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Thai university admission system revamped in response to criticism

Aug 20. 2018
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By CHULEEPORN ARAMNET
THE NATION

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THE THAI UNIVERSITY Central Admission System (TCAS) has devised a new schedule and new rules, aiming at solving problems detected earlier this year.

“We will reduce the TCAS period to just six and a half months in the coming year,” Professor Suchatvee Suwansawat said in his capacity as the head of Council of University Presidents of Thailand (CUPT).

He also promised to lower the TCAS fees: the test fee for each academic field in the third round will drop from Bt200 to Bt100, and the management fee will also be halved, from Bt100 to Bt50. 

The additional key conditions from the new TCAS are: each successful applicant can turn down an allocated spot just once; the third round will require applicants to prioritise their choices; and the seat will be allocated based on the prioritised list in the third round for successful candidates.

“But this time, applicants will be able to list six programmes in the third round,” Suchatvee said. 

Earlier this year, TCAS was widely criticised because its third round did not require prioritisation of four choices. Successful applicants, with very high scores, were offered four seats from four programmes while many others simply did not get any offers at all. Candidates securing seats at medical schools were found to have dominated the list of successful applicants in many other programmes including the communication arts. Although these highly successful candidates were required to choose just one programme at the end of the third round, the fact that they were offered up to five seats meant several applicants emerged from the third round empty-handed. 

Suchatvee said the new rules and schedule of the TCAS were prepared after three committees were set up to evaluate the implementation of the TCAS in its first year, to study ways to improve it and to upgrade the relevant IT system. 

“But the TCAS will still have five rounds,” he maintained. In the first round, the student’s portfolio is the main criterion. In the second round, quota seats are offered to specific groups of students, such as sports talents or those living in the chosen institute’s home region. The third round sees applicants sitting academic exams, whose scores determine which choice becomes available to them. 

In the fourth round, the criteria are accumulated as grade point average, Ordinary National Educational Test (Onet) scores and General Aptitude Test (GAT)/Professional Aptitude Test (PAT) scores.

The fifth round features direct admission by each university.

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