Building a skilled workforce: Public discourses on vocational education in Thailand
Keywords:Thailand, skilled workforce, skilled labour shortages, VET, public policy, vocational education and training
Context: Thailand is now facing skilled labour shortages, which has prevented the country from achieving significant economic progress. This paper examines Thailand’s vocational education policy discourses from 1992 to 2014 and how such policies were discussed to build the country’s skilled labour force.
Approach:This study utilised a qualitative approach, using documentation analysis as a key research method. We also used data triangulation and thematic analysis to categorise the public discourses. In order to examine the vocational education policy discourses in Thailand, secondary data such as the five NESD plans (7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th) and other government policy statements were investigated and triangulated, along with data from newspaper articles, other public documents, reports from international organisations, and academic journal articles.
Findings: Based on the findings of the study, we identified three key policy discourses regarding vocational education in Thailand during 1992-2014: (1) increasing the vocational skilled workforce, (2) the minor role of private vocational providers, and (3) collaboration between vocational providers and industry.
Conclusion: We argue that there are five key policy themes in building a vocational skilled workforce: (1) the dedication of the government in increasing the quantity of vocational skilled workforce, (2) encouraging collaboration between vocational colleges and industries, (3) fostering a greater role for private vocational providers, (4) promoting a positive reputation for vocational education, and (5) maintaining the continuity of policy implementation.