Special Report: Thailand kick-starts first Children’s University to boost interest in science


Thailand’s first Children’s University project will be officially launched on October 29, in a bid to promote interest in science among Thai youth. 

Under the Royal Patronage of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the Children’s University scheme is a tri-partite collaborative project involving the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

The educational initiative is to be launched during October 29-31, 2012 at the Thailand Science Park, with HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn scheduled to preside over the opening ceremony.

NSTDA President Dr. Thaweesak Koanantakool said as part of the project, universities across Thailand are set to organize science events that will offer elementary and middle school children their first introduction into the role of scientific researchers. Over 500 young students participated in the project, launched on a trial basis last year. Scientific experiments conducted at previous science camps involved milk, citrus fruits and ink.

Dr. Thaweesak elaborated that with the next phase of the project, related agencies are widening cooperation with participating universities by allowing young students to attend lectures, workshops and other activities organized by local universities.

At the Thailand Science Park in Bangkok, NSTDA science researchers will be recruited to conduct scientific demonstrations for young students from all regions across the country. In the future, the NSTDA chief said that in order to kick-start the project nationwide, provincial universities will be provided with science teaching materials and their personnel will receive training from NSTDA.

Dr Thaweesak commented that science studies are keys to the country’s development and, with the scheme, the agency is hoping to further produce a new generation of scientists and researchers.

The first children’s university was founded by Dr. Katharina Kohse-H Inghaus in 2002 at Bielefeld University in Germany. Since then, similar projects have been established in other countries such as China and Egypt.