UNIVERSITIES SEEK FUNDING
>> The Association of Private Higher Education Institutions of Thailand (Apheit) has asked for more support from the government after two private universities were recently forced to shut down due to enrolment struggles, saying there might be more to come if no one reaches out to help.
Apheit president Pornchai Mongkhonvanit has warned that many Thai private universities are now in danger of shutting down as Thailand’s higher education market has been shrinking for many years, along with student numbers.
According to a source, the number of new students enrolling in private universities has dropped almost 50% in the past few years.
Mr Pornchai admitted that the declining birth rate is clearly behind this shortfall, adding the drop in demand is taking more of a toll on privately owned universities than on those that are state run because private universities are more reliant on enrolment numbers in order to secure their yearly budgets. “Out of 70 private universities in Thailand, only 10 are big enough to stand on their own feet. The rest are medium or small-sized schools that need more support to survive because the higher education market in Thailand will only get smaller each year from now on,” he said.
Mr Pornchai said private universities, especially smaller ones, need to adjust their strategies to survive in the long run. They also need to cooperate more and scrap some outdated majors which are not very popular.
“Private universities should focus on quality rather than quantity of students and some universities may need to be merged,” he said.
However, Mr Pornchai said they also need more support from the government in terms of budget to maintain the quality of their personnel and facilities.
“University operating costs are high, so it would be great if the government can help us by providing more scholarships and budget for research projects,” Mr Pornchai said.