Khon Kaen University is initiating collaboration with leading research universities in England and Scotland

January 11-18, 2023 – Khon Kaen University led by Asst. Prof. Acharawan Tophak-ngarm, Ph.D., Assistant to the President for International Affairs; Asst. Prof. Sirimonporn Thipsingh, Ph.D., Dean of the International College; and Asst. Prof. Paninee Narutaradol, Director of the Sustainable Innovation and Society Project of the International College visited the University of the West of Scotland in Scotland and University of York in England. The objective of the visit was to discuss the initiation of collaboration between universities to build academic excellence through educational opportunities and returns of values to the society.

First, Khon Kaen University discussed the entering of MOU with the University of the West of Scotland for in-depth collaboration. Prior to now, the two universities have carried out academic and research activities together under the Erasmus Project of the European Union. This Project was a joint research study with Kasetsat University, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science, and Faculty of Business Administration and Accountancy. The meeting this time was to look for the possibility to extend the past activities. The International College of Khon Kaen University is going to invite distinguished speakers to give a special talk followed by additional online discussion.

On the part of the International College, it was the first time IC visited the University of the West of Scotland. The IC Dean, on this occasion, presented the International Master’s Degree Programs in Biodiversity and Environmental Management and in International Technology and Innovation Management. The presentation was very well interested by the staff of the University of the West of Scotland.

In addition, the International College met with the administrators of the Faculty of Business and Society, University of York in England. It was found that the implementation context of the Faculty of Business and Society there is similar to KKUIC. The two institutions also have efficient staff members to conduct research studies. Therefore, the two institutions are pleased and are expecting research collaboration in the near future.

 

Further updates about the progress of Khon Kaen University will be announced soon. At the same time, the International College and Khon Kaen University are determined to continuously promote international relation and collaboration with overseas universities.

 

Source: Khon Kaen University

Thai students fear cruellest cut as Education Ministry leaves hairstyle rules up to schools

Education Minister Treenuch Thienthong has scrapped her ministry’s rule on student hairstyles – a rule that youngsters have long complained about. However, her decision has been panned instead of praised by many students, who believe it will land them in even bigger disciplinary trouble.

 

“She has let all hell break loose on children’s heads,” a powerful students’ group complained on Twitter.

 

The Bad Student group said that by scrapping the rule the Education Ministry is passing the buck. Now, nobody can blame the ministry when schools impose strict regulations on how their students wear their hair to class.

 

“Short, high and close to the head will be back for boys, and girls won’t be able to wear their hair beyond their earlobes,” the group warned.

 

What has the minister done?

 

On January 16, as Thailand celebrated National Teachers’ Day, Treenuch signed an order cancelling the Education Ministry’s 2020 regulation on student hairstyles. Citing advice from the government’s legal advisors, she said that as the ministry’s top executive, she had the power to set policies for education agencies to follow.

 

This week, Treenuch went public about the cancellation of the rule and declared she was preparing a fresh guideline for schools on student hairdos.

 

The draft guideline says students can wear either short or long hair, but it allows schools to set their own rules in line with their mission or context. It also says that schools can consult stakeholders and promote participation in the formulation of the hairstyle rule.

 

What did the 2020 rule say?

 

Enforced on May 1, 2020, the Education Ministry’s regulation on student hairstyles prescribes short bobs or properly tied-up long hair for girls and close crew cuts with shaved sides for boys. Students were barred from getting their hair dyed or permed, and no beards or moustaches were allowed. Exemptions could only be made on grounds of religion.

 

Will the latest move backfire?

 

Move Forward Party MP Suttawan Suban said Treenuch’s decision paves the way for some school principals to become more authoritarian, dictating how their students wear their hair.

 

“The minister’s move reflects the fact that she does not really care about students’ rights,” Suttawan said. “Her move is a backward step.”

 

But Amporn Pinasa, secretary-general of the Office of Basic Education Commission (OBEC), argued that Treenuch’s move aims to give schools and other education stakeholders flexibility and power to decide how students should wear their hair.

 

“It’s about decentralization and flexibility,” he said.

 

Posting on Facebook, Treenuch insisted that her action would lead to the proper formulation of rules on student hairstyles that suit the context of each school.

 

For instance, schools will be able to take into account students’ opinions when making a decision on their hairstyle policies.

 

Students’ fight for freedom

 

While students across the country have long complained about the way they are forced to wear their hair, they have had to bow down to this restriction for generations. However, a stunt staged on a Bangkok pavement by Bad Student in 2020 sparked public awareness that enforcement of hairstyle rules sometimes went too far. As a result, calls grew for students to be given greater freedom in deciding how to wear their hair.

