Rangsit University has joined forces with US-based Oracle Cloud to launch a new education format for a “workforce 4.0” initiative.
In line with the government’s Thailand 4.0 initiative, the private university aims to familiarise its first-year college students with the latest cloud-based computing facilities provided by Oracle for its new course – Innovative Start-ups.
For the first time, first-year students will have access to a cutting-edge digital cloud platform to turn their innovative ideas into real online businesses, while studying for their Bachelor’s degrees at the university’s College of Information Technology and Communication.
Dr Chetneti Srisa-an, the dean, said Oracle Cloud is chosen to power the students’ start-up community, which kicked off last year.
So far, recent graduates of Rangsit University have already launched eight start-ups, including those related to QueQ app (which does away with unnecessarily having to queue up at restaurants, hospitals etc) and GateDee app (for an at-home blood-testing service).
Last year, Rangsit University’s graduates also contested in the Start-up Thailand league organised by National Innovation Agency that provides incubation, funding and other services to promising start-ups. According to Chetneti, the university’s innovative start-up course is open to all first-year students. They can earn a total of six credits through project-based assignments, while also competing to win prize money in multiple contests.
The university has also encouraged students to take part in the Asian business plan competition, which covers start-ups from nine countries including Thailand.
For this year, more than 160 students have enrolled in the course with a total of 28 projects underway, and so they need the latest cloud-based computing facilities to turn good ideas into scalable online enterprises that solve problems for people and businesses.
“We want to promote to students that they commercialise their innovative ideas for various use cases,” he said, noting that Thailand had previously wasted a lot of financial and other resources on many research projects that could not be further developed and commercialised.
According to Chetneti, ongoing digitalisation of the economy and society is posing new challenges to educators as they need to prepare students for the “workforce 4.0”, including through a more personalised education platform with a focus on technology and innovation.
However, not all students will become entrepreneurs, since the ratio of success is less than 20 per cent. Many graduates will still seek jobs as salaried workers but they, too will need new skills and a certain mindset for innovative projects in their workplace.
The GateDee app’s co-founder Kannaphat Kraengkrai is a recent graduate of RSU. Kannaphat said GateDee was created by her and three classmates to help elderly persons who need to get their blood tested regularly.
At most hospitals, people have to wait at least an hour for blood-test results before they can see the doctor, so it is more convenient to have a licensed practitioner get a blood sample for lab analysis ahead of a visit to the doctor’s office.
Kannaphat says Thailand now has about 12 million seniors aged 60 or above. There is a huge potential market for such a service in the rapidly ageing society.
Customers can now get an appointment online for the service and pay for it using the MyMo payment app from Government Savings Bank, Kannaphat said, adding that lab results are delivered online within 24 hours.
Passanan Chamusri, cloud platform lead at Oracle Corp (Thailand), said the company helps the university educate students for workforce 4.0 by leveraging its global learning experience as well as various cases in which innovative technology is practised in the cloud-based environment. The Oracle Cloud programme also highlights competition to help make education more effective.
The workforce 4.0 course starts with sessions to inspire first-year students with actual start-up case studies.
Students then take classes on fundamental knowledge about digital transformation and an introduction to creating platforms in order to develop their own ideas and bring them to life.
Next, students learn how AI (artificial intelligence) and other tools can be used to help execute the projects by embedding it into the core technology to drive innovation and potential success.
The programme also includes hackathon-themed contests in which students create products from their initial ideas. In this process, promising ideas are made concrete by developing them into healthcare apps, micro loan apps, a better registration system or grading system, or a student behaviour analysis system.