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Autonomous universities

Autonomous universities

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Published by: api-3783336 on Oct 16, 2008
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Autonomous universities

With your authorization, I have studied the plan to make all government universities autonomous and prepared this report. The plan was first proposed by the Thaksin government. The main objective of the plan is to offer ability to each university to make its own decisions about funding, research,

employment, and curriculum. Findings and analysis in this report are based on interviews with various personnel from Chulanlongkorn University, Srinakarinwirot University, King Mongkut Univerisity, and lecturers concerned.

Findings and analysis

An impartial study shows some advantages of the proposed plan. If all universities become autonomous,
their management will be more independent and more efficient and will be more flexible enough to
compete with overseas institutes. Also, the universities will become more self\u2010reliant. They will earn
income by putting research findings to economic use.

However, there will be some serious disadvantages if all universities are made autonomous. This change
will make autonomous universities into money making businesses. All research will be conducted only
for profit and for the interests of business firms, as they will depend on the business sector for funds.
Another disadvantage is that faculties that do not bring in income will be eliminated to make way for
profitable courses that only serve the market. As a result, it will affect the root of universities, and
students will lose pride in their universities. Moreover, social conscience will die out. When universities
become autonomous, lecturers will be working on yearly contract. Then, academics will avoid criticizing
political and social issues because it might annoy the executives who evaluate them for their yearly
contract. More importantly, the tuition fees will increase because they will receive less money from the
government. As a result, poor students will lose educational opportunities due to higher credit fees.

I believe the following suggestions can reduce the drawbacks of the proposed plan.
1. The government must assure all parties concerned that all autonomous universities will be
under state supervision.
2. All researches done by autonomous universities should be supervised by the Ministry of
Education in order to make sure that research for public good is also conducted.
3.Ministry of Education must ask universities for full explanations before they decide to close
faculties that do not suit the market. If necessary, the government should provide subsidies to
keep those courses running.
4. The government must guarantee the freedom to express opinions by extending the teachers\u2019
contract to 15 to 20 years instead of yearly contract.

5. The government must make sure that fees increase requires the approval for Ministry of
Education. And it should occur only every five years. If the fees are too high, the government
must provide scholarship funds to poor students who are academically sound.

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