FRIDAY, April 19, 2024

Thailand and UK foster universities’ potential

Thailand and UK foster universities’ potential

The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation and the British Council are continuing to foster the project to boost the potential of Thai and United Kingdom universities to advance and promote education at the tertiary level.

The ministry called a press conference at Pullman Bangkok King Power Hotel last week to provide an update on the project’s progress, detailing international networks and reforms to academic teaching, advanced research, and comprehensive institutional development that have happened since the project’s launch in 2021.

Danny Whitehead, director of the British Council in Thailand, Punpermsak Arunee, the Higher Education Ministry’s head of strategic management mission group, and Suphachitra Chatchawan of Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Science were among the six speakers at the conference.

The ministry says the goal is to elevate education standards towards producing high-quality graduates, a critical mechanism in driving the country’s economic and social stability.

Thailand and UK foster universities’ potential

Whitehead said the project is one of the most powerful ways that Thai and British scientists, researchers, academics and universities can work together to address some of the biggest global challenges such as climate change, health, sustainable agriculture, and peace and security.

As part of efforts to break into the top 100 global university rankings, seven Thai universities are participating in this year’s project: Chulalongkorn University, Kasetsart University, Chiang Mai University, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Mahidol University, Thammasat University, and Naresuan University.

He said the agency is supporting Thai universities in five areas: promoting transnational education between the two countries, supporting funds for science and research partnerships to address global issues, encouraging students to study in Thai and British universities, boosting language literacy for effective collaboration, and promoting two-way relationships for mutual benefits.

“These partnerships also drive economic development and build greater trust and understanding between the people of the UK and the people of Thailand,” he said.

Punpermsak said this project is in line with the ministry’s project to reinvent universities to meet international standards and boost Thailand’s competitiveness.

“Strategy is the engine of growth as universities have knowledge to conduct research and innovation to meet the country's demand, such as electric vehicles [EVs], artificial intelligence and rail transport,” he said.

Thailand and UK foster universities’ potential

Thai-UK collaboration paid off

The success over the past three years of the project was reflected through 23 collaborative projects. For example, Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine and University College London have conducted postgraduate medical studies focusing on audiology and self-adjustment for the first time in Thailand.

Apart from attracting physicians from other countries to study at Chulalongkorn University, this collaboration has led to innovations in advanced care for hearing-impaired patients and self-screening through a mobile application, which is currently available for free download.

Mahidol University’s Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities and the University of Reading have successfully developed an international double-degree in Society Design Development Programme, aiming to incubate change agents to gain knowledge and qualifications from both Thai and British universities.

Suphachitra Chatchawan of Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Science said the collaboration with the University of Liverpool has facilitated joint research efforts between researchers and professors from both universities.

“This collaboration, utilising the expertise of both parties to address research topics of mutual interest, has resulted in more in-depth research outcomes,” she said.

“Additionally, the development of research through this collaboration has led to Thai students participating in the programme through the Dual Doctor of Philosophy Programme, contributing to the development of new researchers in related research fields in the future.”

She added that new Thai researchers have begun to co-publish with UK researchers as a result of this collaboration.

Thailand and UK foster universities’ potential

Thai universities’ statuses

According to QS World University Rankings among 1,500 universities in 14 countries this year, Chulalongkorn University was ranked 211st among best universities, followed by Mahidol University (382nd), Chiang Mai University (571st) and Thammasat University (600th).

Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States was top among the best universities. It was followed by two British universities, University of Cambridge and University of Oxford. The United States’ Harvard University and Stanford University came in fourth and fifth respectively.