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4th Taiwan-Thailand Higher Education Forum held in Taiwan

4th Taiwan-Thailand Higher Education Forum held in Taiwan
Photo:Taiwan and Thailand have a well-established cooperative relationship in the field of higher education: This photo was taken when a delegation of representatives of universities in Taiwan visited Khon Kaen University in Thailand.

The 2014 Taiwan-Thailand Higher Education Forum was held at the Grand Hotel in Kaohsiung from November 23 to 26. Its theme was Accelerating Taiwan-Thailand Academia and Industry Partnerships: Advancing Career Opportunities and Product Development, a theme completely in focus with the urgent needs of both countries to fully utilize higher education to help drive economic development.

Taiwan and Thailand have a very special well-established cooperative relationship with one another. And this relationship is flourishing and creating situations of mutual benefit. The number of students from Thailand coming to Taiwan each year to study is continuing to rise. There has been a 10-fold increase in the number of students from Thailand in a little over a decade. More than 1,600 came last year; and approximately half came to begin a full academic degree. The Forums were originally begun to achieve the goal of strengthening and broadening such educational cooperation, and in September 2014, a great achievement was accomplished. Thailand and Taiwan entered an academic agreement establishing the Elite StudyInTaiwan Program. This will see 600 university lecturers in Thailand come to Taiwan to pursue a PhD.

The 2014 Forum was co-hosted by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan and by the Ministry of Education in Thailand, and National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST) in Taiwan and Phetchaburi Rajabhat University in Thailand were the co-organizers. Professor Kamjorn Tatiyakavee, Secretary-General of the Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC) in Thailand’s Ministry of Education, led a delegation of 120 presidents and directors from universities and colleges from Thailand to attend the Forum, where they met with around 65 participants from universities in Taiwan for direct dialogue to foster cooperation.

Dr. Lucia S. Lin, the political Deputy Minister of Education in Taiwan and Professor Dr. Wichit Srisa-an, former Minister of Education in Thailand each made opening remarks for the Forum.

In recent years, increasing importance has been placed on vitalizing and harnessing good interaction between academia and industry. This year’s forum gave further emphasis towards accelerating partnerships between academia and industry in Taiwan and those in Thailand. The Ministry of Education in Taiwan and its counterpart, the Ministry of Education in Thailand, have each been working vigorously to strengthen cooperation and collaboration between these sectors in their own countries.

They now want to explore expanding this valuable cooperation in both range and scope, and encourage establishing stronger ties between each other’s academic and industry sectors. The forum, which was followed by 2-days of study visits, was designed to help participants explore a wide range of specific avenues and strategies for further collaboration, consider specific case studies, and identify the most promising areas. They were able to focus on one of five general discipline areas: Agriculture; Technology, IT, and Science; Education and Social Sciences; Business; and Health Sciences

This must be done with clear goals in mind: principally, to advance career and employment opportunities in both countries, and to increase productive development. It is strongly anticipated that the discussions and interaction at this year’s forum will help bring about new forms of cooperation in the already flourishing cooperative educational relationship Taiwan and Thailand already have, and expand those between academia and industry. All the parties involved stand to gain.