The Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), a government agency under the Ministry of Education responsible for developing vocational education in Thailand with special focus on new S-Curve industries in accordance with national strategies, confirms that Thailand has hundreds of vocational training programmes at both public and private institutions educating around one million students nationwide.
On the occasion of its 81st anniversary of establishment, OVEC Secretary-General Mr. Suthep Kaengsanthia, comments that: “OVEC is implementing two main policies in fiscal year 2022. The first policy involves reducing educational inequality. OVEC has a programme that offers underprivileged students the opportunity to study in a boarding school while earning an income. Moreover, OVEC has signed MOUs with over 10,000 local and national companies for internship programmes where students can learn specific skills catering to market needs and have a chance to work with the companies after graduation.”
“The second policy is to develop vocational education toward higher levels of excellence and competitiveness. OVEC is promoting new majors that address the demands of new infrastructure developments and industrial sectors such as airports, railways, electric vehicles, and tourism. OVEC has established 25 excellence centres nationwide in accordance with standardised academic guidelines.”
“In the past few years, the main challenge of vocational education has been the
Covid-19 pandemic. Vocational students must focus on practice. Online learning can only teach theories. Therefore, OVEC is facilitating onsite practice with measures to ensure safety in classrooms. The schools are offering additional classes during semester breaks and on weekends as well as extending the assessment period up to the end of the year, so students can study all units before the test.”
Mr. Suthep adds that, going forward, the nation needs a lot of technical labour, not just academics.
“OVEC is trying to inform the public about the reality of vocational education. Now, students can earn a Bachelor’s degree as well, and they can start working with higher wages than those from traditional schools. For example, a high vocational certificate can land students a job with a salary of over 20,000 baht per month in certain lines of work currently in high demand.”
“In addition, vocational education is more flexible with three stages of studies (vocational certificate, high vocational certificate, technical Bachelor’s degree). Students can always use their qualifications to earn money and return to school later any time.”
Mr. Suthep concludes, “Most importantly, student fights are now very rare. They only still happen occasionally in some schools in Bangkok and surrounding areas. In fact, vocational students are doing a lot of volunteer work for the general public such as vehicle repairs during vacations and equipment maintenance during natural disasters. Many vocational institutions also offer training programmes open to anyone who wants to master new skills to advance their careers. There’s a lot of opportunity for everyone.”