The Assistant to the Minister of Education, Dr. Phuangphet Chunlaiad, as the Chair of the committee for mobilization towards the ASEAN Community for the Ministry of Education in Thailand, attended a committee meeting on 9 May 2013.
Dr. Phuangphet said that the committee had acknowledged some urgent topics, proposed by major affiliates of the Ministry of Education, in preparation for the ASEAN Community. The topics are as follows:
The Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) will emphasize improving Thai students' English skills and their understanding of the languages of neighboring countries in addition to knowledge of ASEAN and its diverse cultures. On 10 May, it launched a meeting to brainstorm the promotion and campaigning for English skill development.
The Office of the Education Council (OEC) will be responsible for formulating a framework on national qualifications and connecting it with that of ASEAN under the resolution from the Thai cabinet of 8 January 2013. It is now planning a workshop on putting the framework into practice and connecting it with the strategies for the four regions of Thailand. Also, it is mapping a pilot project for future operation.
The Office of the Permanent Secretary of Education is in charge of regulations, international activities and a program on ASEAN teacher and youth exchange. In December, 2013, it will organize a workshop on the best practices from all ASEAN countries.
The Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC) will prepare for mobility of seven professions and 32 positions as well as human resources development to suit the needs of the labor market. This work will be done with the cooperation of different ministries in the country.
The Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC) will take care of producing and improving teachers and preparing Thai universities to be “international education centers". Now, Thai universities are offering 1,017 international courses for 344 bachelor degrees, 394 master degrees and 249 doctorate degrees in addition to 30 training programs. In the fiscal year of 2014, three universities in Thailand: Suranaree Technological University, Mahidol University and Mae Fah Luang University will commence a pilot project as international education centers.
The Office of Non-Formal and Informal Education, in conjunction with OBEC, will take care of the establishment of ASEAN Study Centers in both the central and regional parts of Thailand. These centers will provide free mobile tablets and snacks.
The Office of the Private Education Commission (OPEC) will take care of the relevant rules and regulation concerning foreign teachers in Thailand and the extension of their visa applications and work permits. If possible, some relevant laws will be amended for education in ASEAN and other continents.
The Ministry of Education will present all the activities proposed at the meeting at the “Go to ASEAN” festival at the end of June in Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok. Presided over by the Prime Minister, the festival will highlight the “Speak English Now!” campaign and the ASEAN Bus.