The Equitable Education Fund (EEF) joined hands with the World Bank, Thammasat University, and the National Statistical Office Thailand in organizing the Policy Forum: Developing Work-readiness for the Future of the Thai Labor Market under the theme “Foundational Skills” — The Key to Solving Economic and Learning Inequalities on January 18th, 2023, at the Educational Equity Fund (Thailand). The Forum boasted excellent participation of approximately 200+ persons from the public, private, academic, and media sectors, over via Zoom and tuning in on the live broadcast on EEF Facebook Live.
The Forum kicked off with the opening remarks by Dr.Kraiyos Patrawart, Managing Director of Equitable Education Fund (EEF) Thailand, which outlined its objectives; The Forum’s main goals are to, first and foremost, highlight the significance of skills and learning in closing socio-economic disparities, gain a better understanding of newly conceived strategies and challenges standing in the way of youth and adult development, and subsequently propose academic collaborations and policy recommendations in the skills and learning development of youth and adults — human capital necessary for competition in the 21st century.
Thailand has a NEET Group (Youth not in education, employment, or training) where EEF and education sectors are searching to find them and bring them back to the education system. The issue can be marked to the value high at 330,000 million Thai Baht yearly which is about 3% of the gross national product (GDP) of the country. In addition, The model for supporting learning and developing professional skills or known as Upskill & Reskill still has a performance gap. Thailand still needs systemic problems and efficient management such as resource allocation, forms of learning support, and professional skill development that are inconsistent with the community economy and the real labor market.
Dr.Kraiyos Patrawart, Managing Director of Equitable Education Fund (EEF) Thailand
“EEF would like the related sectors to use this significant data to drive and develop the policy, especially in socio-emotional skill development. The survey will help bring support evidence base to keep driving this agenda through the future,” stated Dr.Kraiyos Patrawart.
Then ensued a series of key activities of the Forum, starting off with a presentation on “The Importance of Skills and Learning in Enhancing Education and Income,” by Mr.Koji Miyamoto, Senior Economist for Global Practice, World Bank followed by a talk on “Policy Directions and Guidelines for Skills and Learning Development for Youth and Adults to Step Out of Poverty” by a whole host of policymakers and academics on education and workforce. These efforts are being made to find ways to upgrade skills and learn policy formulation to be in line with the changes in the labor market in the digitally driven world for the country’s increased competitiveness on the global stage.
Mr.Koji Miyamoto, Senior Economist for Global Practice, World Bank
Mr.Koji Miyamoto stated, “we need youths and adults with the foundational skills that allow them to be resilient, adaptable, innovative, and productive. It includes but is not limited to Literacy, Digital skills, and Socio-emotional skills.” According to his presentation, Coping with change: International differences in the returns to skills, Hanushek, Schwerdt, Wiederhold, and Woessmann (2016), NBER Working Papers, the returns to literacy on earnings, full-time employees aged 35-54 in 32 countries, the percentage wage increase associated with one standard increase in literacy.
Assistant Professor Dr. Supachai Srisuchart, Dean, Faculty of Economics, Thammasat University
“Literacy and numeracy are prerequisites for almost all higher order competencies; these foundational skills are necessary for children to engage in future learning as well as to participate in society fully and the workplace as adults. In addition, the meaningful investment especially in foundational skill early on with solid structure is extremely significant.” Dr. Supachai Srisuchart mentioned.
Somchai Jitsuchon, Ph.D.,
Advisor to the Sub-Committee for Youth Development and the Informal working-age population at EEF & Research Director, Inclusive Development at Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI)
Dr. Somchai Jitsuchon said, “ 3 additional domains of foundational skills that he would like to add from Mr.Koji are adaptability for survive in fast pace society, ability to learn especially when knowledge and the world change quickly, and intuition which everyone is able to distinguish from right and wrong. It is a significant dimension that we need to keep process, especially with the area based how to know and understand of skill of future.”
Flying Officer Mr. Somporn Pandam, Deputy Secretary-General,.
Office of the Vocational Education Commission
Mr. Somporn Pandam voiced the view, “At present, vocational education can answer the need of barrier on the job market with socio-emotional skills. Training students of vocational education to apply the foundational skill in society such as literacy – is significant to inform youths to able to analyze and understand all perspectives not just from narrow angles through online knowledge. Transformation changes are in need from the view of the vocational students”
Director of Trainer Development and Training Technology Division Department of Skill Development
“Re-allocation of sources is still a big important need in Thailand. The driving in both public and private sectors especially needs a corporation to create and be the most support to all youths and adults in Thailand,” said Mr. Sanchai Chobphimai
Ms.Thantida Wongprasong, Director,
Office of Partnership, Innovation and Scholarships, Equitable Education Fund (EEF) Thailand
The Forum was concluded with the closing remarks by Ms.Thantida Wongprasong, Director, Office of Partnership, Innovation and Scholarships, Equitable Education Fund (EEF) Thailand who wrapped up the event on a high note by noting that such a highly curated selection of activities aimed to develop Thailand’s workforce into a higher skilled one, which will eventually lead to Thailand getting out of the middle-income country trap and becoming a country with higher incomes, better life quality and well-being, and reduced disparities in various dimensions.
“The foundation skill needs to develop along with technical and career skills. Moreover, the research project with the evidence base result can help support advocates at the policy level which Adult Skills Assessment in Thailand project that EEF has partnered with World Bank, Thammasat University, and the National Statistical Office Thailand will have a final report launched in mind-year of 2023,” Ms.Thantida Wongprasong stated.
Another two webinars in the Policy Forum: Developing Work-readiness for the Future of the Thai Labor Market series are in the plan in March and May before the final launch report that will take place in July. EEF hopes this research project will help support the evidence to improve the Thai Education system for both youth and adults in Thailand.
Mr. Santipong Changphueak, News Editor, Thai Public Broadcasting Service (TPBS)
Please see the record of forum Here
The mission of the Equitable Education Fund (EEF) Thailand, an organization under the supervision of the Thai Prime Minister, as set forth in the Equitable Education Fund Act, is to lessen educational inequality by encouraging, supporting, and assisting underprivileged youth and adults in developing their skills and potentials as well as by enhancing teaching efficiency of teachers. The Fund aligns its goals with the youth and adults’ needs using data from research and collaboration and bases its policy formation on research analysis and prototype development findings. The policies are then put into practice at the national level.