On 17 May 2013, at 5.30 p.m., the Minister of Education, Mr. Phongthep Thepkanjana, gave advice to students who had won scholarships in the 4th One District One Scholarship (ODOS) program before they went to study at universities in and outside Thailand.
Congratulating 98 scholarship holders, the Minister said that ODOS was a rare and very worthwhile project that allowed students themselves to choose their areas of study and where to go. Moreover, once they have completed their degrees, the students will not have to do anything in return for the funding even though some students will spend from 400,000 Baht to 1.5 million Baht a year for some courses.
The Thai government does not require that all scholars should do anything in return for the funding because it believes that they are Thai people who will be aware of the need to help the country in one way or another when they are academically successful.
The following are some words of advice the Education Minister gave to all ODOS scholars:
- At the higher education level, students should be able to realize who they want to be and what they want to do. This is the major goal of university students. Selecting where to study is important because there are many universities around the world, but students should know their capacity and academic skills. If they are not sure, students should discuss it with their advisor as early as possible.
- There are two options when choosing academic institutions to study. The first one includes institutions that teach in non-English languages like those in France, Spain, Germany or Portugal. The second one is those using English as a teaching language. Some courses like literature are difficult for students who do not know native languages other than English well. However, the Netherlands and Hungary offer English courses together with their native language. In this situation, students will learn both English and another foreign language while studying there.
- The criteria for accepting students vary in each country. Those with high ranking s will limit the number of applicants. However, some European or American universities with low rankings may not accept applicants easily while those in other countries will be glad to accept foreign students.
- Studying science is easier than social sciences or humanities because students may not have to know language very well or profoundly. Moreover, in France, courses focus on practicum with tutors. Students can graduate although they may not be particularly fluent in French.
After the Minister gave this advice, student representatives thanked the Thai government and the Ministry of Education for their support of higher education. The students promised to study hard and to help improve the country when they finish their studies.