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Graduate Training and Research: A View from Thailand Jisnuson Svasti* President, Science Society of Thailand under Patronage of H.M. the King; Professor,

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Presentation on theme: "Graduate Training and Research: A View from Thailand Jisnuson Svasti* President, Science Society of Thailand under Patronage of H.M. the King; Professor,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Graduate Training and Research: A View from Thailand Jisnuson Svasti* President, Science Society of Thailand under Patronage of H.M. the King; Professor, Dept. of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, and former Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

2 Thailand Has Too Few Researchers also weak science & education infrastructure, so may not benefit much from recent advances in biotechnology & nanotechnology Shortage of Researchers: Researchers per 10,000 pop (2004-5) Singapore 60.1, Australia, 54.4, Malaysia 7.0, Thailand 5.4 Low expenditure on Research & Development as % GDP ( ) Singapore 2.36, Australia 1.62, Malaysia 0.63, Thailand 0.26 Little Interaction between academia and industry Lack of good career prospects for researchers Students do not want to study science Teaching profession is regarded with low esteem [Svasti, J. (2001) Bioscience and Its Impact on Developing Countries: a Thai Perspective. EMBO Reports. 2, ]

3 University System in Thailand Traditional & Well Established Universities o 22 Public Universities: 22,350 academic staff; 386,000 students o 2 Open Universities: 1,309 academic staff; 602,500 students Newly upgraded to University Status o 40 Rajabhat Universities (former Teacher’s Training colleges) 9,573 academic staff; 369,000 students o 9 Rajamangala Institutes (former Technical Colleges) 4,025 academic staff; 52,000 students Less Research Orientated, but Increasing in Numbers o 61 Private Universities: 4,258 academic staff, 139,000 students

4 Increasing Numbers of New Graduate Programs o Rapid increases in new graduate programs in Thailand o Many at established universities o But also many at newly established universities o While many show good academic orientation, some aim principally for financial benefits o Many new programs do not have sufficient qualified staff of their own, and just “borrow” staff from other established universities o Of particular concern include some programs at Rajabhat Universities and new private universities o Poor quality degree programs, producing poorly qualified graduates can have bad repercussions on science teaching at all levels, since doctoral graduates train the teachers who teach our students

5 Doctoral Degree Should be of International Standards “ A Ph.D. graduate should have the Knowledge, Skills, Perspectives and Understanding to perform self-directed work of a quality acceptable to others in the field” Problems in Ph.D. Standards Also Found Overseas

6 Evaluation of Doctoral Student Development of capability in terms of knowledge, skills, perspectives and understanding through Coursework, Thesis, and Oral Examination Capability to do work of quality satisfactory to others in the field by doing Research Which Creates a Body of Knowledge, shown by Research Publication in Journal o International Journal for Scientific Fields (Mahidol) o International or National Journal for Social Sciences

7 New Guidelines for Graduate Education (2005) Announced by Commission for Higher Education o Each university is required to report various KPI twice a year o Curricula should be evaluated each year, and minor changes made o Curricula should be revised every 5 years o Qualifications of Staff defined: supervisors of research thesis should be Ph.D.s or are Associate Professor level o Master’s thesis should be published in refereed Proceedings of conferences or in a refereed journal o Ph.D. Thesis should be in a good refereed journal (most universities actually specify international journal)

8 Other Graduate Degrees o Master ’ s Degree may be of various types Research Degree Degree with Thematic Paper Taught Courses Only o More Geared to Developing Professional Skills Higher Graduate Diploma Postgraduate Certificate

9 Current Status Commission for Higher Education has tried to classify journals into levels of quality suitable for PhD or Masters’ graduation CHE has called for two meetings of full professors and high level administrators to discuss PhD requirements But divergent opinions, including established public universities wishing to maintain standards, and less well established universities wishing widen the range of acceptable journals for Ph.D. Increase in number of graduate conferences with proceedings, both by individual graduate schools and associations of graduate schools – creates burden, without ensuring quality of Masters’ programs Many universities request leniency in qualifications of staff CHE lacks capability to enforce regulations, so it is up to individual universities to maintain quality

10 Development of Quality Assurance for Graduate Curricula at Mahidol Eight Aspects Considered for Each Degree Program o Policy directions and readiness to initiate and revise curricula o Management of degree program o Arrangement of teaching and learning program o Management of information technology o Encourage ethical and moral values o Development of research to international levels o Support of Thai cultural and social values o Evaluation of quality of graduates and research Overall, Some 129 Items Considered

11 Good Supervisor & Mentorship Essential for Guidance of Good Postgraduate Research Good Supervision Workshops Arranged In 1962, Perutz shared Nobel Prize with student Kendrew in the same year that another student Francis Crick shared another prize with Jim Watson Qualifications and Track Record of Research Advisor

12 International Degree Programs: 35% of graduate programs at Mahidol are international Enrich study experience of students Encourage students to become global citizens Assure that degree programs have international quality Provides benefit from skills of overseas staff Make the university better known throughout the world Attract students from overseas Motto “Global Quality Thai Touch Mahidol University receives Prime Minister ’ s Award for Export (2006) in International Higher Education

13 Science Society of Thailand Under Patronage of HM The King Informally started 1924; Officially registered on 27 January 1948 Goal to develop scientific activities in Thailand Currently has 4,500 members (3,200 Life Members, 300 Ordinary Members, 230 Corporate Members, 70 Students, 600 Young Scientists) Major Areas of Activities: Promoting Public Awareness of Science Student and Teacher Activities Promoting Research and Excellence

14 Promoting Public Awareness of Science o Science Magazine (in Thai) becomes the society’s journal, having actually be published before the formal registration of the society. o Initiation of King Mongkut’s Science Park at Wagor in memory of His Majesty’s centennial Proclamation of King Mongkut (Rama IV) as the Father of Thai Science and the date August 18 th as the National Science Day National Science Week Fair first organized during August, which has continued to present day, with National Museum of Thailand arranging Science Fair, attended by millions of visitors

15 Teacher and Student Activities National Science Week (since 2527) Science Camps (Wagor, STT, Siam Cement) Science Clubs for Schools (6 Centers) Student Competitions(Science Projects, Thailand Innovation, Problem Solving, Science Show) Student Activities Overseas Intel-ISEF, USA London International Youth Science Fortnight Young Scientist Clubs (11 groups) Teachers’ Activities More than 10,000 Teachers trained so far, using courses that are regularly revised Science Teacher’s Section, which honors Outstanding Teachers each year


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