A Study of Community College Synchronization with the Educational Needs of Local People in Thailand

  • Pattanida Punthumasen
  • Takayoshi Maki

In the academic year (AY) 2002, the first ten community colleges, known as Withayalai Chumchon in Thai language, were established, one in each of ten provinces across the country. The aim was to improve the quality of life of the local people by enhancing opportunities to higher education, providing both education and training. Community College in Thailand was defined as an educational institution that provided two kinds of programs: 2-year associates degree programs and intensive short training or short-term programs. These programs are in areas relevant to local economic and social development. Education and training in the community colleges emphasize variety in terms of both management and courses offered in order to respond to the needs of people from various walks of life. The programs are designed to ensure that graduates will have the knowledge and skills necessary for their careers, further education, and improved quality of life.

The establishment of Community Colleges in Thailand resulted from the 1999 National Education Act which focuses on “Lifelong education for all”, “Equality,” and “Participatory development.” Following the implementation of this Act, it was estimated that high school graduates would increase from 511,000 in AY 2001 to 692,000 in AY 2006 and 919,000 in AY 2011, respectively. In contrast, the higher education institutions across the country would be able to intake only 420,000 students, and most of those institutions were located in Bangkok and urban areas. With lack of higher education institutions in rural areas, Thailand was facing problems in relation to expansion of educational opportunity. Therefore, the Office of the Education Council (OEC; known at that time as the Office of the National Education Commission (ONEC) ), which was the educational policymaking body under the Ministry of Education, initiated research to find models of lower-than-degree education so as to provide more educational opportunities to meet the needs of students, particularly those in rural areas. This research was entitled “Community College: A Model of Lower-than-Degree Education Institutions,” and was one of the research projects under the umbrella of the Thai–US Roundtable project organized by OEC in cooperation with Pennsylvania University. This study of lower-than-degree education institutions' models and experiences from four countries (Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, and the United States of America) found the common characteristics of lower-than-degree-level programs. The results of the study revealed that the educational provision and curricula at this level should be diverse, flexible, and participatory with various segments of society so as to meet the needs of community, promote their job skills, and improve the quality of life. In addition, the result of this study also indicated that the potential advantages of community colleges could be significant, and that this advantageous model could be systematically established for higher education in Thailand. It also pointed out that, in accordance with the National Education Act, based on the “Lifelong education for all,” “Equality,” and “Participatory development,” community-based self-help initiatives should be developed in conjunction with these community colleges.

Keywords

Transportation Expense Decen Maki Salon 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pattanida Punthumasen
    • 1
  • Takayoshi Maki
    • 2
  1. 1.International Strategic and Educational Development GroupOffice of the Education CouncilThailand
  2. 2.Graduate School of Social and Cultural Sciences Kumamoto UniversityJapan

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