Thailand eyes lifelong learning push

Chief capability officer Arinya Talerngsri and her South East Asia Centre believe the Thai education system is incapable of producing graduates for the jobs of tomorrow. (Photo from South East Asia Centre)

Thailand needs to make lifelong learning a national imperative to build a competitive workforce for the so-called disruptive era, as the formal education system can no longer "future-proof" degrees for the jobs of tomorrow, according to the South East Asia Centre (SEAC).

Arinya Talerngsri, chief capability officer and managing director of SEAC, said that with Thailand depending on its human capital to propel the nation into the next phase of economic development, it is time for the country to change attitudes that once associated life success only with high academic degrees.

It should encourage people to adopt a new mentality about education under the concept of lifelong learning, where learning continues at all stages of life.

"The problem is that, while the world itself is changing and the business landscape is evolving, our learning and educational systems are outdated and have failed to adapt effectively," Ms Arinya said. "The education system we have today is producing a workforce of people who are skilled for an era that is ending or already over."

She said that to be a productive lifelong worker in today's economy, people have to be lifelong learners who can keep pace with the evolving technological landscape, which means brushing up on existing skills, adding new ones and even retraining over the course of their entire careers.

"Every job today and in the future will require constant learning and development," she said. "Therefore, lifelong learning is fundamental to long-term success."

To promote public awareness of the issue, SEAC recently invested over 600 million baht to establish the first lifelong learning centre in Asean to help people change their mindsets and build a "lifelong learning ecosystem" and culture in Thailand and Asean.

The centre is also developing a new learning approach called "4Line Learning" which allows individuals to learn from four different platforms.

The learning approach is comprised of four major components. The first is "online learning", which focuses on learning through video clips and visuals. The second is "in-line learning" where learners are encouraged to participate in classes and courses, arranged for mostly a short duration of no longer than half a day.

The third is "beeline learning", which underlines experience and data exchanges with experts, speakers, prominent business operators and thought leaders, and engages students in special activities that best suit each learning topic. The fourth is "frontline learning" where learners are given full access to downloadable materials and data.

According to SEAC, there will be over 100 "online learning" courses, 40 "in-line learning" programmes, 40 "beeline learning" activities and "frontline learning" data archives that allow unlimited downloads.

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