Thais look to UK for learning excellence

April 30, 1999

Thailand's Ministry of University Affairs has called on British politicians and education leaders to broker more partnerships between Thai and British higher education institutions, writes Tony Tysome.

The move is seen by the MUA as an important step in Thailand's bid to become a centre of excellence in higher education.

Thai ministers and government officials, who were in London earlier this month to meet higher education minister Baroness Blackstone, are aiming for a tenfold increase in the number of foreign students taking courses at Thai universities.

They are hoping that stronger links with British institutions will help market Thai courses as a quality option for students from neighbouring countries such as Laos, Burma, Cambodia and Vietnam.

The MUA is considering the British higher education quality assurance system as one possible model for a new quality system to be introduced in Thailand as part of wide-ranging reforms in the university sector.

Prachuab Chaiyasan, the Thai minister of university affairs, said he wanted to work with the British Council to set up a matchmaking and promotional centre for Thai and British institutions in Thailand.

He is hoping to revive plans for a British University in Thailand, shelved last year by Nottingham and Exeter universities after their private backer pulled out following the Thai economic crisis.

A spokesman for the British Council said Mr Prachuab's proposals were likely to bring a positive response from British universities.

"We will try to encourage institutions to start thinking again about the possibility of partnerships and a British campus in Thailand," he said.

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