

Followed by the arrival of the President of the Republic of Indonesia, His Excellency Dato Laila Utama Doctor Haji Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Indonesia is one of the founding members of ASEAN on 8th August 1967. The first ASEAN Summit was held in Bali, Indonesia, in 1976. ASEAN is headquartered in Jakarta.

Next to arrive was the President of Senate, Parliament of Malaysia, His Excellency Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang, as the special representative of the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Malaysia, too, is one of the founding members of ASEAN.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam then welcomed the President  of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, His Excellency Thein Sein. Myanmar joined ASEAN on 23 July, 1997, together with Laos.

This was followed by the arrival of the President of the Republic of the Philippines, His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino the Third. Like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, the Philippines is also a founding member of ASEAN.

The next ASEAN leader to arrive was the Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, His Excellency Lee Hsien Loong. Singapore is one of the founding members of ASEAN.

It was then followed by the arrival of the Prime Minister of Thailand, Her Excellency Yingluck Shinawatra. Thailand joined Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore in founding the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 1967.

And finally, the Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, His Excellency Nguyen Tan Dung. Viet Nam joined ASEAN on 28th July, 1995, as the 7th member of the Association. The shirts worn by the ASEAN Heads of States and Governments were specially designed by the Office of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, and were specially weaved by the Brunei Arts and Handicraft Centre. The colours were chosen by the ASEAN Heads of States and Governments.

OVEC Organizes Curriculum Seminar

(25-04-2013)


The Secretary General of the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), Dr. Chaipruek Serirak, chaired the opening of a seminar and workshop on the development of a bachelor degree curriculum in technology or operation of Thai vocational colleges. On this occasion, Dr. Chaipruek delivered a special lecture on the relevant issues.

This event took place between 18 and 20 April 2013 at the Golden Tulip Essential Hotel in Bangkok.

MOE Officiates Tuition Fee Rate for Vocational EP

(24-04-2013)


The Secretary General of the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), Dr. Chaipruek Serirak, recently reported that the Minister of Education, Mr. Phongthep Thepkanjana, had approved the tuition fee rate for the English Program of vocational education's lower level. The EP aims to promote and develop educational quality that exceeds that offered by public institutions. However, students and parents are allowed to choose whether to study in the EP or not. The tuition fee for the EP at lower vocational education level is a maximum of 25,000 baht per student per semester while the Mini EP is a maximum of 17,500 baht per student per semester. Other expenses incurred, such as theory teaching classes and professional training, can be paid according to the actual amount and local economic context, except expenses for special English classes which can cost no more than 50% of the tuition fee for MEP.

Dr. Chaipruek said that opening the EP at all vocational colleges had to be approved by OVEC and tuition fees should follow the official announcement of the MOE. Moreover, students and parents have to know about the tuition fees in advance and, at the same time, all colleges must help disadvantaged students by not depriving them of learning with foreign teachers. All vocational students should study with foreign teachers for at least two hours a week and have 40 hours per semester to access computers and the internet. The EP tuition fees can be collected in the upcoming academic year of 2013 while vocational colleges that offer normal courses are not allowed to collect more money from students because the government has already given them financial support.

"In the previous academic year, OVEC’s vocational colleges have launched EPs, MEPs and special classes without charging their students. However, conducting additional courses requires more expense, so  OVEC has to formulate rules and regulations on this matter to protect students' parents from any unfair additional expenses they might have to pay," concluded Dr. Chaipruek.

9 RUTs Ready for New Bachelor Degrees Offered by 19 VEIs

(24-04-2013)


The Rector of Thanyaburi Rajamangala University of Technology (RUT), Mr. Namyuth Songthanapitak, as the chairman of the 9 RUTs meeting, reported that 19 Vocational Education Institutions (VEI) under the supervision of the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC) would offer courses from lower vocational education to bachelor degree levels. This situation may not affect the RUTs because they have already prepared curriculums that suit the needs of the present labor market. However, the RUTs are reporting this news to one another to deal with any competition that may occur in the future, particularly adjustment of the 4-year curriculum for bachelor degree education to welcome secondary students from Grade 12 and vocational students of the lower vocational level. At the same time, the RUTs are not ignoring the two-year courses for students of higher vocational level who would like to graduate with bachelor degrees although the number of students who pursue the higher vocational level at public or private vocational colleges has decreased.

