Chinese investment in private Thai universities raises some concerns

Thai male students of Level 2 (lower secondary education) at school

Thai male students of Level 2 (lower secondary education) at school. Photo: Phonlawat Eungsithong. CC BY-SA 3.0.

Thai academics are concerned that Chinese nationals have taken majority stakes in three private universities because they fear these overseas investors could focus on profit over the quality of education.

Academics in Thailand also worry that these institutions could prioritize the recruitment of Chinese students over local ones and international programs over courses focused on local needs.

Some Thai students at these universities, though, said they have not seen drastic modifications to curricula or courses, yet, since the Chinese investors have come on board. They noted that the only changes they have seen are more Chinese students, and, in some cases, more international programs.

Supachai Pathumnakul, deputy permanent-secretary of the Ministry of Education Science, Research and Innovation, downplayed concerns saying private universities were rigorously regulated.

He said the three universities with Chinese investments, Krirk University, Metharath University and Stamford International University, “have undergone structural modifications involving foreign shareholders to have Chinese as executives and university council members.”

“Regardless of how the university’s structure or management evolves, they are strictly regulated under Thailand’s Private University Act, the Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Act and other laws related to private higher education institutions in Thailand,” he told BenarNews.

“This issue is also overseen by the Office of the Higher Education Commission, the Commission on Higher Education Standards and the Ministry of Education,” he said.

He said that under Thai law, while the president of the university council and the academic leader of the university can be foreigners, at least half of the council members must be Thai citizens.

Full story: BenarNews

Kunnawut Boonreak
Chiang Mai, Thailand

Copyright ©2023, BenarNews. Used with the permission of BenarNews.

Leave a Reply