Training for workers is now essential
I fully agree with the government's refusal to subsidise the minimum wage hike to Bt300 nationally, excluding housing and food. Instead, PM Yingluck offers access to capital loans (which, of course, must be repaid), training to boost worker productivity, and lower corporate taxes, which are fine.
Our economy must become much more productive. We cannot play the low-cost-labour card anymore when China can beat anybody in the world at that game. Boosting minimum wages will force firms to increase staff productivity and loans and lower corporate taxes will help ease the transition. We have the lowest unemployment rate in the world - as shown by the masses of imported workers from Myanmar - and can easily afford even a doubling of the numbers of unemployed.
It is no surprise that our education system is exceedingly poor, as shown by our being evaluated as "poor" in the latest Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, and that our students' scores fall further with each successive ranking. As Dr Olarn Chaipravat, adviser to Yingluck, noted, "Our [education] system is all about one-way communication. Students have to memorise textbooks in order to pass exams, but they never learn to think."
I suggest, then, that all public schools at all levels be required to post their average O-NET and other national test scores on their websites as a guide for students and their parents. We also need training at the top-scoring 10 per cent of these institutions to be eligible for generous government loans, and training grants for worker productivity.