Experts to Boost Vocational Training
The Office of the Vocational Education Commission (Ovec) plans to invite 500 experts who work in 10 industries targeted under the Thailand 4.0 policy to become special instructors at 900 vocational colleges nationwide.
Ovec secretary-general, Suthep Chittayawong, said the plan aims to connect students and teachers to professionals and industry experts to integrate real-world experience into classroom lessons.
“We need people who can answer students’ questions about advanced technologies and help them gain an in-depth look at real problems,” he said.
Mr Suthep said having students engage with business and industry while they’re in the classroom is one of Ovec’s strategies to increase the skills of vocational students and produce job-ready graduates to cater to the demands of Thai Industry 4.0.
"Employers have complained that new graduates are not well equipped with up-to-date knowledge. Many companies have to train fresh employees for months before they are ready to work, so if we have industry experts as special instructors teaching in classrooms, schools and students will better understand the expectation of employers from day one,” he said.
Mr Suthep said Ovec will invite the 500 experts to serve as special instructors for both public and private vocational colleges.
The experts will also work closely with Ovec to improve curricula and teaching methods nationwide.
“With these new personnel, it’s like we already have hundreds of new specialised and experienced teachers,” he said.
However, Mr Suthep did not go into detail about when the experts will be ready to begin teaching students, but said it will happen soon.
Mr Suthep said what special instructors have to do is inspire students and broaden students’ experiences by teaching and training when vocational colleges request their services.
Ovec will pay out stipends to them, depending on how much time they are able to give to students, he said.
According to Mr Suthep, more than 250 industry experts have already agreed to participate, while another 400 have said they are willing to help.
The 10 targeted industries are automotive; smart electronics; high-income tourism and medical tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; food innovation; automation and robotics; aerospace; bio-energy and biochemical; digital; and medical and healthcare.
Mr Suthep said apart from inviting industry experts to help train vocational students, Ovec also plans to hire 10,000 more vocational teachers to overcome the teacher shortage across the country.
He said many colleges face severe teacher shortages in various subjects due to a dramatic increase in the number of students enrolments.
“Most of them are struggling with shortages of teachers in subject areas like automotive engineering, electrical engineering and electronics, automation, welding and construction, which require specialised and experienced teachers,” Mr Suthep said.
Mr Suthep said vocational teachers nationwide should be increased from 14,000 to 33,000 as student numbers have risen due to the government’s policy.