Quality is the challenge, quality is the concern : Dr Pavich Tongroach, Commission on Higher Education
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Quality is the challenge, quality is the concern : Dr Pavich Tongroach, Commission on Higher Education

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 What are the challenges of higher education in Thailand?

The challenges are same as everywhere in the world. In terms of manpower development we have to create manpower for the country who could push the society ahead. Hence we have to deliver good quality product. This is what the society expects from us. So quality is the main challenge in terms of human resource development and knowledge development, the research being either for basic knowledge or acquired knowledge

 What is the policy focus of higher education in Thailand!

The policy is based on our situation. Thailand is doing quite well in terms of quantity. All together we have around 137 universities plus some other higher learning institutions so we have close to 200. This is a little too many for quite a small country. In terms of intake, we seem to be able to take care of all the demands coming from high schools. If all the students who qualify school are going to university, the chances are they will be accepted in university. However, the major concern is the quality. It does not mean we have problems with quality as such, but we have a wide range of quality, based on so many no universities. At the far end we have universities, which are ranked as world best and the others, which are trying to upgrade the academic curriculum.

 Are the quality standards same for private and Government university? Is there any difference in the way they are enforced?

The standards are similar for private and Government Universities. The quality standard assurance agency is not very old. The agency has completely one cycle of 5 years of quality check, and is starting on the second cycle, which has more stringent rules for better quality.

 How are ICTs being used in higher education in Thailand to build human resource that can become a part of the knowledge society and can address the challenges of globalization?

ICTs are being used extensively in higher education in Thailand. At the university level we give them freedom and independence to develop their own infrastructure. Its quite common that each lecturer will have his own website, academic department will have their own server which is a part of the campus network. At the national level our commission is running the inter-university network called the UniNet. UniNet is one of the strongest private network in the country. This is also linked to the international network in the US and its interconnection of universities in North America and also with the pacific network of universities. We have wide scope of potentiality to link internationally via the ICT.

Recently Thailand has come up with a very interesting and innovative initiative- the Thailand Cyber University. It

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