YOUNG THAIS need a broader world view and are increasingly aware of this, but lack the support to improve their skill sets, something Bangkok University says it hopes to help rectify.
Research and studies from many institutions, including Bangkok Poll, reveal Thai youth’s need to prepare for international competition, especially in terms of English capability, in which they compare poorly with counterparts in other Asean countries. Although young Thais are well aware of the need for an internationalised mindset, they lack support. To that end, Bangkok University has launched six undergraduate bilingual programmes.
“The effective education of Thai youth must focus on driving their thinking process and their self-learning process,” said Dr Jiraporn Kerdchoochuen, director of the university’s Global Student Development Project. “Teaching them facts is not enough in this era, but stimulating their thinking process and learning is key. We call this group of Thai youth ‘Global-Gen’.”
Global-Gen refers to a new generation that is ready for the transition to a global context. They have open thinking processes and mindsets, leading to self-development in a global context. Characteristics of Global-Gen are flexibility, readiness to new learning, openness, and eagerness to succeed on the international stage.
Bangkok University views the future of Thai education in three dimensions, which are the key developments of its newly launched bilingual programmes.
Professional knowledge: Young people should absorb specialised education from a range of sources, such as academic professors, professionals, and industry experts. In addition to providing professional knowledge, the learning and thinking processes should be stimulated for actual implementation, by linking the educational programme closer to business or industry sectors.
Bangkok University has arranged a programme that brings academics and industry specialists together to advise its students. International English professors will be the key drivers of the bilingual programmes. Students will be able to select their preferred specialist subjects. To complete the programme, students will be required to study entrepreneurial courses and “in trend/current issues”, including subjects such as digital marketing strategy.
Internationalised mindset, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit: Young people must develop their own strengths and identities to compete in an international environment, which includes creativity and entrepreneurial spirit; being a thinker and risk-taker; and openness. This internationalised mindset is crucial to their success and needs to be seeded along with the education process.
Bangkok University has arranged its programmes to build strong identity in two areas, namely an internationalised mindset and a creative thinking process. The Bangkok University Excellence Centres that serve as the key support to this development are the International Institute for Asia Pacific Studies, the Bangkok University Creative Centre, and the Creative Entrepreneurship Development Institute.
Soft skills, life skills, human skills: In the future, Thai youth must have other skills beyond professional knowledge for their sustained achievement. These basic skills will enhance their ability to develop relationships within the international context.
Bangkok University has developed programmes that build these skills via several workshops.
Jiraporn revealed the university’s six programmes towards a bilingual bachelor’s degree, which are Marketing, Broadcasting, International Business Management, Advertising, Accounting, and Airline Business Management.
“Rapid change in the international and global context has affected the new balance in education between theory and implementation,” she said. “Do not let old, outdated theories take over or lead the new world of education. Do not let implementation without theory, just experience, be a role model. Experience is about great learning, but not the great direction that guarantees success.
“Thai education must find a balance between theory and implementation, as in our bilingual programmes, which will focus on key knowledge that students can apply in their real life.”