Creating a Southbound Policy Fount of Learning Founded on Taiwan-Thailand Higher Education Cooperation

Creating a Southbound Policy Fount of Learning Founded on Taiwan-Thailand Higher Education Cooperation

The Taiwan-Thailand Higher Education Forum is an important annual event jointly held by the two countries. Through the forum, both parties are able to add depth to their partnering relationship, help cultivate talent and exchange knowledge and technology. Coordinating with the Taiwan government’s New Southbound Policy, in the future, both parties will be encouraged to bolster academic exchange activity between universities and promote more industry-academia cooperative projects. 

The strategy is aimed at attracting more of Thailand’s elite students to come to Taiwan for studies while creating opportunities for students from Taiwan visit Thailand for research and education. This year’s forum was held on June 4th at the Kaohsiung 85 Sky Tower Hotel. The forum was hosted by NPUST with assistance from the Thailand Taiwan Education Center.

Among forum participants representing Taiwan included the Ministry of Education’s Political Deputy Minister Leehter Yao along with other members of the Ministry of Education and 57 university presidents, vice-presidents and international affairs officers – totaling around 120 people present. Representatives of Thailand included the former Minister of Education, Dr. Wichit Srisa-an, and 45 university presidents and international affairs officers, for a total of nearly 130 Thai guests. The number of high-ranking personnel present at the affair demonstrated how important the forum is to both parties. Observing the spectacular occasion, the warm and frequent educational exchanges relationship shared by both countries was quite evident.

The theme of the 2017 forum was “Taiwan-Thailand Cooperation for Improved International Mobility, Innovative Leadership and Links with Industry”. Deputy Minister Leehter Yao opened the forum with a speech, during which he stated that: “talent cultivation and academic exchange are the most effective means of promoting international cooperation; especially with Thailand currently actively promoting the “Thailand 4.0 Policy”which is aimed at cultivating talent in 10 fields of expertise. Here, Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy must offer optimal support, not only in promoting bilateral interaction, but also in academic resources sharing, language learning and other professional development strategies. 

All of these are important items of cooperation and for this purpose we are strengthening and adding depth to the solid friendship shared by both counties. In academic and industrial sectors, more frequent talent exchange can create better results. And so we hope for greater opportunity for exchange with Southbound Policy counties and nations throughout Oceania, so that Taiwan’s outstanding higher education can shine further in the international community.” The former Minister of Education, Dr. Wichit Srisa-an expressed that “through advancement in knowledge, talent cultivation, accumulation of experience and the promotion of close links between academics and industry, we hope that Taiwan and Thailand bilateral interaction can create many more opportunities for cooperation, train professional talent and help the next generation to become more competitive.” 

Immediately after the two speeches, Keynote speaker and Chairman of Charoen Pokphand Enterprise Co. Ltd., Mr. Willis Cheng, addressed the topic of “looking at universities’ encouragement of innovation, entrepreneurship and R&D from an industry perspective”. The second keynote address was offered by Dr. Sakarindr Bhumiratana, the rector of Thailand’s King Mongkut’s University of Technology. He spoke on the way in which “higher education can take on the challenge of industrial upgrading under Thailand 4.0”. Guests also took part in discussions, exploring the challenges of Thailand 4.0, the Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy, and the policies and achievements related to cooperation in higher education.

In the afternoon, arrangements were made for an official meeting and group discussions to address “how universities can cooperate with industry to encourage R&D and innovation”. Groups were separated by field for three separate discussions (Group 1: Smart Agriculture, Biomedical Technology, and Medical Care; Group 2: Smart Engineering and Technology; Group 3: Business, Tourism and Hospitality Management). Afterwards, representatives of Taiwan and Thailand conducted a summary report, addressing how universities can cooperate with industry to encourage R&D and innovation, conducting exchanges of opinions and further brainstorming.

After group discussions, they immediately held the main event of the day –the Taiwan-Thailand University Student Internship and Exchange Alliance signing ceremony. Starting things off, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Director of Chemical Engineering presented the briefing, after which King Mongkut’s University of Technology, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, National Taipei University of Technology, and Cheng Shiu University took part in the signing ceremony. That evening a banquet was held for the guests, with rich and diverse performances bringing the forum to a fabulous conclusion.