"After OVEC introduces bachelor degree courses at the VEIs, private vocational colleges will be affected because their courses may not correspond well with those of higher vocational levels or the bachelor degrees. So, students may want to study at a college that offers courses from lower to higher vocational levels or even the bachelor degree to save time. The RUTs have to consider this situation as well," concluded Mr. Namyuth.

วันศุกร์ที่ 26 เมษายน พ.ศ. 2556

Royal Trophy for Robotic Innovations

(24-04-2013)


On 9 April 2013 the Minister of Education, Mr. Phongthep Theokanjana, chaired a ceremony to receive trophies donated by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn for the winning students of the National Robotic Competition in the academic year 2012. The ceremony took place at a meeting of the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC).

After awarding the trophies to all the winning students, the Education Minister said that, this year, students had been awarded trophies in three categories: 1) vocational education robots from Hoy Lod Team of Samut Songkram Technical College, 2) rescuer robots from Sum Koh Team of Kamphaeng Phet Technical College and 3) automatic arms industrial robots from B-Tech Team of Buriram Technical College.

"Robots are increasingly important in the modern world as they are used in many industries. Moreover, robots can work as well and effectively as human beings as we often see in books and films. Nowadays robots are far better than the older ones and both adults and adolescents are becoming more interested in these human-like machines," said the Education Minister, adding that Thailand is now using robots for different purposes, but much depends on how Thai people can develop and improve them, especially rescuer robots and bomb detonating robots.

Thai students are becoming more interested in robots as they show their abilities for inventing them publicly in Thailand and overseas.

Congratulating the student winners for their good work and cooperation with all the organizers of the national competition, the Minister of Education hoped that they will improve and develop their work for the sake of practical usage in both the public and the private sectors.

Taking place from 6 to 9 April 2013 in Ayutthaya, the National Robotic Competition saw 40 student teams with vocational robots, 45 student teams with rescuer robots, 40 student teams with industrial robots with automated arms and 8 student teams with innovative robots with automated hands and arms for the disabled. The first prize went to students from Samut Songkram Technical College; the second prize went to Kamphaeng Phet Technical College; and the third prize went to Buriram Technical College. All the projects will inspire Thai youths to create and innovate higher robotic technology in the future.

OBEC Seeks New Teaching Methodology

(23-04-2013)


The Secretary General of the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC), Dr. Chinnapat Bhumirat, recently reported that OBEC would organize a round table seminar in the near future to discuss new ideas to change in-class learning. Participants will discuss the concept from the book, "Flip your Classroom", which provides an idea on how to adjust and change in-class activities under the context of ICT which is currently ubiquitous and can be used by students at all times. Dr. Chinnapat said that Thai students participated very little in class as the first 5 minutes were for the lesson introductions, the 20 minutes that followed were for lectures, the next 10 minutes were for demonstrations and only the last 5 minutes were given over to questions and answers. From now on, in-class learning should be reformed through the use of modern technology, just as the students now use tablets to search for information.

"In the future, students will go to class with questions for their teachers. They and their peers will be able to discuss the research topics assigned by their teachers in advance. No one will come to class with an empty brain and wait for teachers to fill it up with knowledge," said Dr. Chinnapat. He added that, if in-class learning was successfully reformed, many schools with limited resources would gain many advantages, especially schools in Southern Thailand, because students would spend less time in class and more time self-learning. However, the infrastructure, the teaching and learning materials and the curriculum need to be prepared and teachers should understand and be ready for the new teaching methodology.

2013 Is Year for Quality Improvement of Private Education: Bandit

(23-04-2013)


The Secretary General of the Office of the Private Education Commission (OPEC), Dr. Bandit Sriphutthangkul, recently announced a policy on private education management entitled, "Quality Improvement of Private Education in 2013". The policy aims to achieve the following eight major goals:

1) Primary students in Grade 4 should communicate fluently in English;

2) Primary students in Grade 3 should read and write Thai very well;

3) Students should have high achievements in mathematics;

4) Private schools should emphasize ways to improve students’abilities to think creatively through the use of proper teaching innovations;

5) Private schools should focus on how to enhance the life skills of their students by integrating Scouting into classroom learning;

6) All vocational students should have employment on graduation;

7) International schools should be certified to international standards; and

8) Non formal and informal schools should prepare for their internal quality assessment.

All the major goals are to deal with any potential changes and the opening of the upcoming ASEAN community. Foreign language learning, in particular, is crucial to upgrade Thailand to be an education hub. As a result, OPEC is highly concerned with this issue. Moreover, there are many private schools, such as Darun Sikkhalai or Sattayasai, which are so high in quality that they can be good models for others because they provide their students with both academic lessons and life skills, concluded Dr. Bandit.

