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Now is the time for teachers to take control of their development and use research as the basis of educational change. One educational establishment in the north east of Thailand has set out a research based agenda to further the cause of teacher development and improve the quality of education.

 

 

Many teachers go about their daily chores in the belief that they are making the world a better place only to be confronted by yet another disappointing story of corruption within our education system.


Bad news sells newspapers, so will always make the headlines, therefore it was no surprise to see that the Office of the Auditor-General has found irregularities with the 176 million baht procurement of equipment for e-classrooms and text books by Udon Thani Provincial Administration Organisation.


There always seems to be some kind of bad news reported in the press concerning educational matters. Too often we are confronted by negative and demoralising articles appearing in our daily newspapers.


As a native of Udon Thani, I would like to take this opportunity to report something more positive from our province, which might give all of us some hope for the future, at least on the educational front.


Recently, I was asked to attend a meeting concerning a conference about research that was coming up soon. I like to get involved in as many things as possible and have been actively conducting research for a couple of years now, so I went along and found about twenty academics from Udon Thani Rajabhat University in attendance.


The soon to be new President of the university, Dr. Nattitep Pitaksanurat opened the meeting with an overview of what was to transpire, followed by a more detailed explanation by Dr. Chatree Nakagul, the Director of the Institute for Research and Development.


The reason for all this activity is that there is to be a conference from 1-5 April in Bangkok. This conference is the 1st National Conference of Rajabhat Universities on Local Development Research of Thailand. Finally, the Rajabhats are going to have the opportunity to get together and share their knowledge and opinions and we have been asked to contribute.


In my opinion, this has been a long time coming. There doesn’t seem to be much coordination between the Rajabhats that are spread out all over Thailand. Rajabhats were instigated by HM the King of Thailand and serve the local people.


As universities, Rajabhats offer the chance of local tertiary education to those who otherwise would not be able to afford it. Unfortunately there are individuals in the more well known universities that tend to look down on Rajabhats as not being real universities. This conference is the opportunity to show the doubters what Rajabhat universities are all about.


I have already been involved in collaborative projects before, however, I know that there are many people who would like to be part of something innovative, but do not know how to get started. This conference is the ideal opportunity to network and listen to what Thai teachers have to say concerning local development in their chosen subjects.   

 


Chatree Nakagul, Director of the Institute of Research and Development, Udon Thani Rajabhat University understands the need for collaboration and cooperation in achieving research goals and ambitions.
(Unedited article published in the Bangkok Post 3rd February 2009)

 
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