Published on December 25, 2007
"Children with such qualities are rare and society needs to assist them gain a higher education to add to their societal worthiness.
"Nowadays there are many smart and able people but many lack good virtues and as a result society is on the decline."
Those comments were made by Juthamas Phaewiang, a second-year science student at Kasetsart University's Kamphaengsaen campus in Nakhon Pathom.
Juthamas herself got a chance via the university's "Dek Dee Mee Thirian" (Good students have a place to study) project launched in 2003.
A member of "Rao Rak Maenam Tha Chin" (We love the Tha Chin River) Club, Juthamas worked continuously on social projects.
Her efforts were rewarded by not having to take the university's entrance examination, which is compulsory for normal entrants.
"I've have been involved in many social projects throughout my three-year higher secondary period, and I had the support of the Nakhon Pathom Educational Area 1 Office, until this project began and I was selected," she said.
Juthamas said she believed the project could only enrich society, by encouraging young people to make positive contributions to society.
She urges everyone to realise the importance of good virtue and integrity as well as a student's academic performance.
Wanchai Sirichana, head of the Council of University Presidents of Thailand, said the council agreed to push for the inclusion of a student's community and social contributions since primary school, as part of the university admission criteria.
The council would consider students' community and social work as positive points for entrance interviews for the academic year 2008, Wanchai said.
Although not yet official, students who have made social contributions would have an advantage over others who have not.
The council will have to wait for the Education Ministry to finalise the criteria before officially including community and social work as part of the university admission system.
It is believed the ministry will try to do this in time for the 2009 academic year.