HK-based edtech start-up raises funds for expansion into SE Asia

Snapask, a Hong Kong-based education-technology start-up, has raised US$5 million (Bt170 million) in pre-series A venture funding to expand its mobile education business into Southeast Asia, Australia and the United Kingdom.

By applying artificial-intelligence techniques to its on-demand education services, Snapask has doubled its user base since the fourth quarter of 2016, reaching 300,000 users across Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.

Snapask aims to become the first global edtech company by 2020.

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Thailand up in competitiveness ranking

Thailand saw a slight improvement in its competitiveness ranking, moving up from 28 last year to 27 this year, according to the IMD World Competitiveness Ranking 2017 released late Tuesday.

The top five economies of the 63 rated this year are: Hong Kong, Switzerland, Singapore, the United States and Netherlands.

Thailand’s ranking improved in the areas of economic performance and government efficiency, but its digital competitiveness ranking, however, dropped to 41 this year from 39 last year. Thailand was rated poorly in many areas: e-governance, software piracy, IT education and training, and digital and technological skills.

Thailand’s digital competitiveness ranking is a reflection that the government’s 4.0 policy has yet to bear fruit.

The IMD World Competitiveness Centre this year published for the first time separate digital competitiveness rankings.

Source: The Nation, as of June 1st, 2017

Popular schools set for surge of student applications

Popular schools across Thailand will offer 194,103 seats to new students in the upcoming academic year.

There are now 281 such schools in the country. Every year, the number of applicants to these schools far exceeds the available seats. Sometimes, the ratio is around 10:1.

“The competition is always fierce,” Surasak Insrikrai, a senior official at the Office of Basic Education Commission, said yesterday.

Of these popular schools, 57 are located in Bangkok’s Educational Areas 1 and 2. These capitalbased schools will recruit 57,087 Mathayom 1 and Mathayom 4 students


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Project to enhance English teaching at universities

English Language Institute/China (ELIC) has provided a grant of more than 33 billion kip (Bt142 million) to support human-resource development in Laos, focusing on development of English skills in universities and colleges.

The project includes the National University of Laos and Arts Education College in Vientiane, Champassak University and Pakxe Teacher Training College in Champassak province, Savannakhet University and Savannakhet Teacher Training College in Savannakhet province, Souphanouvong University and Luang Prabang Teacher Training College in Luang Prabang province, and Khangkhay Teacher Training Collage in Xieng Khuang province.

The Ministry of Education and Sports and ELIC signed an agreement to launch the University and Teacher Training College English Language Teaching Programme in target universities.

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Human capacity building key to country’s manpower problems, forum told

HUMAN CAPACITY building was the focus when participants from various sectors came together at an international forum to find ways for Thailand to step out of the middle-income trap.

Natapon Nimmanphatcharin, deputy director of Thailand’s National Food Institute (NFI), pointed out that at least five key industries in the country had manpower problems.

He was speaking at the international forum “Moving Across the Middle Income Trap Border through Human Capacity Building” at Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna in Chiang Mai.

Ramhari Lamichhane, director-general of the Philippines’ Colombo Plan Staff College, said issues with social and entrepreneurial skills were among the challenges in delivering skilled workforce development in Asean.

The Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna organised the event to celebrate its 12th years as a university. Though founded about four decades ago, it was initially a college.

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Savannakhet university to become first model in Laos

SAVANNAKHET University is set to become the first model university for business administration and economic studies in Laos. It is now developing the plan and intends to reach the goal by 2020.

Assoc Prof. Bounpong Keorodom, president of the university, told a media team last week that the university will also be a model in terms of buildings, libraries, curricula and infrastructure.

The campus will cover 300 hectares. The new design has been funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The government approved a budget of 250 billion kip (Bt1 billion) through the National Assembly two years ago for the model university.

Infrastructure work has almost been completed on over 300 hectares in Nongpheu village of Kaysone district, he said.


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ด่วน! เชิญชวนผู้ที่สนใจเข้าร่วมฟังเสวนา ” 60 Minutes Future Talk อนาคตอาชีวศึกษาไทยในยุคประชาคมอาเซียน กับ 5 มาตรการเร่งด่วนที่อาชีวศึกษาต้องทำปีนี้”


เชิญชวนคุณครูอาจารย์และท่านที่สนใจเข้าร่วมฟังเสวนา ” 60 Minutes Future Talk อนาคตอาชีวศึกษาไทยในยุคประชาคมอาเซียน กับ 5 มาตรการเร่งด่วนที่อาชีวศึกษาต้องทำปีนี้” พบกับมาตรการแรก ” สื่อดิจิตอลและไอทีกับการพัฒนาการเรียนการสอนอาชีวศึกษาในยุคไทยแลนด์ 4.0″ โดยวิทยากรรับเชิญ ดร.กมล เกียรติเรืองกมลา ผู้เชี่ยวชาญด้าน IT จากสถาบันเทคโนโลยีเจ้าคุณทหารลาดกระบัง และอาจารย์ผู้ทรงคุณวุฒิจากสถาบันอุดมศึกษาต่างๆ ในวันที่ 22 กพ เริ่มลงทะเบียน เวลา 13:30-16:00 น.

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Talented young Thais give elderly and disabled a boost with innovations

THE TALENT of Thai youths to create innovations for the elderly and disabled took centre stage at a unique event in Bangkok to promote Thailand’s culture of invention, one of the primary foundations of the government’s Thailand 4.0 strategy.

During the Bangkok Mini Maker Faire Year 2 in front of The Street Ratchada, the winners of the Enjoy Science: Young Makers Contest, which was part of the Chevron Enjoy Science project, were announced.

The King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang’s BME Innovation KMITL Team 2, which delivered a fall surveillance system using 3D non-contact sensor, was the winner in the general education category.

Songkhla Polytechnic College’s Team A, which produced a cane equipped with a fall surveillance sensor, took the honours in the vocational education category.

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Minister to focus on role of teachers

Newly appointed Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin is spearheading a reform of education with a focus on ensuring that the country’s 400,000 teachers put in quality time for their teaching responsibilities.

Teerakiat said in an interview that the Office of Teacher Civil Service and Educational Personnel Commission (OTEPC) had recently passed a resolution to ensure teachers were not bogged down in excessive academic work.

“Over the past many years, many of our teachers have preferred to do academic work, especially research and thesis work, to gain credentials so as to upgrade their professional status and earn more income – at the expense of their teaching hours and teaching quality.”

Teerakiat quoted King Rama IX’s royal message on education in 2012: “Thai teachers tend to focus on writing thesis papers and textbooks for their supervisors in order to get a higher position and salary and sometimes they relocate to new places afterwards.

“On the other hand, teachers who focus on teaching their students tend to get nothing much in return. The system is unfair. We need to change it.

“Teaching must be the priority |in the consideration of teachers’ merits and teachers who put in |high quality and number of hours for the task must be properly rewarded.”


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Bt400bn bioeconomy development planned over 10 years

The government and private sector will invest about 400 billion baht in developing a bioeconomy over 10 years, building refinery complexes and their cities in Rayong and Khon Kaen provinces that will turn cassava and sugarcane into high-value products.

Announcing the plan at a Bangkok hotel on Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said the government, the private sector and educational institutions…
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