By THE NATION
THOUSANDS OF students are expected to rally in front of the Office of Higher Education Commission (Ohec) tomorrow against what they say are serious flaws in the new university admission system.
An online petition on Change.org, which collected 9,000 signatures in just 17 hours, has encouraged supporters to gather at the Ohec headquarters in Bangkok’s Ratchathewi district at 10am tomorrow.
The rally is intended to pressure the Council of University Presidents of Thailand (CUPT) to help students who are having difficulties enrolling from the third round of the Thai University Central Admission System (TCAS).
After the recent announcement of the third round’s results, a large number of students have vented their frustration online. They believe they failed to secure a seat at their chosen higher-educational institute because TCAS has not yet excluded candidates who are planning to enrol at a medical school.
A recent review showed that 75 of 110 successful candidates at Chulalongkorn University’s (CU) Faculty of Economics are also on the list of successful candidates for medical schools.
One student lamented that she was unable to secure a seat at the CU Faculty of Psychology despite her scores of about 90 per cent.
CUPT secretary general Prasert Kanthamanon said students had |the right to rally and air their |opinion “but they also should study all relevant information”.
He said that every student would be able to take just one seat under TCAS. “If their scores allow a student to have many choices now, he or she will have only one choice between June 1 and 3,” he said, adding that he believed TCAS was a fair admission system.
Used for the first time this year, TCAS features five rounds.
Students can join any of the five rounds, but once they confirm their choice they cannot apply and block another seat at a higher-education institute.
The first round sees |applicants selected based on their portfolios and interviews.
The second round features a quota system where applicants are required to submit scores from the Ordinary National Education Test (Onet), the General Aptitude Test (Gat), the Professional Aptitude Test (Pat) and other tests that universities deem appropriate.
The third round is for joint admission schemes, such as that operated by the Consortium of Thai Medical Schools.
About 100,000 students were offered a seat at the institute of their choice in the third round.
Those who have not yet secured a seat by the end of the third round can join the fourth round. Applications for the fourth round can be submitted next month.
The list of successful applicants will be released on July 13. The fifth round will start after that.
Students who have signed the online petition and expressed their intention to rally, said they could not wait until the fourth round.
According to them, the one-month wait is painful for those who have not yet secured a seat at their favourite university. As well, they point out that the fourth round will have different criteria than the third round.
A source with knowledge of the situation said CUPT president Suchatvee Suwansawat would convene an urgent with his members, Ohec and student representatives today to discuss the problems.