By WATCHIRANONT THONGTEP
However, leaders in the industrial sector, educational institutes and top companies suggested that the Thai education sector and policymakers should establish a deeper collaboration in human-resource development to respond to real demand in the market, as the major industries in the Kingdom still lack quality labour forces.
Referring to research on education for industrial human-resource development, Shuichi Ikeda, chief representative from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Thailand Office, said technical schools did not satisfy the needs of industry in either quantity or quality. In addition, capacities of technical and vocational schools need to be strengthened to achieve the expected educational outputs for upgrading industry.
To deal with those problems, Teerakiat Jareonsettasin, deputy minister of education, said the government needed to invest in human capital, creating a market-friendly environment with strong support from the financial sector.
“I would like to suggest that liberalisation of universities is crucial as well as promoting free and fair competition for overseas educational institutions to improve quality. In line with this, we need to raise universities’ involvement in mega-projects and the private sectors’ projects,” Teerakiat said.
Bandhit Rojarayanont, president of the Thai-Nichi Institute of Technology, said that from his experience of 43 years in human-resource development involving about 3,000 to 4,000 companies, 20 per cent of those firms said they needed engineers equipped with communication skills in English and Japanese along with “soft skills”. “English communication skills are a must while Japanese skills are surplus,” Bandhit said, adding that soft skills would be able to help them get along with corporate culture.
Shiro Sadoshima, Japan’s ambassador to Thailand, said yesterday that Thailand and Japan had a win-win relationship. To avoid the middle-income trap and change the current labour-intensive structure to a knowledge-intensive structure, it was crucial that industries should have sufficient capabilities to create their own original and innovative products. Kyoichi Tanada, president of Toyota Motor Thailand, said his company was continuing to support a programme to send Thai engineers to be trained in Japan.
He said the company wanted to see Thais qualified to be chief engineers in Toyota’s research and development facilities here.
“We hope to create quality Thai chief engineers within 10 years,” he said.