But each year, a large number of young people who have the chance to sit for university entrance examinations in their chosen fields of study and in topics that the nation lacks are unable to enroll because of financial constraints. Despite having access to the future chances, lack of funding continues to be the biggest barrier keeping kids out of higher education.
Therefore, it is essential to have guaranteed educational opportunities to ensure that every child will be able to study at a university through financial support in the form of various in order for all children to have universal access to higher education.
The Council of University Presidents of Thailand, the Student Loan Fund, the Fund for Educational Equality (EEF), and the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation opened a cooperation conference on July 4, 2023. With the creation of rules for assuring educational possibilities at the higher education level at Asawin Grand Convention Hotel, Bangkok, we are moving “Towards the Path to Educational Security TCAS66.”
The academic forum features a number of intriguing conversation topics. Thailand’s opportunity to sustainably escape the middle income trap is referred to as the “Educational Opportunity Guarantee for Thailand’s Opportunity to Sustainably Overcome the Middle Income Trap” by representatives from the agencies in charge of education and the issue of educational inequality.
When many occupations lack workers, where will Thai higher education go?
The conversation was introduced by Assistant Professor Dr. Poolsak Koseeyaporn, Deputy Director of the Office of National Higher Education Science Research and Innovation Policy Council, who projected needs in several professional sectors that society and the commercial sector need but are now lacking.
A field that offers a lot of scholarships is business administration, which can be found under the Business Management section. Scholarships are offered by a lot of private businesses as well. Over and above the number of students who actually win scholarships each year, there are more scholarships awarded. Because of this, youngsters who are struggling financially will have access to a sizable amount of financing if they decide to pursue additional education in this area.
Whether it be the engineering technology field or the engineering field, Asst. Prof. Dr. Poolsak notes that this is a field in which the country has a very high demand but a shortage of manpower. Currently, there aren’t enough engineering graduates to satisfy demand. Because of the outdated ways, it is therefore vital to update the methods of producing individuals. It appears to be outdated and not working anymore.
Another subject that is in great demand is health care, or fields associated with health and public health, as Thailand is currently experiencing a situation known as a “completely aged society.” Consequently, we require a sizable workforce in this area. Medical professionals like nursing assistants are in high demand in addition to doctors. Children who lack resources may have an opportunity at this point. The likelihood of finding work after graduation is very high if you decide to pursue this topic of study.
Information technology, also known as the field of information technology and information, is growing popularity in our era as a result of the quick development of numerous technologies, which has forced the private sector to add a significant amount of labor to the system.
Despite the high demand for art, media, and other communication-related fields, the private sector reports a shortage of workers because the educational system as a whole is unable to produce enough workers to fill this industry’s openings in a timely manner.
How to generate students who fully match these objectives is a critical issue facing the existing educational system, says assistant professor Dr. Poolsak. It is clear that the primary issue is the education system’s general lack of comprehensive career coaching. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with little resources are therefore unaware of the disciplines of study that now have a shortage of qualified individuals. These young people require reassurance that, should they decide to pursue further education in that subject, they would be able to support themselves through scholarships or employment following graduation.
Dr. Poolsak, an assistant professor, suggested that it is crucial for universities to work with the private sector. To ensure that the private sector has qualified employees who can meet the needs, research and collaboration should be encouraged.
Supporting kids and young people to enroll in higher education to help them escape the middle-income trap. It is something that needs to be advanced, and all sides must cooperate. Various university organizations must now contribute in addition to being a focal mission. It makes it easier for the students to receive scholarships, keep up with the needs of the labor market, and connect with and synchronize with the private sector.
Guaranteed educational opportunities are a means of guiding kids into higher education.
The manager of the Equitable Education Fund (EEF), Dr. Kraiyos Patrawart, outlines the reasons why many kids don’t pursue higher education. The main justification for this is that there is no assurance that they will have access to sufficient funding for higher education. Or there is no assurance that they will have a job after graduating. They come to the conclusion that not pursuing higher education is the best course of action.
In Mathayom 2-3, many youngsters choose to abandon the system because there is no assurance of their educational future. The same opinion is shared by the parents of these poor kids.
In order to provide a general picture of the situation with the admission of underprivileged children to higher education, Dr. Kraiyos then provided statistics from the “Progress Report on the Results of Linking Data for Students with Financial Needs, Academic Year 2019 and TCAS66.”
According to data, from TCAS’65 to TCAS’66, there were 20,018 more underprivileged youngsters obtaining higher education scholarships from the Equitable Education Fund (EEF). Although more kids are obtaining scholarships, the overall picture reveals that fewer kids are enrolling in higher education. More kids will enroll in higher education if there is smooth communication between various departments.
In 69 higher education institutions around the nation, there were 21,922 students who won scholarships from the Equitable Education Fund (EEF) whose rights were upheld for TCAS’66. These students were distributed in different regions as follows.
