Wanted: A Ministry of University Affairs

Wanted: A Ministry of University Affairs

Higher education system 'facing a crisis'

Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin and his ministry propose splitting off Ohec into another ministry to meet the 'crisis' of higher education. (File photo by Nanchanok Wongsamuth)
Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin and his ministry propose splitting off Ohec into another ministry to meet the 'crisis' of higher education. (File photo by Nanchanok Wongsamuth)

The Education Ministry wants to upgrade its Office of Higher Education Commission (Ohec) into a ministry to lift university standards.

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Ohec upgrade into full ministry mulled

Dumrongkiat Mala

The Education Ministry wants to upgrade its Office of Higher Education Commission (Ohec) into a ministry to lift university standards.

The goal is to turn Thai universities into research and innovation drivers, and highly skilled and qualified workforce providers, in line with the 20-year national strategy and the Thailand 4.0 vision.

"Our higher education system is facing a crisis," said Udom Kachintorn, former president of the Council of University Presidents of Thailand.

"According to the Times Higher Education University Rankings 2016, Thailand had only one university among the top 100 universities in Asia and none in the world's top 400.

"Our universities have been held back by a lack of genuine enthusiasm about funding."

Dr Udom was recently appointed by Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin to head a special 15-member committee to study and oversee the process of coming up with a Ministry of University Affairs, as the new entity will be called.

He said other problems included many university graduates being incompetent in their fields, a surplus of graduates in social sciences, and a lack of qualified graduates in technology and vocational fields.

It is crucial for the country to have a clear direction for long-term development, he said.

Setting up a new ministry will solve chronic problems in tertiary education such as a lack of good governance, internal conflicts on some university councils and some universities offering substandard courses or running programmes without proper permission.

"The Education Ministry does not have the full power or authority to intervene in the administration of universities because they all have their own University Act or law that stems from the push for decentralisation. However if the new ministry is set up, some regulations will be changed to ensure such problems will not repeat themselves," Dr Udom said.

Dr Udom said he will start selecting members of the committee to draft the legislation and call the first meeting this month.

"We expect to spend about six months writing the draft of the ministry bill. After that the draft will be sent to the cabinet and the Council of State for verification."

Dr Udom said the process of establishing the new ministry may take at least a year.

