Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University (STOU) has developed its first international programmes to prepare students for the advent of the Asean Economic Community in 2015.
STOU, one of two open universities offering distance-learning programmes to Thai citizens, will soon open its courses up to all citizens of all Asean countries.
Assoc Prof Chailerd Pichitpornchai, the newly appointed STOU rector, said the school has developed a range of international programmes to prepare students for regional integration in 2015 and to draw residents from other Asean countries who wish to study in Thailand.
"Our strength is distance education," Mr Chailerd said. "Students across Asean can learn from their homes and then take examinations at selected places near them."
The university's first international programme, the Master of Communication Arts, will be launched in the 2014 academic year.
"We have not just translated our existing programme into English. It has been co-designed with Open University Malaysia and the University of the Philippines Open University," Mr Chailard said.
The programme is web-based and aims to teach graduates to apply the principles of communication arts to build mutual understanding in Asean, strengthen the bloc's competitiveness and nurture the single economic community.
STOU is also developing international short-course certificates and bachelor degrees in 12 subjects, including Thai studies; introduction to accounting; introduction to law; and international law, to provide quality distance education to Asean people.
The programmes will be developed in one to three years. People of any age can enrol in STOU's distance learning courses, Mr Chailerd said.
He said besides English and Chinese language courses, STOU will also develop courses on Asean languages, such as Burmese, Malay and Khmer, as another step towards preparing for the integrated Asean community.
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- Writer: Lamphai Intathep