Govt greenlights B117bn boost for higher education

Govt greenlights B117bn boost for higher education

The National Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Policy Council has approved a budget of 117.8 billion baht to improve higher education, with a focus on a plan to push for development projects related to the bio, circular and green (BCG) economy.

Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Anek Laothamatas said the council's meeting on Thursday endorsed the budget for fiscal 2022.

Of the total amount, 70.42 billion baht or about 60% will be earmarked for the salaries of higher education personnel while 38.65 billion baht (33%) will be set aside for operational costs.

Another 8.8 billion baht (7%) will go toward improving the excellence of higher education institutes and developing highly specialised manpower to respond to the needs of the country, Mr Anek said.

The proposed budget will be presented for cabinet endorsement, he said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, chairman of the council, said he laid down three major policies at the meeting.

The first policy involves promoting the BCG economy to help drive growth, Mr Don said.

The BCG is an economic development model which is in line with the sufficiency economy philosophy initiated by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great, he said.

They share a common aim for sustainable development, he added.

On Jan 13, the first meeting of a management committee to drive the BCG economy chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha approved a five-year strategic plan to promote BCG between 2021 and 2026.

According to Gen Prayut, the government agreed to place BCG on the national agenda to speed up development because the sectors can increase the value of farm products and BCG is part of a global development trend.

The BCG strategic plan covers four sectors: farming and food; healthcare and medical services; energy and biochemicals; and tourism and the creative economy.

The second policy stresses the role of science, research and innovation in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Don said, adding it is important to lay the foundation for development of healthcare human resources and knowledge of vaccines and medicines to prepare for health security challenges in the future, Mr Don said.

The third policy involves development of science, technology and higher education, Mr Don said.

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