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The Engineering Institute of Thailand:

An interview with Associate Professor Dr. Tortrakul Yomnak,

president of the Engineering Institute of Thailand (EIT) under H.M. the King's Patronage.

From BOI Investment Review (More details about the Institute can be found at www.eit.or.th)

 

What is the current status of Thailand's engineering education?

There are currently over 61 public and private engineering institutes accredited by the Council of Engineers covering civil, electrical, mechanical, chemical, mining, environmental and industrial engineering. Industrial engineering deals with industry operational management issues such as factory layout, investment decisions, labor and quality control. Most of the graduates are in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering. As of this June, there were 139,956 licensed engineers in Thailand.

How is engineering education meeting industry demand?

Thai public and private universities are now more responsive to industry demand for engineers.

Education is moving away from civil engineering, which deals mainly with building construction, to more specific and high-tech engineering such as nanotechnology, which is engineering at the atomic level. Courses are now available at Chulalongkorn University.

Another new, recently introduced branch of study is robotics. This branch of engineering tries to replace humans with robots for routine and hazardous jobs so that human resources can be used more efficiently elsewhere. Courses on robotics are now available at many universities including King Mongkut Engineering Institute of Technology (KMIT).

How does EIT help to provide the market with competent and skilled engineers?

The Engineering Institute of Thailand has around 40 committees of professors and engineering experts who organize training seminars and provide technical support to Thai engineers. We also provide tailored training on new laws and meeting new certification requirements.

EIT also analyzes and tries to solve engineering-related issues occurring in society such as proposing alternative solutions to develop public infrastructure. We tackle energy shortage problems by conducting studies on energy-saving construction and alternative fuel such as bio-diesel. As engineers, it is our job to know what is going on so that we can deal with these issues and provide explanations to the public. From this research, we produce and distribute engineering publications, including textbooks, codes of practices, manuals, and journals.

What are the strong points in Thailand's engineering resources?

Thailand’s mechanical engineering, which deals with design and development of industrial devices, has improved significantly over the last 30 years and is moving toward a world-class standard. As many Japanese and U.S. car manufacturers have selected Thailand as their base for car production in Asia, automotive engineering courses are becoming more available, such as those provided by Chulalongkorn University. This strongly supports the growth of our automotive industry which currently attracts huge foreign investments.

On top of this, we are also moving toward producing sophisticated engineering parts and components that require precision engineering technology. Our efforts in providing the industry with skilled engineers knowledgeable in nanotechnology show that we’re moving toward high-value production engineering. North Bangkok King Mongkut Institute of Technology (KMIT), with the assistance of the German government, also provides courses in mold and die technologies, which is one of the key supporting industries that Thailand needs to enhance.

Moreover, Thai workers are known to be fast-learning and adaptive. Thai students who study engineering abroad usually place at the top of their classes.

— By Alisa Kukarja

 
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