The British Council in Thailand, with the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, have initiated the “TH-UK World-class University Consortium”, matching 15 programmes from seven Thai universities with top UK universities in various academic fields. In response to the Ministry’s “Reinventing University” objective, the Consortium is expected to lead international collaboration between higher education sectors in the two countries, as well as supporting the journey of Thai universities towards excellence in teaching, research, and innovation capability as the key factors for achieving higher rankings. Thai students in participating programmes will also benefit from an international learning experience, and enhance their skills in research, presentation, and international networking.
Assoc. Prof. Pasit Lorterapong, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation states “Thailand’s Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Policy and Strategy (2023 – 2027), will focus on 4 strategic areas, 1) Strengthening economy through competitiveness and self-reliance, 2) Raising sustainable social welfare and environments, 3) Developing frontier science, research and innovation and 4) Developing manpower, higher education and research institutes as drivers for economic growth. As a result, both the public and private sectors, together with universities and governments, will play an important role to driver the country towards a stronger economy.”
“In response, the Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation have been pushing forward the ‘Reinventing University’ programme, encouraging Thai higher education institutes to reform their operations, adapting the curriculum to address the current situation. Indicators for the three strategic focus groups have been established to measure the performance of universities in accordance with the reinventing scheme, and the government’s ambition to elevate Thai universities into the global top 100 within the next ten years. The Thai-UK World-class University Consortium will support the government strategy on university reinvention, allowing Thai higher education institutes to build international collaborations in both academic and research areas by collaborating with UK universities and research institutes to exchange knowledge and create a more internationally connected higher education system and achieve world-class status”, Assoc. Prof. Pasit continues.
Ms. Helga Stellmacher, Director, the British Council in Thailand states, “Since universities and colleges are vital for social and economic growth, the British Council has launched the ‘Going Global Partnerships’ programme to connect universities, colleges, and education policymakers in the UK and around the world, offering international opportunities to build relationships, share good practices, and access grant funding for collaborative partnerships. To support Thailand’s ambition to reinvent universities towards becoming globally competitive and internationally recognised, the British Council together with the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation have launched the Thai-UK World-class University Consortium. The Consortium is designed as a partnership facilitation programme to increase commitment and strategic collaboration between Thai and UK universities and support the Thai university’s journey towards excellence in teaching, research, and innovation capability. We have selected 15 departments from seven Thai universities with different needs as they strive to become one of the world’s top 100 universities and achieve the Consortium’s strategic objectives.”
These 15 members include the Medicine programme from Chiang Mai University; Architecture, Chemical Engineering, Life Sciences, Geography, Development Studies and 2 Medicine programmes from Chulalongkorn University; the Forestry programme from Kasetsart University; Life Science programme from King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi; Life Science, Medicine and Development Studies programmes from Mahidol University; Architecture programme from Naresuan University; and Development Studies programme from Thammasat University.
The analysis, conducted on 15 participating programmes at seven universities shows that they already have strong domestic reputations, strong support systems, and research capacity. However, the significant challenges to initiating international collaboration are the lack of English proficiency and a coherent overarching strategy. At the same time, most of the participants consider the UK as a leader at both the departmental and institutional level. The Consortium can therefore play an important role in connecting the higher education sectors of the two countries and creating opportunities for international collaboration including improved research facilities, joint research and partnership opportunities, and student exchange programmes. Thai students participating in these programmes will benefit from an international learning experience, enhancement of their research and presentation skills, as well as networking opportunities with international students.
“For the next step, the British Council is now hosting activities and providing platforms to connect the seven Thai universities with the top UK universities in various academic fields, including University of Cambridge, University College London, and University of Edinburgh. The British Council will also provide funding opportunities of up to £65,000 or approximately 3,000,000 THB to implement the activities during the first year of the Consortium programme. We expect this forthcoming international collaboration with UK partners will help improve the quality of the programmes and therefore the ranking of Thai universities in the future, which is the main goal of the Ministry’s ‘Reinventing University’ project”, Ms. Helga added.
To find out more about the Thai-UK World-class University Consortium project, please visit our website at www.britishcouncil.or.th or “British Council Thailand” Facebook page.