University Autonomy in Thailand between 1932 and 1972
Keywords:university autonomy, Thai higher education, state policy
This article aims to study the methods that the state used to control or to direct universities in Thailand from 1932 to 1972, and to study the movements of university staff towards such practices in order to analyze the changes and the achievement of the concept of University Autonomy. The research findings indicate that the state has always regarded universities as places that create graduates to meet the state’s demand. It has employed the government system to control and command, and has used regulation and financial mechanisms to manage universities the way it wants.The concept of University Autonomy is widely accepted in higher education in Europe and the United States. Such concept was brought to develop Thailand’s higher education system before the Siam Revolution in 1932. Therefore, the concept of University Autonomy is not new in the Thai academic society; however, it has been exploited by the state to control universities, according to objectives that have changed over time. Furthermore, the state also regulates universities through regulations and other mechanisms such as the curriculum development system, quality control system, budgetary management, and research direction, among others. "State Autonomous University" thus reflects the continuation of the state’s control over university autonomy, which signifies the establishment of curriculum management and personnel management under the government’s interference, since Thailand's higher education system first emerged.
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