Thai Culture: Thailand’s Thammasart University problems reflect failing ASEAN innovation (with China Post)

  • By Tammy, Thai Intel’s humanity journalist

Why is it, that universities in ASEAN have done poorly in the recent Time Magazine ranking of global universities?

“China has duck and India has curry, but Thailand has Duck Curry,” is an old saying, used to remind the Thais what had made Thailand a success, throughout history. That person in Thailand, who decided to mix the duck and the curry together, was thinking outside the box.

Pretty much the same thing, iPhones and iPad, are the result of outside the box thinking.

Lets look at Thammasart University, one of the oldest in ASEAN, set up by UNESCO level person, Predi Panonyong, who helped moved Thailand towards a free open democracy-with the words, quote: “Every inch of Thammasart, has freedom.”

Today, a group of human rights lawyer, part of the university’s academic, who lectures in favor to amend Thailand’s draconian lese majeste laws-is being witch hunted by the Thai society at large-and the university have turned against the academic.

The fact is, many countries in ASEAN, from Singapore, Malaysia to Thailand, continues to focus its education system, on teaching “The Political Correct” way of Thinking-as part of the Asian Way.

“I am not interested in global ranking, because a high global ranking does not benefit Thailand,” says the Thai education minister, under Thailand’s previous government, Abhisit, who prids so much from an Oxford education.

Education, with much of ASEAN, is not so much there to instill students with freedom of thoughts, which is the foundation to “Critical” thinking, but has the aim, of producing students, who serves the “Status Quo.”

The challenge for ASEAN university is, the best global schools, are fast teaching their students how to “Innovate.” And to get students to innovate, students must be taught to respect the vaslue in “Disrupting Old Model of Thinking.” With “Disruptive” thinking, the argument is, new products and services will have a better chance of developing.

That type of thoughts, such as innovation, creativity, out-side the box thinking-is something, many ASEAN society will not accept. Much of ASEAN, sees more benefit in “order” or if more advance, like Singapore, it is in perfecting an established system.

While many educators, will say that ASEAN, is just a forefront region of an emerging third world, and thus why must ASEAN have a vibrant leading education system? Or is it way too much to expect that?

But the fact is, ASEAN is not just some back-ward region, with even the CIA saying that the next decade will belong fo ASEAN, China and India. However, if one was to not look at the globe, but just at the CIA projection, universities in ASEAN, continues to be nothing in comparison with those in India and China.

China’s higher education system is doing well based on a research and development effort, but that is backed by vast financial resources-and much of it is backward engineer. However, can ASEAN follow the China Model-meaning a highly restrictive humanities program, and make up the deficit with technology focus?

When was the last time, that Singapore, for all of its top global ranking on efficiency, producted anything innovative and creative?

Is the other education model, of open western democracies more appropriate for ASEAN-where in advance open democratic education system-the focus is for a “Total Program” in both humanities and science-with the focus to create innovation-accross the board?

While the debate may rage in ASEAN, globally, is there any doubt, that universities in leading democracies-have taken most of the global top ranking? Or is the response, just simply, that ranking, is based on Western values?

From Duck Curry, to iPhones and iPads-where does Asean stand?

The following is from the China Post:

Thai gov’t pushes innovation as ASEAN community looms


The Commerce Ministry of Thailand has warned businesses to become more innovative in order to add value to their business ahead of the full formation of the ASEAN Economic Community.

“Business innovation and the creative economy will be a key strategy and policy of the government in stimulating the economic growth of the country,” Thailand’s Deputy Commerce Minister Siriwat Kachornprasart said recently.

“Thailand is stepping forward to become an active member of the ASEAN Economic Community, which will be fully effective in 2015, and all businesses need to adjust to the competition and be well prepared for the new economic order at the domestic, regional and worldwide levels,” he said.

“They have to adjust quite well to the rapid development of new technology and IT,” he told the Business Development Department’s “DBD Business Innovation Showcase,” aimed at inspiring entrepreneurs to use innovations to improve business performance.

Through value creation, businesses would enjoy sustainable growth and lead the market in the long run, he said.

“We will face tougher competition in three years and businesses need to prepare for the change. Innovation will be the key weapon used by local businesses to battle with and gain an advantage over foreign players,” he said.

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