THE ConsultancyTHE Consultancy collaborates with Thai universities to launch national survey on education for sustainable development

THE Consultancy collaborates with Thai universities to launch national survey on education for sustainable development

The THE Consultancy team took a trip to Thailand to discuss strategies to improve sustainable development in education

As part of the THE Consultancy’s ongoing engagement with Thailand’s Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation (MHESI), our team recently embarked on a fieldwork trip to Bangkok from 3 to 7 October 2022. The THE Consultancy team was hosted by the MHESI team and six Thai institutions: Chulalongkorn, Burapha, Thammasat, Suan Sunandha Rajabhat, Srinakharinwirot and Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat universities, and their various stakeholders. The six universities were chosen from across the five tiers of Thai universities to ensure a fair representation of the country’s diverse higher education landscape.

The main objectives of the trip were to gather feedback from various stakeholders through a series of focus groups about the most effective way to reach students and boost survey completion, as well as to speak to staff and students about survey design. The team also had an in-depth discussion with Chulalongkorn University – the Thai university that placed highest in the THE Impact Rankings 2022 – to refine the topic guide to focus on key aspects of education for sustainable development.

The feedback gathered will inform the next phase of THE Consultancy’s engagement with MHESI, which is to design a national student sustainability survey. The survey will be aimed at final-year undergraduate students and will monitor long-term student outcomes as a result of Thai education for sustainable development. Data from the survey will be used to gauge effectiveness in university outreach activities and identify gaps in teaching and curricula that will facilitate the further improvement of Thailand’s education for sustainable development.

A major theme that emerged from the team’s conversations with the six universities was that standardising a set of desired sustainable outcomes will be complex and difficult. Each university has a different specialty and thus different strategic needs regarding sustainable development.

The team was heartened to learn that Thai students were very aware of sustainability and the importance of student empowerment within the university ecosystem. Some students mentioned the prevalence of student-led sustainability activities, stating that they had chosen their university because of its existing sustainability efforts.

THE Consultancy also learnt how Thai universities approach sustainable education through community-led and problem-based learning. This approach cultivates an understanding of the impact students can have on the development of Thailand and the wider world. As a result, students recognised that sustainability extends beyond classroom learning and stretches to activities including sustainable living and community outreach.

The team had an enjoyable and fruitful trip, none of which would have been possible without the gracious reception and hospitality of all our partner universities and MHESI. We are excited to embark on the next phase of the project, which is to develop a template for the survey, accounting for student, faculty and university leader feedback received during the focus group. We will also develop a plan for communicating the survey to students.

Contact the THE Consultancy team for more information about how it provides strategic, data-driven guidance to universities and governments globally.

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