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    Basic Information on Thai Higher Education - RTE Moscow :

    Educational Affairs

    Basic Information on Thai Higher Education

    Thai Education and the World

    Thailand joined UNESCO on January 1, 1949. The establishment of the UNESCO Bangkok Office further involved the country into a collaborative relationship with UNESCO.

    In 1990, the country hosted in Jomtien the Word Conference on Education for All attended by some 1,500 delegates from 155 countries. In 2005, H.R.H Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand was appointed as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Empowerment of Minority Children through Education and the Preservation of their Intangible Cultural Heritage. The country participates in EDUCAIDS, a UNESCO-led response to HIV and AIDS.

    Thailand holds four UNESCO Chairs and is home to two UNEVOC centres. As of September 2006, the country has 149 schools participating in UNESCO’s Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet).

    Basic Information

    Higher Education Administration

    The Commission on Higher Education, Thailand (CHE) is responsible for Thailand’s higher education at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

    The CHE is directed by the Board. According to the Article 16 of the Ministry of Education Regulatory Act, the Board has the authority to formulate higher education development policies and plans corresponding to the National Economic and Social Development Plan and National Education Plan. It has to set standards while providing resources as well as carry out follow-up activities, inspection and evaluation of higher education management on the basis of academic freedom and excellence of each individual degree-granting institution. Moreover, the Board has to consider issuing regulations, criteria and official orders as deemed necessary.

    The CHE has to mandate and authority to manage and to promote higher education with respect to the degree-granting institutions’ academic freedom and excellence. Therefore, the CHE will have the following mandates:

    (1) Formulate policy recommendations, higher education standards, higher education development planning and carrying out international cooperation on higher education,

    (2) Devise criteria and guidelines for resource allocation, establishment of higher education institutions and community colleges and providing financial support,

    (3) Coordinate and promote human resources development, to improve student capacity including handicapped, disadvantaged and gifted and talented students in higher education institutions and to coordinate and promote research activities that generate new body of knowledge for the support of the national development,

    (4) Provide recommendation on the establishment, dissolve, amalgamation, upgrading and closing down of higher education institution and community college,

    (5) Implement higher education monitoring, inspection, and evaluation as instructed by the CHE and to compile data and information on higher education,

    (6) Serve as the Secretariat to the CHE/Board,

    (7) Perform other functions prescribed by law as authorities and responsibilities of the CHE, and to carry out assignment instructed by the Minister of Education or the Council of Ministers.

    Currently, there are 20 limited admission public universities; 2 open admission universities; 6 autonomous universities including 2 Buddhist universities; 67 privates higher education institutions; 40 Rajabhat universities; 9 Rajamangala Universities of Technology, Pathumwan institute of Technology and 18 Community Colleges.

    Higher Education Policies

    Thailand’s Higher Education Development Plan has been formulated and integrated into the successive Five-year National Economic and Social Development Plan, interfacing educational activities to the economic, social and cultural goals of national development. The CHE has developed Thailand’s Long-Range Plan for Higher Education Development (2002-2014), in which internationalization of Thai higher education is one of the main emphases. Currently Thailand has been implementing the Ninth Higher Education Development Plan (2002-2006). Significant policies are as follows:

    (1) To develop quality of people both academically and professionally with skills necessary for the country, community, and local development. Higher education has to instill students to be intellectual, moralistic, ethical while having creative thinking and pursuing a life-long learning in order to build up competitiveness of the country.

    (2) To formulate body of knowledge and local wisdom for capacity building and encourage research and innovation that support the country, community, and local development and to maintain economic, social and environmental stabilization. Higher education plays a significant role in solving the country’s problem and crisis and also promoting Thailand as a regional hub for education.

    (3) To build a solid foundation for the local and community development that encourages self reliance and responsibility and to be able to catch up with the changing of the world.

    (4) To improve higher education administration system both at government and institutional levels that will allow more flexibility and efficiency and enhance quality of higher education and be able to cope with economic, social, political and technological changes. In addition, the private sector and communities are encouraged to play a greater role in the delivering of higher education.

    Quality in Focus

    The CHE has a significant role to encourage full-fledged quality assurance systems within all public and private higher education institutions by providing policy guidelines, support for knowledge sharing activities, and implementing related international projects. In terms of external quality assurance, it is conducted by the office for National Education Standards and Quality Assessment (QNESQA), a public organization set up in late 2000.

