Published on January 25, 2008
"Thailand has witnessed consistent growth in international student enrolment. This favourable trend reflects the public's confidence towards the country's effective education system and qualified faculties," Rachane Potjanasuntorn, director-general of the Department of Export Promotion, said yesterday.
The department is organising the Thailand International Education Exhibition at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre from February 1-3.
About 190 booths will be introducing hundreds of international programmes from public and private institutions such as International School Bangkok, Harrow International School, Assumption University and Mahidol University.
The event is aimed at attracting more local and international students to take up studies within the country as well as helping Thai trade representatives from Asian countries such as China, Vietnam, India and Cambodia to expand business opportunities.
"At present, Thailand has 361 international education institutions nationwide and more than 26,000 international students come to study in Thailand each year, so the nation gains up to Bt15.6 billion yearly," Rachane said.
With more than 70,000 Thai students remaining in the country to take international programmes, the country saves up to Bt43 billion in foreign exchange a year that they would have spent studying abroad, he said.
"We aim to increase of number of students studying in those schools by 10 per cent," he said.
Besides international programmes, short courses from vocational and training institutes, language schools and bilingual schools, as well as study tools and materials like software, stationery, textbooks and games will be on display.
Counselling services, stage performances by students, seminars for educators and students and a job fair are among the planned activities.
To promote the international education industry, the new government should work to disseminate information and plan strategies, said Usa Somboon, president of the International Schools Association of Thailand.
"I would like the new government to set up a one-stop service centre to examine foreign teachers so that it will be quicker for these institutions to hire them, as it now takes such a long time when they recruit those teachers," she said.
Chanuantong Tanasugarn, deputy dean of international relations in Mahidol University's Faculty of Graduate Studies, said his university was very famous among international students for its public health, tropical medicine and population programmes.
"We have technology and expertise in public health and medicine. That's why about 400 people in Thailand's neighbouring countries have decided to study those fields at our university. They come from Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma, Bangladesh and Nepal. Some are even from European countries," she said.
Mahidol hopes to increase its intake of international students by 50-70 per cent in the future, she added.