Thailand is upgrading its approach to education, ensuring learners will acquire skills to meet the demands of a competitive labor force.
Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan said the plan will “unlock, change and widen” education to ensure human capital is strengthened for Thailand’s future.
Thailand’s Education Ministry is looking to build the capacity of teachers and learners in primary, secondary, and vocational schools to develop specialized skills for various career paths.
“The 21st century has presented itself as an era where growth in knowledge is rapidly changing at an exponential rate. Consequently, the global supply of skilled labor becomes more competitive to meet new expectations. Hence, the need for individuals to become adaptive in a fast-paced environment becomes critical. The problem is straightforward, Thai education has yet to move much at all,” Nataphol was quoted as saying by The Bangkok Post.
The Thai government’s education overhaul also echoes Southeast Asia’s EdTech scene focus on upskilling and reskilling. Efforts by Thai startups such as Conicle and SkillLane are enhancing the capacity of learners through digital training and data-driven approaches to personalized learning.
According to Nataphol, supply and demand mechanisms will provide the new education model with real-time information on the skills sought by local and foreign employers.
Three pillars will be responsible for building Thailand’s sustainable education eco-system: Human Capital Excellence Center (HCEC), a human resources unit to meet business and industrial needs; Digital Education Excellence Platform (DEEP), an online learning hub accessible to students, teachers, and the general public; and Excellence Individual Development Plan (EIDP) for lifelong learning.
“Thai education must shift in a way where students depart from their ‘fixed mindset’ of the past and begin to incorporate a ‘growth mindset’ in their daily lives,” Nataphol said.
Curriculum and guidelines will be established to produce quality teachers and administrative bodies that demand greater management skills.
A new evaluation process will be set for new teachers, setting a path for self-growth and higher positions in teaching. New modes of assessment of student performance will have less reliance on testing.
Pandemic prepared teachers
COVID-19 and a sudden shift to online learning was “a blessing in disguise,” said Nathapol, in an interview with The Singapore Straits Times.
He said less than 50 percent of Thai teachers had basic digital skills. School closures brought on by the pandemic forced teachers to learn how to deliver lessons through video conferencing and other digital means. Now 98 percent of teachers are proficient.
“They learned from their fellow teachers, younger teachers. They learned among themselves. They learned from their children. They learned from whomever they could, without full assistance from the ministry of education,” said Nataphol.
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha also joined Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan at the opening of the Thailand Education Eco-System forum on developing human resources for the 21st century at True Digital Park in Bangkok.