The Deputy Minister of Education, Mr. Sermsak Pongpanit, visited Pattani on 22 May 2013 to monitor the Pattani Community College and present the policy of the Education Ministry at a seminar, "Ways towards Community Colleges and Policy on Mobilizing the Drafted Act of Community Colleges".
Mr. Sermsak said that this visit also enabled him to meet local people in Pattani which was a good occasion because he believed that knowing other people was equal to half way on the road to success.
Mr. Sermsak added that this seminar was very important because Thailand had 20 community colleges responsible for solving socio-economic problems while developing and creating professions for local communities. In Pattani, Yala, Narathiwas, Satul and Songkhla, there are five community colleges. This symbolizes the strong determination of the Thai government to make use of education to bring peace back to the deep south.
According to Mr. Sermsak, Thai Community Colleges were originally initiated by the former Prime Minister, Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra, in 2001 who wanted them to be academic institutes for 30 milkion working people all over the country. At that time, Dr. Sirikorn Maneerin, the then Deputy Education Minister, successfully mobilized seven Community Colleges during 2002 until 2011. This year marks the first decade of the Colleges.
For the next decade of Community College establishment, Mr. Sermsak then proposed three main tracks of development as follows:
1) area-based administration for an educational management structure that is useful for creating and developing the professions of the local people;
2) a competency-based curriculum which is important for strengthening both the community and knowledge of graduates; and
3) a community-based curriculum which upholds the philosophy of all Community Colleges, "Teach by Community and Use Community's Questions to Develop It".
To create professions and develop the country at the same time, Community Colleges need to connect local community development and socio-economic imorovement more. At the same time, they have to maintain traditional culture and lifestyle of the community so that the "major education of local communities" will no longer be an alternative education anymore.
At present, administration of Community Colleges is under the ministerial regulations which do not accommodate much to their work. The Ministry of Education will propose to change them to reflect the regulations of Thai universities on 28 May 2013. Mr. Sermsak said that he would finish the work as quickly as possible so that the new regulations will be implemented for all Community Colleges in Thailand.
Finally, Mr. Sermsak reconfirmed that the Community Colleges would not be merged with the non-formal and informal education because their intention and vision were different.