CHIANG MAI now has its own educational reform strategy thanks to a partnership of various stakeholders.
The strategy is scheduled for implementation between this year and 2019, with students to learn skills matching local demands.
Deputy Education Minister Lt-General Surachet Chaiwong has hailed the partnership as the key towards achieving educational goals in the near future.
“I have seen the admirable power of collaboration here,” Surachet said as he attended the unveiling of the strategy in Chiang Mai on Thursday.
Also present at the launch were representatives of the scheme’s many partner organisations, including the Chiang Mai Provincial Administrative Organisation and the Quality Learning Foundation (QLF).
Under the strategy, the aim is to mobilise resources and engage all sectors in Chiang Mai to organise great educational services under the concept of area-based development.
Strategic plan for province
“This good start also coincides with the 720th anniversary of our province,” Chiang Mai Provincial Administrative Organisation chairman Boonlert Buranupakorn said.
He said that under the strategy, Chiang Mai people would join forces to drive the power of learning in the province.
Boonlert hoped that if Chiang Mai’s educational reform proved a success, other provinces with potential, such as Chon Buri, Phuket, Surin and Surat Thani, would follow suit.
“I hope our upcoming success will boost the government’s trust in decentralisation when it comes to educational services,” he said.
QLF manager Dr Supakorn Buasai said the Chiang Mai Educational Reform Strategy marked the first strategic educational plan for the province.
“In the past, central agencies formulated policies and planned budget. But what we were given or what was prepared by central agencies might not respond to local needs,” he said.
Pledging their support for the strategy are 99 organisations and 26 individuals. Together, this network covers more than 3,000 members.
QLF has chosen Chiang Mai as one of the 14 provinces for its Area-Based Education project.
School working with business
“Chiang Mai’s new plan specifies desirable characteristics, and the kind of jobs that the province could provide, and the way to provide people to fill the province’s career gaps,” Supakorn said. “Therefore, if we can provide education that fits the needs of children and the province, it will help decrease social problems.”
He said Mae Ai Vittayakom School was one of the great examples of a school cooperating with a business to provide students with potential career skills after it teamed with Piankusol Silk and Cotton in providing a practical course on sewing for interested students.
Orrawan Tophe, 17, said she joined the career academy at her school three months ago on the suggestion of a teacher. She now earns Bt1,500 a month from sewing scarves, with her teacher helping with their distribution.
She has sewn from a very young age because she comes from the Pakayor tribe, which embraces sewing as part of their culture.
Her ability to make money at a young age has made her parent proud, and she said she wanted to continue making scarves in a |bid to be able to send herself to college. The province’s deputy governor, Mongkol Suksai, said the old education system was limited by the rapid growth of Chiang Mai city. The imbalance between the city’s growth rate and the education system might lead to social problem in the future if it is not addressed, he said. “It seems like this new reforming educational plan will be a direct pill to cure the city’s [education] problem while stabilising it at the same time,” he added.
(Chiangmai is one of 15 provinces that Quality Learning Foundation (QLF) is working on in encouraging their own initiative on education reform.)
Source: The Nation