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Thailand allocates THB50 billion to digitalisation rural schools

The cabinet recently approved a budget of 50 billion baht to improve the quality of 8,000 outstanding primary and secondary schools in remote areas nationwide from 2020 to 2022.

According to the Education Minister, the majority of the budget will be used to improve the foreign language skills of students in these schools, which usually trail their peers in well-known and larger schools.

The aim is to narrow this gap to improve Malaysia’s education equality.

Under the plan, one school in each tambon will be selected as an outstanding school and will be given funding to improve their teaching quality.

To improve students’ foreign language skills, the ministry is planning to hire a large number of native English teachers and other native speakers of widely-used languages such as Chinese.

The minister has recently appealed to foreign embassies to help him find native speakers who can teach foreign languages to Thai students as part of government-to-government cooperation programmes.

There are currently 7,000 foreign teachers in Thai schools, but this is not enough, adding that another 10,000 foreign teachers are required.

In addition, foreign teachers must have some professional training to qualify for the job, adding that a language teaching certificate is preferred.

The ministry hopes that this plan can be commenced at the beginning of next academic year, but if the Covid-19 situation has not improved to the point that foreigners can enter Thailand more freely, they might have to turn to Thai teachers who can teach English and Chinese instead, the Minister noted.

Aside from improving the foreign language skills of students, the budget will also be used to improve their digital skills and the school environment, facilities and management.

To upgrade the quality of education, the government needs to start with investing in teachers. It will be worthwhile as the country are now talking about equipping our students with the skills they need to navigate the 21st century and digital era.

An education expert stated that he agreed, in principle, with the ministry that the budget could narrow the equality gap between schools in urban and rural areas because most schools in remote areas are lacking in resources to hire foreign teachers or buy hi-tech education tools.

The ministry should also think beyond its three-year plan as improving students’ foreign language skills will take more time.

Keeping digital momentum going amidst COVID-19 uncertainty

According to another article, the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) announced two projects focusing on digital-based MICE services and health safety standard.

The first called “Virtual Meeting Space” (VMS) will help MICE entrepreneurs run business events online and re-skill their employees via virtual platforms.

The second, called “Simple Ways to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Your Meetings and Events”, offers MICE venue owners and operators an incentive to upgrade their safety and health standards.

The two projects are in response to the business disruptions brought about by COVID-19 and lockdown measures worldwide.

According to the TCEB President, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the postponement and cancellation of MICE events worldwide.

Amidst the tough times, online or virtual platforms have become an alternative for events that can ensure business continuity.

Thai entrepreneurs need to adapt to such business platforms. In this respect, TCEB has designed two key projects. The first – “Virtual Meeting Space” (VMS) – is aimed at enabling Thai MICE entrepreneurs to continue operating their business and to re-skill their employees.

Apart from the two projects, TCEB has set up the TCEB COVID-19 Information Centre to serve the MICE community during this critical period.

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