Fostering Self-Direction in Foresight and Skills Anticipation of Undergraduate Students Through University-Industry Engagement: Future Signs for Thailand Project

Fostering Self-Direction in Foresight and Skills Anticipation of Undergraduate Students Through University-Industry Engagement: Future Signs for Thailand Project

Suwithida Charungkaittikul, Sornnate Areesophonpichet, Watcharapol Malaiwong
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/IJAET.2021070104
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University-industry engagement is an essential factor for students' learning outcomes in higher education. This study aims to describe the unique educational process using foresight and skills anticipation through the university-industry engagement of future signs for the Thailand project as a good practice to foster self-direction of undergraduate students and proposes strategies to enhance collaboration among different key stakeholders. The “Kizashi Project” was organized during December 2, 2019-March 27, 2020, through the collaboration between Hitachi Asia (Thailand) Company Limited and Chulalongkorn University to create the research and development localization activities for identifying future social trends and anticipating new business opportunities in Thailand. The project applied “Kizashi,” the design thinking field, to describe Thailand's future to illustrate an ideal society with a human-centered perspective. This included Target year, 2030, which might be a milestone year before completing Thailand 4.0.
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The world is experiencing significant changes in work and witnessing substantial shifts to the world of globalization, a knowledge-based economy, and technological evolution. This is where knowledge is considered as a country's most valued asset and primary source of power. (Knight, 1995). In this period of change and transition, each country's competitive advantages depend on the availability and maintenance of a labor force with the necessary knowledge, practical skills, and ability to innovate. Therefore, many countries have respected the new developmental concept to promote individuals and society's continual learning (Charungkaittikul et al, 2019). In a context of dynamic and complex labor markets, gathering intelligence on current and future skill needs can support better matching of training and jobs, which is of paramount importance for every university globally (Charungkaittikul et al, 2019). In Thailand, the strategic plan of student development in higher education (B.E. 2560 – 2564) (B.E. (Buddhist Era), a set of lunisolar calendars primarily used in mainland Southeast Asian countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand as well as in Sri Lanka and Chinese populations of Malaysia and Singapore for religious or official occasions. The current Buddhist Era year can be determined by adding 543 to the Western calendar year, so 2021 corresponds to B.E. 2564.) launched by the Office of the Higher Education Commission, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation, was implemented under the mission of developing students to accomplish the holistic domains of learning through the integration of soft and hard skills and co-curriculum and extra-curriculum activities. In accordance with the plan, student development under this challenging context can be significantly completed through the supportive ecosystem for transformative learning. This is where the student development process is operated to build student-stakeholder engagement through social learning system and private sector and entrepreneur participation. Stakeholder engagement is a crucial policy to construct transformative learning in higher education. Therefore, university members, including faculties, students, and supportive staff, can engage with entrepreneurs and the private sector for cooperating on co-curricular and extra-curricular activities to support holistic student development and build transformative leadership, social responsibility, and virtue in students (Bureau of Student Development, 2019).

Student learning, persistence, and attainment in higher education institutions are strongly associated with student engagement. The more actively engaged students are—with university faculty and staff, with other students, with the subject matter they are studying—the more likely they are to persist in their university studies and achieve higher levels. As a result, Chulalongkorn University has emphasized the issues for both undergraduate and graduate experience. Chulalongkorn University's mission includes creating graduates who possess academic knowledge, advanced skills, a sense of public responsibility, leadership skills, and applying knowledge learned towards the sustainable development of the country and society. (Chulalongkorn University, n.d.)

Even though Thai higher education institutions have been developing, their quality remains at unsatisfactory levels. A number of weak points have been investigated. Educational institutions do not frequently enough modify the curriculum to reflect changes in the market. In addition, the government's investment in research and development is low. Some research focuses on the presentation of concepts for the development of the universities, e.g., acting as institutions to promote national security and health or to move toward the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community (AEC). Also, international universities (Ubolwatra, 2007; Puriparinya, 2007; Rattanapanudet, 2010; Wannapairo,2012; Nontasawatsri,2011) lack student engagement activities, a collaboration between private sectors and university, as well as information sharing. Generally, only a vague concept of self-direction in learning has been used, and no concrete principles or practices have been proposed.

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