By Visarut Sankham
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) entitled “Competitive Workforce”– a promising cooperative project to improve vocational education’s quality and support student competitiveness – was signed recently in Bangkok.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, in charge of economic affairs, said the MOU was aimed at eventually moving the country to have a high-income economy with inclusive growth.
He has assigned the “Competitive Workforce” committee so that vocational education is specialised for each industry. The first period of the project will be evaluated after two years.
Somkid said that Thailand’s declining economy was not just affected by a world economic depression, it also relied on Thailand’s competitive spirit – so it was vital to improve the standard of vocational students.
Taking part in the signing ceremony were the ministries of Education, Industry, Labour, and 13 leading companies. They were:
Siam Cement, Bangkok Airways, CH Karnchang, Summit Auto Body, CP All Public, Thai President Foods, Kasikornbank Plc, Mitr Phol Group, Ritta, Central Department Store, IRPC, ICC International and Honda Automobile.
Minister of Education General Dapong Ratanasuwan said yesterday the project to improve vocational education had five main goals. These included encouraging students to join vocational schools, increasing vocational student quantity to sustain national development, improving the quality of vocational students so it is accepted by business owners, improving student excellence by specialisation in several aspects with help from the private sector, and improving vocational education to a global standard by cooperating with other countries.
In such a project the government would help by being a coordinator between private agencies to access government data, adjusting the policy to support |promotion of vocational education, and providing resources or funding.
Strategy to re-brand reputation of colleges
The CEO of Siam Cement, Rungroj Rangsiyopas, said that, as a representative from the private sector, the project could be divided into two phases.
This included a “Quick Win” six-month strategy like re-branding vocational schools’ reputations, building model schools of excellence, and developing a database on supply and demand to support business needs.
Second, the mid- and long-term operation for improving vocational education included the following key facets: establishing job standards highlighting |competitiveness, adjusting the law to benefit |vocational education, adding the project to the National Economic and Social Development Plan, establishing a unit to gather and create a vocational education database, and improving vocational school courses.