 

Backed by public support, many students began defying their schools’ hair rule while some even protested outside the Education Ministry.

 

Discussion among the authorities followed, but students who were expecting more lenient regulations were dismayed when the Education Ministry simply stepped out of the fray.

 

What’s next step for Bad Student?

 

Bad Student is now calling on the Education Ministry to immediately order schools to stop formulating their own hair rules and thereby violating what it calls young people’s fundamental right to self-expression.

 

It also demanded that the Cabinet amend the Children Protection Act to ensure the protection of students’ dignity. Reports are rife of teachers humiliating students whose hairdos don’t match the strict criteria by chopping their hair or otherwise ruining their hairstyle so they have no choice but to cut it short. These punishments are usually meted in full view of other students.

 

“The Cabinet should get serious about protecting students’ rights and ensure they have a say in decisions made by school committees,” Bad Student said.

 

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service

Microsoft quarterly results saved by cloud computing

Microsoft on Tuesday said sales slowed and profits slumped in the last quarter of 2022 as a darkening economic outlook pushed it to lay off 10,000 workers.

 

The Washington state-based tech giant — owner of LinkedIn, Xbox and Windows — said overall sales rose just two percent in the October-to-December period, to $52.7 billion, the slowest rise in six years.

 

Net profit landed at $16.4 billion for the quarter, down 12 percent year-on-year, according to its earnings release.

 

The results however met, or in some segments exceeded, expectations and Microsoft’s share price was up by more than four percent in late trading after the results were announced.

 

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella last week said he was laying off about five percent of the company’s workforce, just days before pumping several billion dollars into OpenAI, the company behind the controversial chatbot ChatGPT.

 

The job cuts matched similar culls at other tech giants as companies reversed a major hiring spree during the pandemic when demand for tech products exploded.

 

Nadella has said that ChatGPT, and other artificial intelligence breakthroughs by the OpenAI research company, would be integrated into Microsoft products that include the Windows operating system, Office and the Bing search engine.

 

Microsoft is also trying to overcome major regulatory hurdles to complete its buyout of video gaming giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion.

 

US and EU regulators are highly skeptical of the purchase and allege it would give an unfair advantage to Microsoft’s Xbox console over rivals like Sony’s PlayStation.

 

The group’s quarterly results were eagerly awaited by the market for the closer they offer at cloud computing, which is Microsoft’s biggest business and a bellwether for the larger economy.

 

The company’s “intelligent cloud” business, which brings together its servers and data analytics services, brought in $21.5 billion in the second quarter of its fiscal year, up 18 percent year-on-year.

 

The growth of its remote computing platform, Azure, slower than usual at 31 percent, carried the activity.

 

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service

MUIC’s English & Math Contest for High Schoolers

Mahidol University International College’s (MUIC), the Corporate Communication Section together with the Preparation Center for Languages and Mathematics (PC) held “Game of English and Math (GEM) Competition 2023” with the theme “Knowledge is Power” on January 14, 2023 at Charinyarasami Hall, Aditayathorn Building.

This quiz bee-type contest, which attracted 119 teams from leading high schools in Thailand, aimed at helping to develop students’ English speaking skills and provide them with effective speaking activities under the guidance of teachers who are either native English speakers or are experts in the field. Participating high school students were expected to gain general knowledge, cultural insights and mathematical skills from this competition which would help them in the near future.

In the end, Team 37 KVIS from Kamnoetvidya Science Academy won 1st Place, receiving 10,000 Baht worth of scholarship grant, a trophy and a certificate. On the other hand, Team 38 KVIS from Kamnoetvidya Science Academy was 1st Runner-up and received 7,000 Baht worth of scholarship grant, a trophy and a certificate. Meanwhile, Team 103 TU from Triam Udom Suksa School was 2nd Runner-up and received 5,000 Baht worth of scholarship grant, a trophy and a certificate.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chanchai Phonthanukitithaworn, Associate Dean for Corporate Communication and Information Technology, gave the opening remarks and welcomed all the competitors.

Source: Mahidol University

KKU invites all to Isan Agricultural Fair 2023 – with great agricultural innovations on the magnificent farm zone of KKU

Thursday January 12, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. – Faculty of Agriculture, Khon Kaen University held a press conference to release the news on the Isan Agricultural Fair 2023. Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., President of Khon Kaen University presided over and opened the press release meeting. Assoc. Prof. Darunee Jothityangkoon, Ph.D., Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, the chairperson of the event, presented the activities to be held at the fair. Among attendants at the press release were: Mr. Thongchai Khamkhot, Director of the Agricultural Research and Development Office, Area 3; Mr. Surapon Thanyajaroen, Livestock Head Officer Area 4; Mr. Kamon Sophat, Direcor of the Agricultural Development and Extension Office Area 4, Khon Kaen; representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, who presented the activities on the part of the Ministry. A lot of news correspondents and the public attended this press release, which was held at Room 5101, AG 05, Faculty of Agriculture, Khon Kaen University.

Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., President of Khon Kaen University related that the Isan Agricultural Fair is an event that KKU organizes continuously to respond to the goals and philosophy of Khon Kaen University to be the center of thoughts and social intellects as well as the center of education of the Northeast. The Fair is one of the big activities of Khon Kaen University and Khon Kaen Province that will result in the circulation and propulsion of tourism and economy of the province. This could be seen from the number of people coming to the fair last year that amounted to over 500,000 people or an average of 50,000 people each day, circulating the amount of over 500-600 million baht.

“The Fair this year is going to be the first full-cycle one after it had not been organized for 2 years due to Covid-19 pandemic. The Fair demonstrates the potentiality of Thai agricultural development that responds to the Government’s policy under the BCG-based economic development, which includes 3 dimensions, namely, Bio-economy, Circular Economy, and Green Economy. This means economic development in parallel with social development and the environment nurturing under good balance.”

Assoc. Prof. Darunee Jothityangkoon, Ph.D., Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and the chairperson of the event added that the 2023 Fair will be the 31st year of the Fair to be organized. It is held under the motto: “Isan agricultural innovations towards sustainable development”. The objectives are also to exhibit the works in agriculture, and carry out the Royal Intention of His Majesty King Rama IX; and to feature learning and sharing of academic and research works in agriculture of academics both from the governmental and private sectors as well as private developmental organizations and farmers. The expected outcomes will be to stimulate and promote the expansion of medium and small agricultural and agricultural industry businesses.

“For the venue of the Fair this year, the Faculty of Agriculture has improved the landscape of the Agricultural Technology Park. From the addition of the cowboy fence near the area, a bicycle lane, and a jogging route, there was a need to change the Fair’s ground plan by moving the zone towards the south of the Jaturamuk Exhibition Building. The Agriculture Farm will be open and the East side will be provided for more parking areas. Big buses and personal cars can be parked here, and this means more visitors can come to the Fair. There will be a small train taking visitors around the fair. If visitors want to avoid the traffic, they can park in front of KKU gate and take the green-line KKU air-conditioned shuttle bus to the Fair from the gate. This 2023 Isan Agricultural Fair will be a great event in terms of agricultural innovations and the beauty of the Fair area.”

Mr. Thongchai Khamkhot, Director of the Agricultural Research and Development Office, Area 3, said that the Department of Agriculture by the Office of Agricultural Research and Development Area 3, Khon Kaen, the Office of Khon Kaen Agronomy, the Center for Research and Development of Cultivars, Khon Kaen and Khon Kaen Engineering Agriculture Research Center, are joining in organizing the Fair this year under the concept: “50th Year of Department of Agriculture, Sustainable and Prosperous Technology of Thai Farmers”. The Fair area covers roughly 600 square meters and is composed of 8 zones as follows: Zone 1 – the 50th year of good cultivars of field crops from the Department of Agriculture, Zone 2 – the 50th year of production technology and agricultural machinery; Zone 3 – production of cultivars and quality certification; Zone 4 – production inputs (biological fertilizers and products) and checking of production inputs; Zone 5 – safe and standard foods, Plant Cultivar Act, and agricultural dangerous materials; Zone 6 – selling of manufactured products and giving cultivars free of charge; Zone 7 – Demonstration Stage and academic forums; Zone 8 – Check-in point or photography landmark of the 50th year of the Department of Agriculture. It can be seen that all zones reflect the agricultural innovations not to be missed.

The activities by the Faculty of Agriculture include:

The 24th Agricultural Conference on Monday January 30, 2023 at Room 7011, Faculty of Agriculture

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – a special talk on “The policy issue of the administration and management of funds for manpower development and development of universities, research and innovation building that supports the research and development according to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” by Prof. Sompong Khlainongsuang, Ph.D., Director of the Office of Administration and Management of Funds

13:00 p.m. – 13:50 p.m. – a special talk on “Modulating Ruminal Fermentation for Feed Efficiency and Sustainable Use of Ruminants” by Antonio Faciola, Ph.D. Professor & Graduate Program Director Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida, USA.

Saturday January 26, 2023: Questions-Answers Contest on agricultural knowledge for school students, at Room 7011, Faculty of Agriculture

Forums and training on farm occupations: Program Application for managing databases, flower arrangement, making compost, culturing vegetable cultivars, culturing mushroom, micro-green, producing organic vegetables, etc.