วันพุธที่ 24 เมษายน พ.ศ. 2556

Seeking Measures to Help Exporters Affected by the Stronger Baht

(24/04/2013)

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has instructed appropriate agencies to seek measures to help exporters affected by the ongoing appreciation of the baht.

The Prime Minister said that the impact of the stronger baht was an important issue and that officials involved must take action to assist those suffering from the impact.

In order to cope with the situation, the Prime Minister will call meetings with responsible agencies periodically to discuss ways to deal with the problem. The stronger baht will make Thai products more expensive for overseas buyers.

She believed that if all parties joined hands in handling the issue, the crisis from the strong baht would ease. Asked whether the Government would intervene or not, she said, it is the duty of the Bank of Thailand to take care of the baht value.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said that the Government had set the export growth target at 9 percent in 2013. It needs to keep a close watch on the movements of the foreign exchange market to ensure that the set target will be achieved and Thai products remain competitive in the international market.

He believed that if the baht did not strengthen rapidly, the export sector would be able to continue to grow. In this regard, the Ministry of Finance and other relevant agencies would closely monitor exchange rates.

The Director of the Center for Economic and Business Forecasting, University of Thai Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Thanavath Phonvichai, said that a survey conducted by the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce shows that the appreciation of the baht has led to a decline in Thai exports. According to the survey, 42.1 percent of business operators said that the stronger baht has affected their operations at a high level, resulting in a drop in orders and profits, while 31.6 percent consider the impact moderate. Most of them agreed that the baht should be traded at 30.48 per US dollar. The rate of 29.18 baht per dollar is still acceptable.

The survey also indicates that if the baht strengthens further, some businesses might have to lay off workers. Business operators want the Government to look into this issue by reducing the money exchange fee, bringing down the interest rate, and controlling capital inflow to ensure financial stability. If the baht strengthens to 27 per dollar, the export growth target is likely to drop to only 3 percent.

Mr. Paiboon Kittisrikangwan, Assistant Governor of the Bank of Thailand, stated that the private sector needs to adjust to the new situation. An assessment would be made on the necessity of measures to deal with the situation, since certain measures would produce long-term impacts. He reaffirmed that the current monetary policy rate at 2.75 percent per annum remains favorable to the expansion of credit and the growth of the Thai economy.

Ensuring Justice Emphasized for Peace-Building in the Southern Border Provinces

(23/04/2013) 

The Government has emphasized the principle of ensuring justice, as part of the peace-building process in the southern border provinces.

Deputy Prime Minister Police Captain Chalerm Ubumrung on 22 April 2013 chaired a meeting to listen to public opinions and suggestions on peace-building in the deep South. The meeting was organized by the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center.

At the meeting, Police Captain Chalerm instructed officials responsible for the resolving of southern problems to review various cases in order to eradicate unfair treatment and discrimination. He asked the Commander of the Southern Border Police Operations Center, Police Lieutenant General Paitoon Chuchaiya, to reconsider arrest warrants issued in accordance with the Executive Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations. The executive decree was announced in 2005 as an instrument that would enable state officials to deal with the southern situation more effectively.

He said that the arrest warrants would be revoked, if evidence was insufficient to charge the persons suspected of creating unrest in the South.

Police Captain Chalerm stressed that the authorities must ensure justice for local residents, saying that arrest warrants should be issued only when there was clear evidence.

Concerning the possibility of replacing the emergency decree with the Internal Security Act in more areas where the situation has improved, he said, the respective areas should send reports to the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center. The report will be further submitted to the Cabinet for consideration.

A group of Muslim Thais proposed that the Government appoint a Director-General of the Islamic Religious Affairs Department to supervise Islamic affairs in Thailand and adopt religious principles as guidelines for easing conflicts. It stated that each faith needs to provide proper religious teachings and principles to the people.

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm urged all relevant agencies to propose projects, such as those concerning education, security, and social development, in order to seek budget allocations for the development of the five southern border provinces, name Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat, Satun, and Songkhla.

He said that the Government has good intentions toward all groups of Thais, regardless of their faiths. It focuses on peaceful means in dealing with the southern situation and on enhancing better understanding between local people and between officials and local residents. The roles of religion and culture will also be emphasized in the peace-building process in the southern border provinces.

