November 02, 2012 00:00 By CHULARAT SAENGPASSA,
To end the problem concerning the legal status of Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), its council and president want the government to ratify the school's new charter.
Meanwhile, a Foreign Ministry source suggested AIT should solve its internal problems with its students first before working with the ministry.
“AIT is not the reason for the existing legal problem,” Prof Said Irandoust, who has been AIT’s president for about seven years, said in an interview with Krungthep Turakij TV.
He said council members told a recent open forum that they were very keen to ensure that the government ratified AIT’s new charter as soon as possible. “Our charter was initiated by our host country, Thailand. Everything started because of a vision from our host country. AIT did everything according to the instructions and guidance of the country,” the president said.
He urged the government to get on board and ratify the charter, which has already been ratified by nine nations.
The president said everybody, including representatives from Thailand, knew at least six months ahead that the new charter would come into force.
“The problem relating to AIT’s status is not caused by AIT, and AIT and its students should not be affected,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry source said it did not want to get involved in problems between AIT’s alumni, students and lecturers. AIT administrators need to be open-minded to find solutions, the source said. The former council of AIT could help with this as Thailand ratified the former charter the council worked under. Since internal problems were unresolved, it was difficult for the ministry to engage with them, the source said, adding that the validity of AIT’s degrees was not a problem as its reputation and quality of education were recognised.
The issues will be taken up at a meeting on Monday chaired by the Foreign Ministry’s permanent secretary.
Meanwhile, last month a number of students rallied against the AIT president over concerns that their degrees will not be certified and suspicions over the level of transparency in AIT’s administration. They lodged a complaint with the president, and the Education and Foreign ministries.
At the forum, the president responded to the issue of transparency, saying that the AIT Council and the AIT administration had not received the letter of complaint written by the AIT Alumni Association to the Foreign Ministry, despite repeated requests by the council.