By Nattaphat Phromkaew
Many high schools have already adopted vocational classrooms, particularly those in the deep South such as in Yala and Narathiwas provinces.
In addition to traditional curriculum, the vocational classroom teaches skills that are in high demand in the workplace. In a policy passed down from Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, lessons are customised to meet local community demand, said Sansern.
He points to Betong Wiraratprasarn School in Betong district of Yala province, which is collaborating with Betong Industrial and Community College to open a new curriculum of hotel management and domestic science. It reflects the skills demand of the community as it develops into a tourist city, Sansern added.
Suwan Wittayakom School in Narathiwas launched a similar project, he adds.
A new curriculum of business, computer, and welding would be open for its first cohort of students in the upcoming semester, he said.
Students would receive two degrees — high school and vocational diplomas. They’ll be trained to meet the workforce needs from the area’s booming investment and construction industries.
Students after graduation could choose whether to go to college or to work, Sansern said. Those thinking about becoming an entrepreneur could also choose to take a basic business administration course upon graduation.
Six schools in special development zones have adopted the policy and launched the project. Three are in Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwas. The others are in Chiang Rai and Tak.
PM Prayut had shown support for schools working on the project, which he sees as giving more choices to students, Sansern said.
The PM has also stressed to the education ministry that they work with local businesses and the community to ensure that graduates meet their needs, he said.
Parents also have a role, Sansern said. They need to understand that vocational students are no less competent than others. Rather, they could start working and earning earlier than others.
In the future, the projects will be developed in other areas across the country, he said.