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Lifelong Education for Thai People to Prepare for the ASEAN Community

Posted on 01 April 2013 by ABPC

With Thailand progressing all the time, the need for better education and role of education is becoming more and more important. Thailand has recently announced plans for a “Lifelong Education” for Thai Nationals. The following article is taken from the: http://thailand.prd.go.th/view_news.php?id=6688&a=3 website.
A study shows that Thailand needs to encourage educational institutions and their networks to promote lifelong education among the people, in order to prepare them for the soon-to-be ASEAN Community.

The Secretary-General of the Office of the Non-Formal and Informal Education, Mr. Prasert Boonruang, quoted the study, which states that there will be both advantaged and disadvantaged groups in Thai society when ASEAN becomes a single community.

The advantaged group comprises highly educated people, who are knowledge workers and skilled workers, and large companies with huge capital and high technology that enable them to expand trade and investment to other markets.

The disadvantaged group consists of the poor, low-educated persons, and unskilled workers. Most of them are farmers, about 50 million in number.

The study suggests that public relations campaigns be launched on impacts of the ASEAN Community on poor people. The process of lifelong education should be made clear. Study courses should be developed for each affected occupational group, in addition to knowledge and information on the ASEAN Community. A new law should also be worked out to promote lifelong education.

Meanwhile, former ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan suggested that three major tasks be carried out urgently in preparation for the arrival of ASEAN integration. The first task is that all government agencies should review their roles and missions, while adjusting their operations. The Office of the Civil Service Commission should serve as a major agency in helping prepare civil servants for the ASEAN Community.

The second task is that education and research must receive greater attention. The education sector must be ready to produce personnel and develop human resources for the future. Thailand also needs to attach greater importance to investment in research and development. Notably, research and development contribute to sustainable economic growth. In 2007, Thailand spent only 315 million US dollars, accounting for 0.21 percent of GDP, on research and development.

The third task is that civil society must be aware of the importance of ASEAN as well, as it will help move the country forward. So it needs to adjust to the new situation, in terms of education and language skills.

Mr. Surin said that Thailand would not be able to avoid greater competition following the realization of the ASEAN Economic Community, or even in the world economy. He said that preparation for the ASEAN Community was not enough, as more connectivity would be seen in the region. In this regard, he said, Thailand should be more proactive and learn more about practices in foreign countries.

Ten ASEAN member countries, with a combined population of 600 million, will become a single community in 2015.

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