More Thai students ‘should consider US’

More Thai students ‘should consider US’

Democrat deputy leader and former educator says far more Vietnamese now studying in America

Democrat Party deputy leader Suchatvee Suwansawat, seen taking part in a brainstorming session at the party’s head office on Jan 26, says he was shocked to learn how many Vietnamese students there were in the US. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
Democrat Party deputy leader Suchatvee Suwansawat, seen taking part in a brainstorming session at the party’s head office on Jan 26, says he was shocked to learn how many Vietnamese students there were in the US. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

More Thai students should consider studying in the United States to improve their potential to compete with their Vietnamese counterparts, says Suchatvee Suwansawat, deputy leader of the Democrat Party.

Mr Suchatvee, a former president of King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, said he was shocked to learn that the number of Vietnamese studying in the US far exceeded that of their Thai counterparts.

Writing on Facebook, he recalled a visit he made to the US six years ago while he was chairing the Council of University Presidents of Thailand. There, he met Allan Goodman, CEO of the Institute of International Education, who is a good friend, he said.

He said Mr Goodman told him there were over 20,000 Vietnamese students in the US, and the number was four to five times larger than that of Thai students.

Mr Suchatvee said he was shocked by the information, adding that it showed how rapid growth in the Vietnamese economy had allowed its citizens to send their children to study in developed countries, and that those countries recognised Vietnamese students’ potential.

He said he has raised concerns regarding competition between Vietnam and Thailand several times with the government but it has done little.

He concluded the post by calling on the government to improve Thai students’ abilities so they can “survive in a world driven by a race for human resources”.

Failure to do so will result in Thais being trapped in poverty and the economy’s inability to grow due to the citizens’ lack of skills, he said.

According to Unesco data from 2021, Vietnam, with a population of 98 million, sent 137,022 students abroad, the most of any Southeast Asian country. A total of 23,155 of those students were in the United States.

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