Contests on Local wisdoms such as arranging Bai Sri trays, manual drawing of silk thread, making crispy bananas, making fresh sugarcane juice, cooking fermented fish paste, cooking dishes from silk cocoon, weaving reed mats, making bags from reed (young people level)

Contest of beautiful fish, eel catching, decorating flower plant boxes, fish painting, and contests of different pets

Exhibitions on agricultural technologies and knowledge from different departments of the Faculty of Agriculture

Farm tour around the Fair by the students of the Faculty of Agriculture

Booths selling farm products by the students of the Faculty of Agriculture

Home Coming Party of Mo Din Daeng Agricultural Alumni on Saturday January 28, 2023 at the Faculty of Agriculture

Source: Khon Kaen University

20 students in Samut Prakan sent to hospital with suspected food poisoning

About 20 students at a school in Thailand’s Samut Prakan province have been rushed to hospitals with symptoms associated with food poisoning.

The school, located on Soi Suksawat 8, was holding held a “pre-Children’s Day” celebration today (Friday), with several parents bringing food to the school for free distribution to students.

At about 10am, six young students fell sick, experiencing stomach aches, dizziness and vomiting, prompting the school’s administrator to alert the emergency services. An ambulance and medics rushed to the school.

Soon, more students began to suffer from similar symptoms and all were taken to nearby hospitals.

A school official said that it is not yet known which food was the source of the outbreak

There are about 800 students at the school and most were unaffected.

Parents were eventually asked to take their children home.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service

Mahidol University International Affairs Office organized the Train the Virtual Trainer for foreign staff

Assoc. Prof. Nopraenue Sajjarax Dhirathiti, Vice President for International Relations and Corporate Communication delivered a warm opening remark to the participants attended “Train the Virtual Trainer”.

The training was held by Mahidol University International Affairs Office (MUIAO) via Zoom application to sharpen the participants’ online teaching skills including some special techniques of online teaching applications and instructional design teaching approach to suit with their audience.

In this training, we are honored to have Lect. Dr. Rapee Boonplueang, Head of Biology Department, Faculty of Science as a special lecturer to conduct the training.

Source: Mahidol University

KKU is looking for an approach to develop students’ skills by collaborating with Amata Corporation Public Company Limited

Thursday January 5, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. – Khon Kaen University held a meeting on education, students’ skill development, and cooperative education programs to be conducted at private organizations. This meeting was organized between Khon Kaen University administrators, led by Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., President of the University and Khun Vikrom Krommadit, Chief Executive Officer of Amata Corporation Public Company Limited. Participants included vice presidents, assistants to the president, deans of faculties, vice deans, and administrators of different divisions and interested people. The meeting was held at Sarasin Room, Sirikunakorn Building, Khon Kaen University.

Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., President of Khon Kaen University said, “On behalf of Khon Kaen University and as a representative of KKU administrators, I am grateful to Khun Vikrom Krommadit, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Amata Corporation Public Company Limited for visiting us today. This is a good chance that our administrators are able to discuss and exchange different ideas with Amata Corporation so that we will obtain suggestions that will also lead towards good collaboration in the near future. Although KKU has the strength in terms of the different fields and expertise of our lecturers and staff members, there is still at present new bodies of knowledge that can more greatly help fulfill our missions. Collaboration with Amata Corporation Public Company Limited and the Industrial Estate of the Corporation will support our role in human development and lead towards good collaboration that will happen in due course.”

Khun Vikrom Krommadit, Chief Executive Officer of Amata Corporation Public Company Limited then gave a talk on the background of the foundation of the Amata City Industrial Estate, the overall administration and management of the city, and the administrative visions. Khun Vikrom Krommadit also related about his good experiences in his work.

On this occasion, there was the presentation that demonstrated the academic strengths of different faculties of Khon Kaen University. Next, the meeting went on to discuss the cooperation with broad ideas proposed that are related to student development, cooperative education programs that will lead to effective preparation of graduates from the university who are ready for employment.

News: Krittima Srisawang, a student under the cooperative education program from Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Khon Kaen University

Source: Khon Kaen University

Thailand ushers in new education era, but will rich-poor gap close?

Thai education is about to enter a new phase as Parliament prepares to vote on the National Education Bill. Yet experts do not expect the bill and its reforms to bring big improvements for Thailand’s much-criticized education system.

“Once the National Education Bill becomes law, Thailand’s education sector will shift to a new era,” said Dr Sompong Jitradub, an education expert at the Equitable Education Fund (EEF).

