Thammasat programme to furnish EEC with workers
Thammasat University is keen on raising undergraduate student quality to prepare graduates for work in the government's Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme.
Yesterday the university signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) to develop many EEC-related fields: innovation, technology and human resources.
"The university is interested in the corridor's development as the government aims to move forward with the Industry 4.0 initiative," said Assoc Prof Pornchai Tarkulwaranont, vice-rector for administration.
"The Pattaya campus in Chon Buri was chosen for development under this agreement, which includes a training programme for two undergraduate curricula -- automotive and software engineering."
Assoc Prof Pornchai, also an adviser to Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, said the university will propose to the EEC Office that the Pattaya campus become one of the EEC's special promotion zones.
The campus is preparing new buildings, including a cyberport centre and a co-working space, to support teaching and learning to meet EEC manufacturers' needs in the automotive industry.
Assoc Prof Pornchai said Thammasat has been keen on developing the Pattaya campus since witnessing the EEC improvements last year.
The campus can provide more courses related to other sectors such as aerospace, auto parts, robotics and artificial intelligence in the near future.
The campus will also add a 600-bed hospital and a new medical school.
"Both hospital and medical school are expected to start development sometime in 2019, once the EEC Office approves the special promotion zone," he said.
"The hospital will have a capacity of 300 beds in the first phase for Thais, and the second phase of 300 beds will serve foreign workers in the EEC."
Assoc Prof Pornchai expects Thammasat's EEC programme will be in place by 2022.
Assoc Prof Gasinee Witoonchart, the university's rector, said Thammasat is one of nine educational institutions in the EEC that have been chosen by the government to cooperate in this project.
"But the university has to team up with the FTI to develop the educational criteria for the EEC."
Assoc Prof Gasinee said Thammasat will soon conclude budget development and further details about the project after both parties arrive to a conclusion.
Supant Mongkolsuthree, the FTI's chairman said the two counterparts will set up the cooperation committee for the project by November.
"The committee will include academic and business operators for Thammasat's EEC project to produce fresh graduates for the 11 targeted industries," said Mr Supant.
Nonetheless, Supachai Srisuchart, director of Institute for Continuing Education and Human Resources, said the new targeted industries under the corridor are set to drive the country's economy in the long run.
"Thailand has a high-skilled labour shortage, while educational institutions cannot produce workers that are needed by the labour market, so the government and Education Ministry have to talk with the business operators to search for what they want and what the educational sector can do," said Mr Supachai.