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Trial project promises ‘great teaching methods’ for STEM

Jan 17. 2016
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SOME 14 vocational colleges have been selected for a pilot project promoting studies in mathematics and science among vocational students.
A memorandum of understanding was inked on Friday by the Office of Vocational Education Commission (Ovec), the Kenan Institute Asia, and Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production.
It was another part of the company’s 5-year project to promote performance, career opportunities and potential among Thai vocational students.
The “Enjoy Science” project aims to improve vocational students’ performance via STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
Calling the project the first adoption of vocational education’s STEM integration, Ovec secretary-general Chaipreuk Sereerak said “Enjoy Science” would bring great teaching methods to vocational and technical education courses.
The pilot vocational schools are: Chachoengsao Technical College, Chulabhorn (Ladkwang) Technical College, Nakhon Nayok Technical College, Chon Buri Technical College, Prachin Buri Technical College, Suphan Buri Technical College, Chiang Mai Technical College, Phrae Technical College, Nan Technical College, Phayao Technical College, Hat Yai Technical College, Rayong Technical College, Map Ta Phut Technical College and Fang Vocational Education College.
The project will be expanded to cover 60 colleges within five years, it was announced.
Under the project, STEM body of knowledge activities would be integrated into vocational education management to train and develop a network of academic mentors for vocational skills in regional- or industrial group-levels known as Technical Vocational Education and Training Hub (TVET Hub).
The integration would focus on four branches including automotive, oil and gas, microelectronics, and agro-industry.
The Bt1-billion “Enjoy Science” project is a five-year plan to develop teachers and students’ potential in STEM and promote awareness of STEM learning. 
The project will develop 18 centres for STEM learning: 12 for formal education and six for vocational education, benefiting 500,000 teachers, students and educational personnel at 600 institutes of formal and vocational streams nationwide – among whom some 100,000 would be those from vocational and technical colleges.
Kenan Institute Asia president Piyabutr Cholvijarn said this project was a public-private collaboration to tackle the shortage of professional labour via improvement of students and education system. He hoped it would supply good quality and skilled manpower to meet employers’ needs and elevate the country’s ability to compete with other nations in Asia.
‘Helping fill key labour shortages’
Hatairat Articharte, Chevron Thailand’s manager of policy government and public affairs, said the key to increasing Thailand competitiveness was to promote good quality vocational students. The “Enjoy Science” project would come in handy for that and also help the Kingdom to meet economic challenges, including skilled and technology-savvy labour shortages. She hoped this project would respond to companies’ needs and sustainably boost career opportunities for young people.
She said two TVET Hub centres were already established in Samut Sakhon and Chiang Mai.
Previously, the “Enjoy Science” project also signed collaboration agreements with various agencies including the Science and Technology Ministry’s National Science Museum to launch an exhibition introducing 10 STEM-related careers to Thai youths. They were chemistry-expert pharmacy; petroleum geology; food science; cosmetic science; forensic science; plant breeding; product design; biomedical engineering; software development and animation designing and creation.

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