|Posted on May 18, 2012 at 2:00 PM|
In the January 2012 interview by The Nation with Visanu Vongsinsirikul, director of ASEAN Community Preparation Centre (ACPC) at Dhurakij Pundit University, Mr. Vongsinsirikul shared his views regarding how Thailand will be possibly affected by the ASEAN Economic Community 2015. He also shared insights about how the Thais can best respond to the demands AEC 2015 will bring. As it is true to other ASEAN-member countries, Mr. Vongsinsirikul said that the 2015 event offers both opportunities and crises, depending on how the member-countries will prepare for it. In my blog entry now, allow me to share with you the highlights of said interview.
The situation now
Thailand has an advantage over other member-countries "in terms of geographical features, weather, races and cost of living," Mr. Vongsinsirikul said. He raised, however, the question of how the Thais can make use of said advantage.
From ACPC's end, a number of strategies have already been adopted in the hope that the country gets to enjoy the opportunities AEC 2015 offers. Among them are the following:
• Educating the Thais about ASEAN and making them see how to find opportunities
• Providing seminars and courses on the ASEAN community to concerned groups and inviting experts for knowledge-sharing
• Conducting research with the Thailand Development Research Institute and studying what can be learned from what and how Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia are doing to prepare for the same situation
• Surveying business owners on how they perceive they will be affected by said set-up, how they believe they can be helped by the government, and what kind of employees they require
• Using the survey results as a guide to help the academic community adapt their curricula in response to perceived needs
The English language and its role in AEC 2015
The need to enhance further the Thais' English language skills can never be denied. In fact, Mr. Vongsinsirikul identified it as the one of the key steps to making people be competitive. He further advised, "The ministry should find more people with English communication skills and let them teach at schools."
As an educator and advocate of positive change, I believe that the preparations the ASEAN-member countries are doing for AEC 2015 all boil down to this: Educating people is the key. If people, regardless of race and other differences, are educated enough and,therefore, are armed with the right knowledge, any kind of change need not be feared. Fear emanates from not knowing what is to come. However, if one knows what lies ahead, facing anything new should be as good as facing a bright tomorrow.