Thai government revives overseas students scholarships
The Education Ministry recently announced it plans to revive the “One District, One Scholarship” (Odos) scheme, a Thaksin-era project that provided students from disadvantaged homes who earned good grades with the opportunity to receive an international education.
“The ministry will approve the fifth round of the scholarship programme, based on criteria that only needy students will benefit,” Education Minister Gen Dapong Ratanasuwan said.
The revised regulations will focus on students from poor families — whose parents earn less than 250,000 baht per year. The students must also work for the state sector when they graduate. It is also likely to specify that students pursue vocational rather than academic studies, he said.
“The project’s current criteria are a bit loose and misapplied, as they allow students from all family backgrounds to apply,” Gen Dapong said.
The original Odos scheme — introduced by the Thaksin Shinawatra administration in 2004 — provided Mathayom 6 (Grade 12) students from poor families the chance to study overseas on a scholarship and later return bringing international knowledge and new technology back to Thailand to accelerate development.
Recipients studied in non-English speaking countries including France, Japan, Germany and China. The scheme came under criticism when a large number of students returned home prematurely after failing to adapt to their new studies overseas. Students who returned early said they faced enormous language difficulties because the government did not do enough to prepare them.
Source: Bangkok Post