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Above the law?

Re: "More charges for cycle cop", (BP, Jan 24). The case is traumatic and includes some of the least probable elements -- being hit on a pedestrian crossing by a police officer, an expert on crowd control, while the victim was an eye doctor just starting out on a brilliant future.

It is revealing in your report that the culprit, a police officer, who was meant to maintain law and order, apparently behaved as if he was above the law -- no licence plate on his big bike, a Ducati Monster, and not having paid the annual tax due on the bike. How long has he been using this bike without a number plate and how many years has he been avoiding tax without challenge? Furthermore, currently, how many police officers in the force do not comply with these basic rules for all law-abiding citizens?


Cut the weaponry

Re: "Govt blinded by science", (Editorial, Jan 24).

In every way, it is a bad decision to reduce budget allocations for R&D in the public sector and state universities. Lack of investment in STEM education in Thailand is the leading cause of poor quality and lower research output. Especially the provincial academic institutes are far behind in conducting good research. Yes, indeed, Bangkok-based institutions which are well connected to the bloated bureaucracy remain fully supported while regional universities face deep budget cuts, hastening the regional-city divide.

In addition to poor classroom teaching, the research output of Thai universities is also meagre. This is evident from the current Google Scholar Citation (GSC) Transparent Ranking published every six months by Webometrics, an NGO located in Spain. It is used as an indicator of the quality of work of the faculty working in universities worldwide. On this list of American universities dominate with more than 463 million citations. The combined output of 38 Thai universities shows 1.50 million citations, whereas Singapore, with just 10 listed universities, has 6.64 million citations in the same period. The evidence provided by this index indicates a very low citation rate of research articles published by Thai universities. Thai TCI should make a note of it. The underlying cause is the poor advising skills of the faculty. Indonesia also shows very poor citations despite a maximum number of universities (87) in Asean.

Poor citation rate of research output is indirectly linked to lack of English proficiency. Low proficiency in the English language is a significant factor leading to poor advising practices and research output in Thai universities. In the annual EF English Proficiency Index published in 2021, Thailand is placed 100 out of 112 countries. A low English proficiency score puts it in the lowest rank of 22 out of 24 in Asia. Hence adopting a more agile STEM curriculum to meet international standards becomes another big challenge for Thai universities. Other countries in Asean have the following EF Global ranking- Singapore (4), Malaysia (28), Vietnam (66), Indonesia (80), Myanmar (93), and Cambodia (97).

So instead of buying fighter jets and submarines, Thailand should invest more money in enhancing STEM education and providing funding for research and innovation.


A real no brainer

Re: "Govt blinded by science", (Editorial, Jan 24).

Unlike tanks, mathematics runs on pure critical thinking. Unlike submarines, science respects facts. It was a no brainer what no brainers who fear facts and criminalise critical thinking would opt for.


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