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Driving forward e-learning in Thailand

Image Credits: Bangkok Post, News Article

Thailand’s country’s third-largest mobile operator by subscribers has joined the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) and the Thai Media Fund in rolling out an e-learning platform to enhance digital literacy among youth.

The move aims to turn youth susceptible to online abuse into agents promoting digital literacy among friends. The platform was introduced on 17 August 2020 by the President of DEPA; the Manager of the Thai Media Fund; the Chief Corporate Affairs Officer of the telecom; and the Manager of the Internet Foundation for the Development of Thailand.

One in three kids in Thailand has faced cyberbullying according to a recent survey of 15,348 respondents aged 6-18. About a quarter of respondents engaged in online meetings and they faced fraud, attempts to lure them into illicit gangs, stalking as well as sexual harassment. Children own digital devices quite early in Thailand, which is among the top five countries in Asia-Pacific for youth ownership, but they lack sufficient digital literacy.

Also, Thailand’s youngsters spend 5-10 hours a day online. Thus, the region needs to fill 40,000 digital skill positions per year, but only 20,000 graduates can fill them and 13,000 of them are likely to work in corporations. Referring to children’s digital literacy, it is important to equip children with this skill to protect them against online abuse.

Proactive new skill sets are needed as Thailand gears up for digital transformation, particularly in the real sectors. Young people need to have digital resilience and literacy to leverage digital tools for national and social development. Youth are on a rapid digital transformation journey that has challenges and opportunities. The Covid-19 outbreak has changed the learning and teaching landscape, with online classes becoming much more common.

Children can learn about digital literacy via the website. The website has topics such as online privacy and sexual abuse, ways to stop cyberbullying and identifying fake news. The digital upskilling course includes artificial intelligence-powered chatbots, data visualisation, storytelling and gamification.

The Digital Economy and Society (DE) Ministry is working to boost the income of people at the grass-roots level through mobile apps and e-commerce platforms over the next three months. Some targeted areas will be selected for a pilot project designed to use digital technology to boost revenue and quality of life among locals, according to the DE minister.

The President of the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) stated that apps and e-commerce platforms will help small businesses sell their products online. Training, including courses in packaging and marketing, will also be provided. The ministry aims to increase Thais’ income and boost their competitiveness as well as helping small businesses deal with digital disruption.

According to a globally focused market data and news service, the global e-learning market is expected to reach US$238 billion by 2024 at a compound annual growth rate of 8.5%. The Asia-Pacific region, especially India and Southeast Asia, represents a huge growth potential for education industry revenue.

Earlier, OpenGov Asia reported that a Thailand-based coding education platform recently closed a six-digit seed funding round with a Singapore-based VC firm and other angel investors. The firm plans to use the new funds for its real-time coding talent platform that uses a full-stack automated teaching curriculum backed by blockchain.

The firm started from the Edtech Hackathon 2018 in Bangkok and was selected as a finalist for Project Alpha by a Singapore-based an early stage Singaporean fund. It focuses on soft skills and coding skills and monetizes the service through a workforce reskilling program. The company is expanding to online conferencing business with its Reach LeanSpace product to provide an education solution for small and medium-sized enterprises in Thailand.

In 2019, a Jakarta-based firm raised US$150 million in a Series C round, which is said to be one of the largest rounds for an edutech company in Southeast Asia. In India, another firm is valued at about US$8.2 billion after a US$200 million funding round.

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