Education Trends in Thai Businesses Utilizing Information Technology

Education Trends in Thai Businesses Utilizing Information Technology

Heather Arthur-Gray (Griffith University, Australia) and John Campbell (University of Canberra, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-939-7.ch110
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Abstract

There is a “deep-rooted inequality situation in the Thai economy and society” (Krongkaewa & Kakwanib, 2003). This inequality permeates all aspects of Thai society, highlighting Thailand’s current economic vulnerability as they try to address policies that will support sustainable growth while reducing these inequalities. With growing concern about the digital divide, Thailand is an important and interesting region to study. These concerns have highlighted a widening technology gap causing a “new type of poverty called information poverty” (Marshall, Taylor, & Yu, 2003; UNDP, 1998). There has been very little prior research that has examined the take-up of information technology in this region. Although the digital divide has been the concern of all countries, there are now additional concerns about the information divide, which could increase further the gap between developed and developing countries. Education has been highlighted as an important area of policy focus. However, should developing countries such as Thailand be targeting their education resources towards specific fields that will support research and development into new technologies aimed at reducing the digital and information divide? “Women produce more than half the world’s food and spend most of their income on family welfare and food, but a lack of access to services, education and technologies keeps them uninvolved in the decision-making processes” (Sarker, 2003). Due to this lack of skills or literacy, women are unlikely to be able to directly use or even to understand the importance on information technology (Sarker, 2003). Thailand’s policy commitment to advancing science and technology should be in juxtaposition with higher “educational expenditures, technical training, and building institutions necessary to create a knowledge society” (Wilson III, 2000). This would support the notion that “pro-poor public access policies” would help overcome some of the educational and access barriers, as long as they were developed with “effective regulatory mechanisms” (Sarker, 2003). This research incorporates an analysis of educational trends within 31 non-agricultural Thai businesses in Chiang Mai, with a collective total number of employees of over 3,000, that were subjects of a pilot study conducted in the north of Thailand. This article considers the educational trends of employees in these businesses, which may support electronic enablement and digital divide reduction.

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