PM urges teachers to move with times
Students must prepare for digital, economic revolution
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has urged teachers nationwide to adapt their teaching methods to match the dynamism of the digital revolution and prepare students for "Thailand 4.0" or a "value-based economy".
Speaking Monday at the Teachers' Council of Thailand on Teachers' Day, Gen Prayut said amid today's rapidly changing economic landscape, teachers are responsible for preparing future generations for the economy to which they will contribute.
Advanced technology such as artificial intelligence and robotics will take hold in all industries, he added.
"Our future workforce will compete not only with their peers in Thailand, but on the global stage, so we have to figure out how to to build our own trains, machines, technologies," Gen Prayut said.
To reach that goal, Gen Prayut said Thailand needs to produce a workforce with skills such as complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity, or the country will lose its competitive advantage in the world.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha performs a wai to his former Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy teacher at the Education Ministry. Thanarak Khunton
The premier also wished to see teachers change their methods.
He suggested teachers use social media to enhance their teaching and get the best out of students, though they must not forget to focus on teaching students morality and ethics.
"There are Western and Eastern styles of teaching," he said.
"The question is how are we going to balance both concepts effectively. Keeping pace with modern knowledge and technology are important, but conserving our good moral and ethical senses are crucial as well."
The prime minister said teachers should also teach to their students the four big issues of the world these days -- climate change, epidemic diseases, terrorism and the shifting global economic landscape.
Growing up with a mother who was a teacher, and married to a teacher himself, Gen Prayut said he realised many in the profession face hardship.
"I understand that many teachers are swamped with debts because of the high cost of living. I'll try to help as much as I can, but the government will not spend its budget to pay off teachers' debts," he said.
Meanwhile, Suan Dusit Poll recently unveiled a survey on public perceptions of teachers.
It found the teacher index increased from 7.43 out of 10 in 2015 to 7.71 last year, meaning Thais are still confident in the profession.
The opinion poll was conducted among 8,124 people from Dec 25 last year to Jan 13 this year.
Of the respondents, nearly 29% said teachers showed great patience and sacrifice while just under 23% said teachers were technologically savvy.
When asked about Thai teachers' weaknesses, 16% said Thai teachers had poor teaching methods.