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Higher education and sustainability in Thailand: a review of National Research University roles in sustainable agriculture education

International Social Science Journal (Chinese Edition)

No.1, 2018

 

Higher education and sustainability in Thailand: a review of National Research University roles in sustainable agriculture education (Abstract)

 

Supawan Visetnoi and Wayne Nelles

 

The agricultural sector has played a significant role in Thailand’s national economy and is a major source of income for many Thais. Yet globally, and for much of South East Asia, agriculture is one of the greatest contributors to environmental problems. At the same time there have been many debates about Thai-land’s unsustainable agricultural system and the role of education in addressing such concerns. To illustrate broader issues and challenges, this paper analyses related themes at an institutional level, while examining specific policies and concerns about sustainability among Thailand’s nine government-designated National Research Universities (NRUs). This paper reviews courses and programmes in sustainable agriculture (SA) offered by each NRU, research funding and budget allocations intended to contribute to sustainability and environmental awareness. Also, this study employs SWOT analysis to demonstrate strengths and weaknesses of sustainability and education in Thai NRUs. The results of this study suggest that national education plans and policies on SA learning and research to support NRUs seem unclear and there is still a lack of comprehensive SA courses and programmes with solid support from most Thai universities and the government. This paper is a first step to systematically document and explain the state of higher education about and for sustainable agriculture reflected in policies and practices of Thai universities and their implications for national development.