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Thailand Working to Develop Hi-Tech Future

One of the science and technology strategists behind the renowned Thailand 4.0 scheme stated that it is not too difficult to see Thais quickly moving up the economic ladder in the near future.

Even farmers, who are often struggling to climb up the socio-economic ladder, can shed their financial ills in the next five years, he said. What will lead them to this future are skills which would allow them to use modern technology to enhance productivity in their jobs.

The chief of the National Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Policy Council is developing plans to equip people with new know-how which he believes is an important piece in solving the jigsaw puzzle that is the state’s efforts to make workers, both in the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, become more financially well-off.

While the term “Thailand 4.0” has become a common phrase used during discourse on the future of Thailand’s economy, most citizens are likely to have little idea of the impact it can have on their jobs.

What is Thailand 4.0: Thailand 4.0 is a state project aimed at gearing the country towards the fourth industrial revolution; it is centred around advanced technology and high-level services.

To understand the economic value of technology, it is important to first become acquainted with innovations by learning and experimenting with a range of tools – whether in the workplace or even on the internet.

The government must begin by encouraging children to study STEM subjects while also helping adults understand modern technology and use it more frequently.

The government is particularly focusing on those working in the agricultural sector, because while the economy still greatly depends on farming, those working in the sector often find it hard to make ends meet, and many have been helplessly trapped in an endless cycle of poverty.

The aim is to transform current farmers into smart farmers who are adept at using technology to reduce costs and rack up revenues.

Currently, the average Thai farmer earns only about THB58,000 baht each year. If they learn how to add value to their produce by adopting environmentally-sound practices, for instance, they could make more in the long run. Each farmer can increase their earnings to THB150,000 baht a year, he noted.

Current efforts to help farmers boost their output using modern technology should start to bear fruit in 2024.

The old-fashioned way of living off the money made by selling whatever is produced on farms is no longer enough. These days, new marketing strategies and innovative methods are needed to add value to products and increase their worth.

To serve this purpose, the strategist set up Food Innopolis, an innovation hub focused on food research and development (R&D).

The site, located in Thailand Science Park in Pathum Thani’s Khlong Luang district, houses facilities which could support food producers of every scale – be it local, regional or global. So far, 36 companies have set up R&D centres at Food Innopolis.

To make full use of the innovation hub, the government should also prepare other people for becoming highly-skilled workers and promote entrepreneurship among youths to boost the number of new start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The aim is to encourage young people, in particular, to start their own businesses in their own local communities, so they can help develop their home provinces.

It is exciting to see how they will use new technologies to improve the quality of their farm produces, cuisine offerings as well as tourism, he stated.

In this way, STEM education in Thailand is crucial as it will allow people to make full use of both online and offline technologies.

Presently, only 35% of bachelor’s degree holders graduate with a major in a STEM subject, but the government plans to increase the number to 40% in 2022 to 50% in the next five years.

While this is Thailand’s new dream, the nation will have to produce more skilled workers to make more value-added goods and increase their earnings.

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