Education, Science and Technology
As of 2008, the number of students in Thailand’s 164 higher education institutions has surpassed two million, including 20,000 foreign students studying various arts and sciences in the country. Additionally, during 2006-2009, the Thai government sent approximately 6,000 students annually to study abroad, with EU nations like the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy among the most popular destinations. Under the framework of TEC II, the EU is seeking to assist Thailand in educational development with activities that cover two sub-areas of focus:
a) Higher Education
The higher education system in Thailand is facing a number of issues, ranging from limited resources to the lack of common standards among ASEAN nations. Through EU-initiated programmes and standards, Thailand’s academic community can ensure smooth integration with fellow ASEAN members as well as EU nations, eventually leading to a higher degree of inter-regional cooperation between institutions, networks and quality assurance agencies as well as improvements to students’ mobility in both regions.
b) Science and Technology
Under the ongoing bi-regional EU-ASEAN Science and Technology dialogue and the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), the European Union has been providing Thailand assistance in fostering research cooperation and researcher mobility. Through TEC II, the EU can help Thailand’s scientific research agencies to enhance the level of coordination and competitiveness in various sectors and industries.