STEM programme developed for EEC
Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production and the Kenan Foundation Asia are joining hands to develop a new programme for teachers and students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) to meet labour demand in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
A programme for these underdeveloped fields is expected to be proposed to the Education Ministry soon.
The two organisations have put together a development budget of 1 billion baht for the training programme and have spent five years developing it, said Artit Krichphiphat, general manager of Chevron Thailand.
"We have a purpose: to improve the efficiency of Thai teachers through this science project," he said.
The flagship EEC scheme demands not only that new graduates work in targeted industries, but also creates a need for capable teachers who can teach STEM subjects effectively.
"Both students and teachers in educational institutions are expected to be comfortable with higher technology and innovation," Mr Artit said.
The training programme is usable in 600 secondary schools and vocational colleges nationwide, and roughly 10,000 teachers and 500,000 students can access the programme.
Mr Artit said the programme is in its fifth year of development and aims to produce highly skilled labourers, mainly for the EEC.
Piyabutr Cholvijarn, president of the Kenan Foundation, said both parties received cooperation during the programme's development from other companies and agencies for design and compatibility.
"We want to attract new students to STEM fields because there is a shortage in the workforce of people who can handle new technology and innovation," he said. "Employers prefer to hire vocational manpower over university graduates in the corridor."
Chevron and Kenan have established a hub of education for technical and vocational education and training in four provinces: Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai and Songkhla.
Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the EEC Office, said labour demand in the corridor will reach 475,000-500,000 workers in the next five years.
In 2019 alone, 50,000 new workers joined EEC locations.
The EEC is promoted as a special economic zone, attracting new investment flows from 12 targeted industries: cars; smart electronics; affluent, medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; food; robotics for industry; logistics and aviation; biofuels and biochemicals; digital; medical services; defence; and education development.
Mr Kanit said Thailand is suffering from a shortage of high-skilled labour and needs to solve the problem urgently.