The education draft law advocates decentralization and paves the way for schools to have more power over their operations, he said. The idea is to allow them to respond faster and better to the needs and concerns of students, parents and other stakeholders.

The bill will even allow state schools to register themselves as legal entities and operate with greater independence.

Parliament is scheduled to deliberate the bill on January 11 and 12.

Dr Pumsaran Thongliemnak, EEF’s acting director, expects Thailand to have more consistent educational policies once the new law is passed.

“This bill assigns a national committee to monitor the country’s educational sector and drive its education reform. This is a big deal.”

He said that once the bill becomes law, it will empower area-based education and govern the issues of school dropouts and those who opt for informal education.

The Education Bill will also be complemented by three other education-related laws, namely the EEF Bill, the Educational Innovations Bill and the Learning Promotion Bill.

Dim hopes

While Dr Sompong believes the new bill will improve certain aspects of Thai education, he does not think it will catapult the sector up to world-class standards.

“Structurally speaking, Thailand’s educational sector is conservative. Its educational services, therefore, are not in line with global trends that promote global citizenship, democracy, human rights, and environmental awareness,” the prominent educator said.

He pointed out that various measures indicate Thailand is lagging behind on the global stage where education is concerned.

Pumsaran voiced concerns that Thailand would end up becoming like Latin American countries, with the rich enjoying quality schooling and the poor struggling with shabby education, reinforcing inequality.

“I’m worried that Thailand’s education sector is headed in this direction. I can see that more international schools are opening in Thailand to satisfy the demands of the upper-middle class,” he said. “Affluent parents can afford to send their children to prestigious state or international schools. Yet at the same time, there are more small schools in remote areas serving the needs of impoverished children.”

Inequality in Thailand’s education system, Pumsaran said, was exposed during the COVID-19 crisis when many parents lost jobs or income and could no longer afford to pay school fees.

He said the government should allocate more resources to schools based on need rather than merely on the number of students enrolled.

Educational trends

Assoc Prof Dr Wilert Puriwat, who teaches at the Chulalongkorn Business School, said the Thai education sector will soon shift into an offline-online mode whereby students will learn in class, apply this knowledge elsewhere, and return to the classroom to learn more. Education will also move away from a fact/knowledge-based approach to a wisdom/thinking-based approach, he added.

“We will not just focus on academic content, as learners also need life skills and methods to integrate their knowledge from different fields.”

Teachers in class must show their students how to apply their knowledge, or less they would have no place in the future of education, he added.

“Students expect real experiences. They want to find out why it is necessary for them to learn this or that subject and how they can apply the knowledge they have gathered,” he said. “Universities must provide lifeline learning.”

Pumsaran agreed, saying that soft skills along with social and emotional learning are growing trends in the education sector. Many countries in the West have embraced such trends after studies showed that social or emotional skills like empathy and self-control have a big role to play in people’s success as adults.

Pumsaran also said that technological developments like artificial intelligence, big data and virtual reality have an important role to play in supporting learning. The new technology has made possible nano learning, whereby children absorb small, engaging bits of information via video, soundbites and images, reducing the time they need to spend in lessons.

“Traditional ways of teaching will be replaced,” Pumsaran said. “The world has many new things.”

While such trends look promising, Pumsaran is worried that the use of technology may also widen the education gap between rich and poor, given that many poor families cannot afford electronic devices.

“Policymakers should monitor trends and allocate funds in a way that will reduce the gap, not widen it,” he said. “Don’t forget that technology, compatible devices and internet access will have growing importance.”

Pumsaran wants the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to lower internet fees in remote areas so the gap in quality of learning can be narrowed.

The Education Ministry has listed several other educational trends for 2023. As well as virtual reality, AI and nano-learning, the ministry’s Education Council believes gamification, augmented reality, blockchain mechanisms, and other digital media will play a bigger role in education.

Also expected to become popular are personalized lessons, which focus on the strengths and interests of each student, subscription-based learning and programs focused on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math).

The Education Council also expects holistic learning, distance and hybrid learning, and an entrepreneurial mindset to play an increasing role in Thai education.

Difficult future for Thai universities

Pumsaran said higher-education institutes in Thailand face growing difficulty in attracting new students due to the falling birth rate and their diminishing appeal to students from countries in the surrounding region.

“Before COVID-19, Thai education institutes were able to attract many students from China, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar. But during the pandemic, many world-class universities began offering online courses, while employers are now more accepting of new graduates who have completed online courses,” he said. “So, it is becoming more difficult for Thai universities to attract international students.”

He added that youngsters these days are less focused on getting university degrees because many employers are recruiting based on technical rather than academic skills.

“Medium-level universities need to adjust fast or risk going out of business,” he warned.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service