Dow and the Chemical Society of Thailand join forces with the Office of the Basic Education Commission to support 'small-scale laboratories' in schools nationwide.

Dow and the Chemical Society of Thailand join forces with the Office of the Basic Education Commission to support 'small-scale laboratories' in schools nationwide.

In partnership with the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) and the Chemical Society of Thailand (CST), Dow Thailand (Dow) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) titled "Enhancing Science Teachers' Capability Using Small-Scale Chemistry Laboratory Techniques for Secondary and High Schools." The program expands the small-scale laboratory from Dow Chemistry Classroom, which Dow and CST have jointly conducted for more than nine years, to OBEC-regulated schools.

A small-scale laboratory enables conducting of experiments using small plastic kits and local materials that are easy to source. These techniques shorten the duration of experiments and lessen the use of chemicals, water, energy, and waste, due to chemical amounts lowered by 1,000 times from those commonly used in traditional experiments. It is safe, environmentally friendly, less expensive, easier to use, and can be reused multiple times. The experiments can be conducted anywhere without using a high-cost standard laboratory, resulting in better educational equality for Thai students nationwide. More importantly, it encourages students to acquire good attitudes towards science studies through practical, hands-on experience.

The Dow Chemistry Classroom Project has been promoting small-scale chemistry in Thailand since 2013. More than 2,000 teachers from 1,055 schools have already used small-scale kits to teach over 300,000 students. This MOU will mark an expansion of small-scale laboratory techniques to OBEC-regulated schools nationwide. In the initial phase, about 100 OBEC schools will start adopting the kits.

"The fact that OBEC is interested in promoting this new way of teaching will enable many schools to access efficient and safe science education in a fast and concrete manner. As an incubator of the Dow Chemical Classroom Project, Dow Thailand is very pleased that OBEC sees the importance of the "small" laboratory in enabling "big" opportunities for comprehensive and equal education. OBEC will play an important accelerator role which will be highly beneficial in developing Thailand's innovators in the future," said Chatchai Luanpolcharoenchai, President of Dow Thailand.

"The CST has pioneered small-scale chemistry laboratory techniques in Thailand together with Dow. Our activities include providing knowledge, promoting new techniques in classrooms, encouraging hands-on experimental experience for students, creating a network of role-model teachers, organising small-scale chemistry laboratory competitions for the past seven years, and promoting this approach in the ASEAN region. CST will act as an academic advisor for this MOU and provide expert instructors to develop role-model teachers. CST will also take part in the committee to evaluate the collaboration's outcome," explained Prof. Dr. Supa Hannongbua, President of the Chemical Society of Thailand (CST).

"As a governmental agency promoting basic education, OBEC recognises the importance of enhancing science education. Using small-scale chemistry laboratory techniques in classes is in line with the Ministry of Education's curriculum. So far, studies have shown that small-scale experiments produce the same results as experiments conducted in traditional laboratories and are highly beneficial for learning. The small kits will result in more accessible science classes for Thai students. The opportunity to gain hands-on knowledge is in line with OBEC's policy to enhance the quality of education in the 21st century," said Dr. Amporn Pinasa, Secretary-general of the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC). "About 100 schools will be selected to participate in the program during the first year. We will support the cost of experimental kits, equipment, and chemicals used for the training, covering at least eight experiments. Teachers participating in the project will receive the kits and manuals to use in their classes and a certificate for training. Also, teachers will be able to include the training in their portfolio for acquiring academic titles." 

The "Enhancing Science Teachers' Capability Using Small-Scale Chemistry Laboratory Techniques for Secondary and High Schools" program, which increases the use of the techniques in classes in OBEC-regulated schools, will encourage students to conduct experiments by themselves and increase the chances of them pursuing science study, which is currently in high demand in Thailand. This will also play an essential role in developing the workforce's capacity in line with the direction of the labour market and the country's future development.

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