'Reinventing' Thai Universities: Ajarn, Thailand 4.0 & Cross - Cultural Communication Implications for International Academia.

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Michael James Day
Sara Du Preez
Dylan Scott Low
Merisa Skulsuthavong

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Thai higher education (Thai HE) is changing. Thailand 4.0, a socioeconomic and educational development policy of the Thai Government, wants universities to ‘reinvent’ themselves into the world’s top-100 and so draw closer to international ideas of quality assurance, research, impact and teaching. This has, for example, led to a radical proposed revolution in mid-2020 for Thailand’s academic ranking system, one that is both unexpected and unprepared for. Therefore, using a literature review, alongside policy analysis, we describe publicly available information on Thai academic systems and question the forthcoming proposed changes against the pre-existing systems for academic progression. Through this, we debate the academic expectations and traditions in Thai HE. These are unique, a reflection of a country that prides itself as never having been colonised, yet favouring the borrowing, rejecting and reinterpretation of other academic systems. We propose consideration of the cross-cultural communication implications for Thai HE is needed, as it seeks to move towards an international setting. Then, we conclude that critical restructuring of academic ranks would create a more progressive educational policy, in line with international ideas of academia. Meanwhile, it raises further implications for cross-cultural collaboration, as well as communication, which has the potential for a lucrative knowledge exchange between institutes of learning in western higher education and Thailand.

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