Higher education ministry on the way

Higher education ministry on the way

The new ministry in charge of higher education is expected to take shape within seven months, according to the Education Ministry.

Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin said yesterday a recent meeting of a panel tasked to consider ways to restructure the Education Ministry agreed with the proposal of setting up a new ministry for higher education. This ministry will be separate from the Education Ministry.

No new budget or personnel will be sought for the new ministry, he noted.

The new ministry would see the Education Ministry scaled down, the minister said, adding the Office of the Higher Education Commission (Ohec), supervised by the Education Ministry, would then fall under the new ministry.

Any tasks handled by Ohec will come under the new ministry, Dr Teerakiat said.

After the new ministry is formed, the secretary-general of Ohec will be made the ministry's permanent secretary, he said.

"I believe no one will oppose this [the establishment of the new ministry] since the number of officials will neither rise nor decline," said Dr Teerakiat. "Any personnel attached to Ohec, once the higher education ministry is established, will be transferred there."

Deputy Education Minister Udom Kachintorn said he had been informed by Thosapon Sirisamphan, secretary-general of the Office of the Public Sector Development Commission, that related laws, which would usher in the higher education ministry, would be finalised within two weeks before being forwarded to the cabinet for consideration.

Dr Udom said the new ministry must have a clear mission for research, which will support of the national strategic plan and the government's ongoing "Thailand 4.0" initiative.

In this new ministry, there will be only one minister in charge, he noted. Agencies involved will come under the supervision of the ministry's permanent secretary office.

Autonomous universities, which are under certain legislation which regulates them, will not be supervised by this new ministry, according to Mr Udom.

Regarding vocational institutes which provide higher education courses, they are still under the supervision of the Education Ministry's Office of the Vocational Education Commission, he said.

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