Vocational schools in Thailand are getting ready for dual training

The German-Thai Dual Excellence Education initiative (GTDEE) implements the dual training programme in Thailand. Following experiences gained from the programme implementation, one focus for GTDEE is currently quality development in the partner vocational schools of the training companies.

In Thailand, German dual vocational education and training also enjoys an outstanding reputation as a means of developing a high-quality and skilled labour force. Demand in Thailand for support with the expansion of the dual approach is therefore high.

As a consequence, the German-Thai Chamber of Commerce established the German-Thai Dual Excellence Education (GTDEE) initiative in 2013 together with other selected partners from the public and private sector. In this training programme, the trainees work in a company and learn the theory in the vocational schools – which are known in Thailand as 'vocational colleges', and are from here onwards referred to as such.

GTDEE initially focused on supporting the private sector. However, over the course of the implementation, it became apparent that development was needed in the public sector in particular. In this case, learning as part of dual training following the German model was not on the curriculum for the vocational colleges cooperating with the programme.

Quality management for vocational colleges

This realisation shifted the focus of the GTDEE initiative on to the college-based side, which had to be made ready for teaching within the system of dual vocational education and training.

In cooperation with local stakeholders such as universities and government institutions, the quality of vocational education and training at the cooperating vocational colleges was to be improved. In support of this, personnel development measures as well as concepts to improve the pedagogical and didactic competencies of the teaching staff were developed and implemented.

A quality management system (QM System) was developed for local vocational colleges based on German concepts. The QM system evaluates the current status of vocational colleges in terms of teaching to support dual training. The evaluation system places great emphasis on cooperation between the school and the company.

The quality analysis for vocational schools is patented for the Thai training market.

Vocational colleges which successfully complete the quality analysis receive a certificate of successful completion of "Quality Assurance for Vocational Education and Training" bearing the logo of the German-Thai Chamber of Commerce and the GTDEE logo. So far the certificate has been awarded to one of seven Thai vocational colleges which have been inspected.

Men from Germany and Thailand sit around a table and talk to eachother

back left: Markus Hoffmann, Projekt Direktor German-Thai Dual Excellence Education (GTDEE)

Pilot phase with two vocational colleges

The pilot phase from June to November 2015 started with an initial assessment of the current situation and revealed the strengths and weaknesses of two vocational colleges involved in the pilot.

Both schools had already been actively involved in the GTDEE project and therefore had some experience of initial vocational education and training in the dual system. However, the quality analysis identified significant shortcomings. The outcome of the analysis formed the basis of specific objective and action planning to support the development of these pilot colleges.

The quality analysis is separated from the local school authorities both functionally and in terms of personnel, and considers both the general set-up at the school as well as its cooperation and coordination with the training companies.

The findings from the pilot phase were integrated within the school development concept and, in a subsequent step, have already been transferred to other partner schools in the GTDEE project.

The pilot phase demonstrated that an entire package of measures was necessary in order to guide the vocational colleges towards sustained improvement in the quality of teaching.

The quality analysis is available to all vocational colleges which are planning to cooperate with the GTDEE initiative. The quality control is financed by the vocational colleges.

The GTDEE is continuing to further develop the tool itself with the King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok. Colleges are expected to conduct the analysis on a regular basis in order to review their own development process.

Measures at the vocational colleges

Some of the measures which were implemented with and at the colleges in order to prepare them for dual vocational education and training involved joint events with teachers and trainers, supporting the sharing of experience, the use of new media and technologies and the development of communication concepts. A "Teach-the-Teacher" concept to support ongoing teacher training in the future is also currently being developed in conjunction with King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok.

Internal school infrastructures are also included within the package of measures. This includes equipping labs and classrooms with work-related, project and teaching materials, and also supporting the development of lesson models for project-related teaching and for the advanced teacher training.

All activities took place in direct discussion with schools and training companies. The effectiveness of the measures was reflected in interviews and feedback forms. Training and the use of technology were analysed together. The knowledge gained informed further measures.

several men from Germany and Thailand are sitting on the floor in a round and talk to eachother

Rethinking needed on the part of stakeholders

Overall, the structuring of school-based development processes requires teachers, school management and the school authorities to perceive their roles differently. Added to which, new responsibilities also require new competencies.

The provision of advanced training and support therefore significantly supported school management in their task of forming an important link between nationwide reform measures and internal school innovation processes. This is because school management has to initiate, support and supervise school development processes and be able to institutionalise what is achieved.

Creative scope encourages self-initiative

One feature of the school development project was a high level of creative scope in terms of content and methodology.

The role of the GTDEE covered consultation on and moderation of the development process. Participants developed the actual activities for implementing the school development objectives themselves. This generated a high level of identification with the selected measures among the stakeholders and a strong sense of ownership of development of the school.

The very experience of being able to change something was both justification and motivation for the involvement of school management in the development of their vocational colleges. Creative freedom in the culture of a vocational college is a driving force behind the quality of a college. Stakeholders must identify with the targets and measures for there to be sustained improvements in the quality of the college.

Development of the college requires a different attitude from stakeholders towards their occupation and a new understanding of their role as teachers and trainers. This is because they are no longer permitted to focus on the core areas of 'teaching' and 'training' in isolation, but must incorporate areas of activity concerning issues pertaining to a school and the training company overall and which are of importance in terms of shaping school development processes.

Successful implementation

Several private and public vocational colleges have already expressed their interest in the quality analysis. The Office of Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), which has a cooperation agreement with the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, has now become aware of the school assessment and regards it positively in terms of the development of vocational colleges in Thailand. For example, the OVEC has selected public schools in particular for the school assessment in order to have them reviewed and certified by the GDTEE.

Even the Thai Ministry of Education received a report on successful completion and implementation of the quality analysis by the GTDEE initiative.

young Thai siting at a table and examining a something
Thai filing a component
Thai showing a fire-extinguisher
Thai trainees measure something
Thai trainer observes trainees that are working in the field of electics
two Thai men work in the field of electrics
Two Thai men sitting at a table, one man shows the other one something in a document
two Thai men study a motor
Thai man talking


logo of GTDEE

German-Thai Dual Excellence Education (GTDEE)

Contact person:
Markus Hoffmann
Projekt Direktor
German-Thai Chamber of Commerce

Photos: © German-Thai Dual Excellence Education (GTDEE)