Co-owned colleges 'are Thai entities'

Co-owned colleges 'are Thai entities'

Unis under fire over Chinese investors

Supachai: Touts strict regulations
Supachai: Touts strict regulations

All three private universities whose shares are partially owned by Chinese nationals still are regarded as Thai legal entities, education officials say.

They also meet quality-assurance standards under law, said Supachai Pathumnakul, deputy permanent secretary for the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, on Sunday.

He was responding to some recent media reports that raised concerns over the possibility of these higher education institutions being taken over by Chinese investors.

The universities are Krirk University, Mehtarat University and Stamford International University (Thailand) whose proportion of Thai to Chinese shareholders still make them qualified to be a Thai legal entity under the 1999 Act on business operation by foreigners, said Mr Supachai.

Under the Thai law, the president of a university council and its dean can be foreigners, but no less than half of the university's council members must be Thai nationals, he said.

Krirk has both a Thai university council president and Thai dean while its Chinese members make up 17% of the university's council.

Mehtarat, formerly known as Shinawatra, has a Chinese council president and dean and the percentage of its Chinese council members is 40, while Stamford has a Chinese council president and Thai dean as 40% of its council members are Chinese nationals, he said.

Higher education institutions are required to pass an assessment of their quality assurance standard every five years, he said.

The audit is conducted on both the quality of these institutions as a whole and that of their curriculum in particular, he added.

Krirk and Stanford recently passed the assessment and are certified to meet the required quality assurance standard from Nov 14, 2018 until Nov 13, while Mehtarat is in the process of undergoing a new assessment, he said.

"Despite their changes in executive structure, these institutions are still strictly regulated under various Thai laws," he said.

These laws include the Act on private education institutions and the Act on higher education affairs, he said.

The organisations responsible for ensuring the quality of these institutions are Office of the Higher Education Commission, Commission on Higher Education Standards and the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, he said.

In addition to the assessment of their overall quality standard, all study programmes which these education institutions offer require a regular assessment to ensure the quality of their curriculum, lecturers and thesis examination panels, he said.

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