Reading the newspaper today I saw the announcement of something they are calling a “world education expo” slated for November this year. From the second paragraph is this gem:
The event is aimed at strengthening Thailand’s leading position as Asean’s hub of international education.
I think I have heard Thailand called a “hub” for just about everything at one time or another by whatever spin doctor gets a notion, but some notions are more outlandish than others. As anyone who lives in Thailand knows, the education system here is atrocious. When it comes to higher education, anyone who can afford it sends their kids overseas to attend college.
The timing is funny because yesterday evening I watched a news segment in which the results of an international study of education systems was discussed. Thailand was ranked 47 out of 57 countries, down four positions from last year. The Minister of Education and some other administrators were lamenting the terrible state of the Thai education system. A bit of the discussion focused on how poor the English language education is, noting that Thailand ranked 51 out of 57 in the poll.
Adding further to the humor of the announcement of Thailand as a hub of international education is another story in the same newspaper today titled “Thailand Need National Master Plan”, a full page article on the front of The Nation’s Byteline section. Most of the article focused on the need for more research and development plus building a science and technology workforce. What’s that all about? Higher education of course.
So today’s little announcement of Thailand as a hub of international education goes into the “Calling ’em out” category because calling yourself a hub doesn’t make you one and in fact makes you look very foolish when you are one of the poorest performing in a field.