8,039 people in the central region
7,660 people in the northeast
3,467 persons in the northern region
2,295 persons in the southern region
452 persons in the eastern region
9 individuals in the western region
Although certain regions have very few youngsters receiving scholarships, this is a positive development, according to the data. In their local area, many kids attend college. Therefore, it is hoped that when these kids graduate, they would be able to work in and improve their home region.
The first academic areas that these scholarship recipients in the TCAS’66 system have chosen to focus on are:
- 6,457 individuals work in Law, society, the arts, and culture.
- 4,386 individuals work in science and engineering.
- 3,523 people work in Management and business.
- 3,770 people with regard to health and public health.
- 1,359 individuals work in Information and Communications Technology.
- 1,219 individuals work in forestry, farming, and fishing.
- 908 individuals receive education and training.
According to Dr. Kraiyos, the majority of students’ fields of study are somewhat compatible with the demands of the business sector. Therefore, it will be more likely to generate people who fit the needs of society if there is smooth cooperation across various departments to share information together.
TCAS decreases inequality but needs to close more gaps.
The Manager of the TCAS system from the Council of University Presidents of Thailand, Associate Professor Dr. Chalee Charoenlapnopparat, explains the concept and history of the TCAS system, which was designed to lessen disparity and promote equity in education.
Prior to the TCAS system, Thai students had to pass an entrance exam to enroll in a university through an admissions system. This system was designed to allow kids to apply to multiple schools and administer the test without restrictions. Additionally, they can validate your unrestricted university rights at the same time. The result in the admissions system is that it creates inequality because children with better status are able to assert more rights. It also deprives other children of their rights.
In addition, the university is able to open the direct entrance exam on its own before graduation. As a result, children leave the classroom before graduation to take the direct exam and go to special classes to prepare for the exam. Of course, children who lack funds are at a disadvantage.
In the academic year 2018, the TCAS system was used. The goal is to reduce the inequality that existed in the old admissions system with the following objectives.
1. Because many colleges do not conduct direct tests prior to graduation, it is intended to keep students in the classroom until they graduate. Exams are only given after graduation, which enables students to concentrate on their classroom work and does away with the need for extra preparation time outside of school.
2. Each pupil is granted one right. Each round can only certify one correct answer. There won’t be any seat reservations or fees for making multiple reservations like under the previous method.
3. There is more equality because students do not have to take numerous tests. They all made their way to the same testing area, whether they were children of high rank or low status.
Even though the TCAS system intends to increase educational equality, many kids are nonetheless shut out of the system and unable to enroll in postsecondary programs. Other significant aspects exist in addition to cost considerations. Due to factors like the ongoing issue with TCAS fees and the costs associated with applying for numerous tests, kids are unable to be certain that they will be able to attend school constantly. Even while the price may not be prohibitive, many kids cannot afford it.
The key to improving opportunities and decreasing inequities that require future development is to lower the cost of exams and applications for exams, for instance by establishing the price of the examination fee so that it does not increase or selecting the sequence of topics. Support may be provided initially at no cost and afterwards charged for.
One of the educational assurances that will make sure that kids feel secure in accessing higher education institutions is lowering the cost of exams and selection.
Every child must learn: Loans for the future of education
Every youngster needs to obtain an education, stressed Mr. Chainarong Katchapanan, manager of the student loan fund. In order to ensure that no family will be financially disadvantaged and denied access to higher education, the student loan fund was created.
Mr. Chainarong cites the system that makes it simple to borrow as the reason for the existence of educational loans funded by student loans. The likelihood of receiving a loan is most significantly increased by poverty. In order to guarantee that underprivileged kids can get scholarships to continue their studies, this is being done.
The student loan fund offers annual loan amounts of 40,000 million baht. More than 6,470,274 people have received loans from the student loan fund since it was founded, totaling more than 728,363 million baht (data as of March 31, 2023).
Some parents still do not want their children to have debt, though. They ultimately took out loans from outside the system to pay for their children’s academic pursuits. However, Mr. Chainarong wished to alter their perception by pointing them the positive aspects of student loan debt.
In addition, if you choose to study in a field that is the main requirement and is necessary for the development of the country, such as vocational or automotive fields, there is an opportunity to receive additional support. The student loan fund will also have a discount to either reduce interest or reduce the principal that must be repaid as well.
Guaranteed educational opportunities and economic value
Important insights can be learned from the conference “Ensuring educational opportunities for Thailand to overcome the middle income trap in a sustainable way.”
1. The main reason children and members of low-income households choose not to pursue higher education is a lack of educational security.
2. Subsidies are absolutely essential. To help every youngster continue their education, the central system and the university must collaborate. Additionally, it’s important to cut costs in areas like exam registration fees.
3. Creating a network to work seamlessly between different departments and sharing information together will help make helping children enter higher education more effective.
4. Sharing information is very important. When children enter tertiary education, universities must report information about the status of poor children in university back to the Council of University Presidents of Thailand for correct and accurate information.
5. Children will be more inclined to pursue higher education if they have access to information about the labor market, including what disciplines of study they now lack or require and which have specialized tuition assistance.