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Vocabulary

  • Act: a law passed by a country’s government - พ.ร.บ. พระราชบัญญัติ
  • administration: the process or act of organising the way that something is done - การบริหาร
  • affairs: events affecting a government, organisation, industry, etc. - กรณียกิจ, กิจธุระ
  • appointed: officially chosen for a job - ถูกแต่งตั้ง
  • authority: power - อำนาจ
  • bill: a proposal for a law - ร่างกฎหมาย
  • cabinet: the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy - คณะรัฐมนตรี
  • chronic (adj): (of a disease, pain or problem) serious and lasting for a long time - เป็นประจำ
  • commission: an official group of people who have been given responsibility to control something, or to find out about something, usually for the government - คณะกรรมการ, คณะกรรมาธิการ
  • committee: a group of people who are chosen, usually by a larger group, to make decisions or to deal with a particular subject - คณะกรรมการ
  • conflict: an angry disagreement between people or groups - ความไม่ลงรอยกัน
  • council: a group of people chosen to give advice, make rules, do research, provide money - สภา, คณะกรรมการ
  • Council of State: an official organisation that advises the government on proposed laws and other legal matters - คณะกรรมการกฤษฎีกาและสำนักงานคณะกรรมการกฤษฎีกา
  • crisis: an urgent, difficult or dangerous situation - วิกฤตการณ์
  • crucial (adj): extremely important because it effects the result of something - สำคัญยิ่ง
  • decentralisation: the process of moving the control of an organisation or government from a single place to several smaller ones - การกระจายอำนาจ
  • development: the gradual growth of something so that it becomes more advanced, stronger, etc - การพัฒนา
  • direction: the general way in which a person or thing develops - ทิศทาง, การชี้ทาง
  • draft: to write a document, plan, etc. that may be changed before it is finally accepted - ร่าง
  • ensure: to make certain that something happens or is done - ให้การยืนยัน, รับรอง, ให้ความมั่นใจ
  • enthusiasm: the feeling of being very interested in something or excited by it - ความกระตือรือร้น
  • establish: to start a company or organization that will likely continue for a long time - สถาปนา, ก่อตั้ง, จัดตั้ง
  • field (noun): an area of specialized knowledge that people work, study, teach and do research in - สาขา, วงการ, แวดวง
  • funding: money given for a particular purpose - การให้เงินสนับสนุน
  • genuine: real; honest - แท้
  • goal: aim; purpose - เป้าหมาย จุดมุ่งหมาย
  • governance: the activity of governing a country or controlling a company or an organisation; the way in which a country is governed or a company or institution is controlled - วิธีการปกครอง
  • graduate: a person who has a university degree - ผู้รับปริญญา, ผู้สำเร็จการศึกษา
  • in line with: following a rule or system; also in accordance with and consistent with - สอดคล้องกับ
  • incompetent (adj): not having the skill or ability to do your job or a task as it should be done - ไร้ความสามารถ
  • innovation: (n) a new idea or way of doing something -
  • internal: existing or happening inside a person, object, organisation, place or country - ภายใน
  • intervene: to become involved in a situation in order to try to stop or change it - แทรกแซง
  • lack of: when there is not enough of something - ขาด
  • legislation: a law or set of laws suggested by a government and made official by a parliament - กฎหมาย, การออกกฎหมาย
  • lift: to move higher - ขึ้น
  • long-term: that will last or have an effect over a long period of time - ระยะยาว
  • ministry: a government department that has a particular area of responsibility - กระทรวง
  • mull: to think carefully about something over a period of time - ครุ่นคิด
  • oversee (verb): (past form: oversaw) to watch or organise a job or an activity to make certain that it is being done correctly - คุมงาน,ควบคุม
  • permission: allowing someone to do something - การอนุญาต,การอนุมัติ,การยินยอม
  • process: a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result - แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
  • provider (noun): a person/company who gives or supplies something - ผู้ให้
  • qualified (adj): able to do something, because you have the knowledge, skill, or experience that is needed - มีคุณวุฒิเหมาะสม, มีคุณสมบัติ
  • rankings (noun): the position of somebody/something on a scale that shows how good or important they are in relation to other similar people or things, especially in sport - อันดับ
  • regulations: official rules that control the way that things are done - ระเบียบปฏิบัติ
  • research: a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it - การวิจัย
  • select: to choose - คัดเลือก
  • skilled: having enough ability, experience and knowledge to be able to do something well - มีทักษะ,
  • social sciences: economics, sociology, psychology and other academic disciplines that study how society works -
  • solve (verb): to successfully deal with a problem or difficult situation; to find out who is responsible for a crime - แก้ปัญหา, คลี่คลาย, หาคำตอบ
  • standards: a level of quality that is normal or acceptable for a particular person or in a particular situation - มาตรฐาน, บรรทัดฐาน
  • stems from: caused by - เกิดจาก
  • strategy: a plan or method for achieving something, especially over a long period of time - ยุทธวิธี, แผนการ  
  • substandard: not as good as you would normally expect, or not good enough to be accepted - ต่ำกว่ามาตราฐาน
  • surplus (noun): the amount by which the amount of money received is greater than the amount of money spent; more than is needed - จำนวนที่เกิน, ส่วนที่เกิน, เหลือเกิน
  • tertiary (adj.): at university or college level - ในระดับมหาวิทยาลัยหรือวิทยาลัย
  • upgrade (verb): to give something a higher level of importance - ยกระดับ
  • verification: the process of checking that something is true or accurate - การพิสูจน์ความจริง, การตรวจสอบความเป็นจริง
  • vision: the ability to imagine how a country, society, industry, etc. could develop in the future and to plan in a suitable way - วิสัยทัศน์
  • vocational (adj): involving the skills necessary for particular jobs - วิชาชีพ
  • workforce: all the people who work for a particular company, organization, country, etc. - แรงงาน, คนทำงาน
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