วันอังคารที่ 2 ตุลาคม พ.ศ. 2555
Message From Kru Ekachai - October
Pros and Cons of Shifting Thai Academic Calendars
Changing the country’s semester periods for higher education to conform with universities in other ASEAN countries inevitably leads to vigorous debate. It’s now a hot topic for discussion among school practitioners, students and parents. Rectors of universities have attended several meetings to argue the pros and cons of modifying the academic calendars before the ASEAN Community materializes in 2015. There are valid reasons to support either side of this argument.
"Some ASEAN countries, namely Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia and Singapore already follow the international bi-semester system, with the first semester running from September to December and the second from January to May. Thailand is one of a few countries where academic calendars do not match the US system, which is becoming common in other parts of the world.", according to Suluck Lamubol. Traditionally, the first semester at Thai public universities runs from June to September, and the second semester from November to May.
After a recent meeting of universities rectors at Burapha University in Chon Buri province, they mutually agreed that the first semester of Thai academic year 2013-14 will be shifted from June to between August 15 or September 15 in preparation for the formation of the ASEAN Community in 2015. Moreover, Mathayom 6 ( Grade 12) students would have more time to prepare themselves for entering universities. Currently, they are required to take university admission tests before they finish education.
However, the representatives from Rajabhat Universities, formerly known as the teacher training school, insisted they would not change their semester periods next year. They fear it will have a negative impact on students and their parents.
According to the President of the Council of Rajabhat Universities of Thailand, the semester of Rajabhat universities should be in line with the Obec’s semester schedule because most Rajabhat students come from school overseen by the government agency. More importantly, all students at Rajabhat universities’ faculties of education are required to undergo teacher training in schools, so the timeframe of the teacher training and the universities’ semesters needed to correspond.
In conclusion, both sides have presented valid reasons to support this argument. The change may draw more ASEAN students to enroll in our country’s universities. This will also help us keep pace with our neighbouring countries as well as the rest of the world. Nevertheless, other factors like geography, seasons, ways of life and culture should not be neglected because the issue is very sensitive and has a lot of impact on Thai society.