Thailand is to focus on encouraging educational investment from Ireland and partnerships with Irish Third Level Colleges as it bids to transform its economy and business opportunity.
The Thai Education Minister, Dr Teerakiat Jareonesttasin, said his Government would be happy to facilitate any proposal which would provide educational links and investment opportunities for Irish universities and third level colleges in Thailand. A ban on overseas universities opening campuses in Thailand has been removed.
Speaking at an event hosted by Asia Matters, Ireland’s only think tank on Asia and attended by representatives from Colleges and the higher education sector, Dr Joreonesttasin said that while it might be very ambitious initially for an organisation to invest in a campus in Thailand, opportunities were available to partner with existing Thai universities. Thailand also offered 17% tax rate for high earning individuals.
Speaking at the event in Trinity College, Dublin, the Education Minister said: “I would say there’s no better time to invest in education in Thailand and I am happy to help you, to facilitate any proposal. Now that I have an opportunity to work with you, I would like to welcome you to our country which has great potentials in concrete terms, matching you up with industries and universities.”
“I think nobody from abroad would like to invest straightaway on a campus. The best way is to partner with an existing university; for instance, Carnegie Mellon (Pittsburg, USA) partners with King Mongkut Institute of Engineering. Additionally, the National Taiwan University is also opening in Thailand. The liberalisation of the system now allows you to work very closely with us to form partnerships.”
“We need to partner with the people who are capable of doing; for example, the Siam Cement Group, one of the biggest conglomerates in Thailand, partners with Oxford University. So why not Ireland? You will be the only English-speaking country after Brexit and the partnership will be easier as we do not have to learn another new language.”
The Education Minister said that they were focusing on identifying business courses in the food industry, medical sciences, life sciences, artificial intelligence and robotics. He said Thailand was now the hub of medical services in the region and was a leading player in the hospitality sector in the ASEAN region (Association of South East Asian countries) which had a population of 600 million people.
“There is no better time to invest in education in Thailand. We are also working with some Indian counterparts and also Indian industries. It’s the centre of another 1.4 billion people and we are also close to China.”
The Minister added that Thailand had capped personal tax at 17% for high earners, which is on-par with that of the Singapore.