Thai-Cambodian Relations to Remain Cordial Regardless of the International Court of Justice Ruling

(22/04/2013)

The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mr. Surapong Tovichakchaikul, has stated that relations between Thailand and Cambodia would remain normal whatever the International Court of Justice’s verdict on Phra Viharn temple would be.

In the weekly program “Yingluck Government Meets the People,” broadcast on the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand (NBT) and Radio Thailand on 20 April 2013, Mr. Surapong spoke about the Court’s public hearings on Phra Viharn from 15 to 19 April 2013 in The Hague.

Mr. Surapong said that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, in their several meetings, emphasized that both countries would accept whatever the International Court of Justice’s verdict on the issue may be. They would not allow the case to undermine Thai-Cambodian relations in various areas.

Mr. Surapong said that what he would like to see was that Thailand and Cambodia would continue to co-exist as neighbors and jointly develop the temple and the surrounding area. He and Mr. Hor Namhong, Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, also stressed close bilateral relations between Thailand and Cambodia.

He pointed out that when the ASEAN Community is in place in 2015, Thailand and Cambodia will become inseparable. Like Laos and Myanmar, Cambodia shares many cultural similarities with Thailand. He explained that demarcation lines are likely to be meaningless, following the integration of ASEAN countries into a single community. So the best way forward is that both Thailand and Cambodia co-exist with good relations.

Meanwhile, the Thai Ambassador to The Hague, Mr. Virachai Plasai, who led the Thai legal team at the Court’s public hearings, said that Cambodia in 2007 unilaterally proposed the temple for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thailand emphasized its stance that the inclusion of the Temple of Phra Viharn on the UNESCO World Heritage List should be agreed jointly by both countries.

Cambodia and Thailand have claimed the area of 4.6 square kilometers surrounding the temple. After its listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, the area has become the focus of a territorial dispute between the two countries.

Cambodia had asked the International Court of Justice to interpret its 1962 judgment in the case concerning the Temple of Phra Viharn by defining the terms “territory under the sovereignty of Cambodia” and the temple’s “vicinity.” The Court ruling in 1962 stated that the Temple of Phra Viharn is on Cambodian soil, without mentioning the border demarcation.

Mr. Virachai said that since Cambodia had submitted its request to the Court for an interpretation, Thailand needed to defend its position in the case. The Court ruling on the issue will be delivered in late 2013.

Prime Minister to Pay an Official Visit to Mongolia

(21/04/2013)

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will pay an official visit to Mongolia to strengthen bilateral relations and promote further cooperation between the two countries.

She will be the first Thai Prime Minister ever to visit Mongolia, scheduled for 27-30 April 2013.

On this occasion, the Prime Minister will deliver a keynote statement at the seventh Ministerial Meeting of the Community of Democracies in Ulaanbaatar on 29 April as the guest of honor of the President of Mongolia. She will focus on Thailand’s leading role in empowering people, particularly at the grassroots level, in order to strengthen sustainable democracy.

A report from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the Prime Minister will also touch on Thailand’s adherence to the rule of law and democracy, as well as their inter-linkage with sustainable development. Such inter-linkage should be acknowledged in the context of the United Nations and the post-2015 international development agenda. Thailand will continue to work with all partners to promote democratic development.

As an active member of the global community, Thailand is committed to promoting democracy and human rights, regardless of gender, age, physical ability or economic status. For Thailand, raising global awareness on the significance of empowering people, especially by eradicating inequality and promoting inclusiveness, is also vital in order to ensure sustainable democratic growth.

Thailand has placed importance on Education for Democracy as a key mechanism for inculcating lifelong awareness of citizenship and democratic values into the people. Apart from co-sponsoring the resolution on Education for Democracy at the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly and adhering to the core international human rights conventions regarding this issue, Thailand has domestically applied the student-centered approach to education in order to strengthen the development of students’ democratic awareness, behavior, attitudes and values in a way that is physically, intellectually, and morally balanced.

Concerning Thai-Mongolian relations, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn visited Mongolia in 2009. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Mongolia, Mr. Gombojav Zandanshatar, visited Thailand in late 2010.

Mongolia has also sent officials to learn more about Thailand’s development experience. It also hopes to become a dialogue partner of ASEAN in the future.

Both countries have close cooperation in combating human trafficking, SME development, ICT cooperation, and climate change. In recent years, Thai investors have taken a keen interest in investment in Mongolia in the areas of mining, hospitality, housing development, agro-industry, and infrastructure.

Thailand has stressed the need for both countries to strengthen people-to-people contact and increase the frequency of charter flights between them.