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Promising Future for Institutionalized IIEP-Based Education Sector Planning Course in Thailand

National education experts committed to advancing education policy planning in Thailand came away from a recent intensive “training of trainers” course energized, with skills and fresh insights to take forward in this critical area.

The positive response to the recent week-long training seminar based on UNESCO/IIEP (International Institute for Education Planning) content was testament to the effectiveness of adapting international training materials to the local context, as well as the strong commitment of all stakeholders to advancing education planning in Thailand.

The latter was reflected in the fact that the training took place at all. Once a development cooperation program is completed, continuity in investments and follow-up is often a challenge. This was an exception - a large group of stakeholders standing by their commitment to expand national training on education sector planning, including those from the Ministry of Education, international partners and beneficiaries from across the education system.

The seminar, from 13-17 March 2017, was held to train a core group of national education experts as trainers in education sector planning, using a country-specific course adapted from the UNESCO/IIEP international programme in education planning. Participants included 43 officials from the Bureau of Policy and Strategy at the central level, as well as regional and provincial education offices of the Thai Ministry of Education.

Opening the training, Dr Prasit Kheowsri, Director of the National Institute for Development of Teachers, Faculty Staff and Educational Personnel (NIDTEP), emphasized the importance of capacity building in the field of educational planning.

Assoc Prof Dr Somboon Siribunnhirun, Faculty of Social Science and Humanity, Mahidol University, led the team of national experts acting as facilitators for the course. He emphasized the care that went into the selection of participants for the course, who would now be responsible fostering the professional development of their staff and the next generation.

The materials prepared for the course are a contextualized Thai version of six training modules on education sector planning used by the IIEP. Dr Somboon encouraged course participants to provide feedback on these materials, which will be reflected in an updated version to be disseminated for on the job training purposes across Ministry of Education offices.

The facilitators from Mahidol spent three months going over the IIEP-based training materials, extracting key elements most relevant to the local context, including the country’s ongoing national education reform, the current socio-economic development plan, as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The training focused on four key areas: an overview of the six IIEP modules; education sector situation analysis and the identification of alternative policy options; how to prepare a monitoring and evaluation plan; and preparing a structure for the exchange of ideas regarding education sector planning. Sessions were lively and engaging as participants were encouraged to “think outside the box” in practice-oriented planning exercises. 


Senior expert Sakon Chumtup, former Director of the Bureau of Policy and Strategy, said the Ministry of Education’s budget might be insufficient to address education challenges at the local level and outlined the role that effective education sector planning could play in strengthening collaborations to help fill this gap.

Prapatpong Senarit, former Deputy Permanent Secretary, suggested a possible restructuring of the formal education system, reducing periods of study in classes and using innovations in teaching and learning processes to encourage creative thinking and flexibility among learners. Education planners need to adjust their mindsets to new challenges in learning environments in a rapidly changing world, he said, adding that he hopes the Ministry of Education would find ways to continue its collaboration with UNESCO/IIEP.

This course was held in the context of a collaboration between UNESCO/IIEP and the Ministry of Education under the project "Strengthening the Education System of Thailand for Effective Human Resource Development" sponsored by the J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation.  

The Thai National Commission for UNESCO, the Bureau of International Cooperation and the National Institute for Development of Teachers, Faculty Staff and Educational Personnel (NIDTEP) under the Office of Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, partnered to mobilize resources from the national budget as well as human resources needed for the course.

The course built upon an 11-month Distance Learning Programme delivered in English by the UNESCO IIEP for over 30 Ministry of Education officials. A follow-up project in 2014/15, was dedicated to the preparation of course materials in Thai, and other resources, based on the international IIEP programme. These efforts were supported technically and organizationally by many partners, including the Thai Ministry of Education, the Thai National Commission for UNESCO, NIDTEP, Chulalongkorn and Thammasat universities, UNESCO Bangkok and IIEP.  

For further information about the course, contact Dominique Altner at IIEP and Ratchakorn Kulsawet at UNESCO Bangkok

Written by Ratchakorn Kulsawet [r.kulsawet(at)]

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