    While institutions of higher learning are responsible for theirs International Quality Assurance (IQA) process consisting of quality control, quality audit and quality assessment. Each higher education institution has to prepare a self-study report that could consist of nine aspects of aspects of quality factors provided by the CHE. They are 1) philosophy, commitments, objective and implementation plan, 2) teaching and learning, 3) student development activities, 4) research, 5) academic service to the community, 6) preservation of art and culture, 7) administration and management, 8) finance and budgeting and 9) quality assurance and enhancement. However, each university / institution is free to choose to adopt or develop any QA system suitable to its own contexts.

    The CHE serves as a ling with the ONESQA to ensure effective communication flow, mutual understanding and further actions for institutions after external quality assessments are completed.

    In order for Thailand to play a more active and dynamic role in the Asia and the Pacific region and the world community, the CHE has given prime importance and continuous support to the heightening of quality of instructors and programs. The CHE has invested intensively on staff development and upgrading facilities and laboratories of Thai higher education institutions.

    All through the years, Thai higher education institutions have worked is close collaboration with many leading institutions around the world form Australia and Japan to Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

    Undergraduate Programs Requirement

    Applicants for undergraduate program must complete their upper secondary education or equivalent to grade 12 in order to apply for study at a bachelor’s degree in Thailand. IN some cases, the examination is required and followed by an interview, a physical examination or an aptitude test which may differ from on institution directly to universities/institutions.

    Graduate Programs Requirement

    Applicants for graduate programs must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. Besides officially needed documents accompanying applications forms, the applicants may be requested to take such additional graduate examination as GRE or GMAT. The process may also include an interview.

    Academic Calendar

    Generally, Thai academic year comprises two sixteen-week semesters with a summer session.
    First semester : June – October
    Second semester : November – March
    Summer session : April – May

    Some universities’ academic year start in September – December and January – May and some universities adopted trimester academic year. Please check with individual institution for accurate academic calendar.


    Students usually enroll in at least 9 credits/hour but no more than 22 credits/hour per semester for undergraduate programs. Graduate students are required to take between 9 to 15 credits hour. The process of registration must be completed before the class starts.

    Candidates for the bachelor’s degree must complete the minimum of 120-150 credits. The grade point average must be maintained at least 2.00 or better on the scale of four points in order to achieve the degree. Candidates for master’s degree must complete minimum of 36 credits with grade point average at least 3.00 on the scale of 4 points. The doctoral degree program requires candidates with a bachelor’s degree to complete the minimum of 72 credits hour while master’s degree holders must complete the program with a minimum of 48 credits.

    Grading and Examination

    Thai higher education uses a letter grading system in both undergraduate and graduate programs. However, other grading methods can be employed such as points or percentage depending on individual instructors throughout the courses. Those grading systems are converted as grade points as following:

    Grade Meaning Grade point
    A Excellent 4.00
    B+ Very good 3.50
    B Good 3.00
    C+ Fairly good 2.50
    C Fair 2.00
    D+ Poor 1.50
    D Very poor 1.00
    F Failure 0.00
    I Incomplete
    W Withdrawn
    WF Withdrawn because of failure
    AU Audit

    Two or more tests including mid-term and final examinations are given during the examination schedule each semester. Students must obtain at least a cumulative grade point average of not less than 2.00 for a bachelor’s degree completion, and 3.00 for a master’s and doctoral degree.

    Information Services

    Electronic linkages and information services are well equipped at all public and private higher education institutions both in the central and provincial regions. The modern linkage system UniNET (Inter University Network) is adopted to link all university library systems together for prompt and effective exchanges of resources and to provide national and international education network services to enable research and development technologies to support all universities and institutions of higher learning.

    UniNet currently connects most higher education institutions with local internet and global internet, Internet2, STAR TAP, APAN that cover 1,000 universities around the world.

    Furthermore, in the near future, the National Education Network (EdNet) as a sole information networking system for the Ministry of Education will serve as the core network in distributing information networking to education institutions at all levels. EdNet will enhance the capacity of the link routes between the national education network and the local and oversea education networks. Besides, internet system is available for students, faculties and the general public to access international academic resources while e-mail services are also provided for students to have direct communication and consultations with their instructors and peers.

    Tuition and Fees

    The tuition and fees varies from one institution to another.

    How to apply for a Visa

    Foreign students who require a visa to study in Thailand, must obtain Non-immigrant “ED” prior to entering to the Kingdom of Thailand

    (visa requirement listed under “Consular Issues”)

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