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Common exam plan finds favour with universities

Council of University Presidents of Thailand

The common direct-entrance exams being developed by the Council of University Presidents of Thailand have been well received, the council said, as the system is believed to be fairer to potential students.

The council recently held a meeting on developments in the university admission system at the Office of the Higher Education Commission (Ohec). The meeting agreed in principle to run exams together under the direct recruitment system.

Ohec deputy secretary-general Varaporn Seehanath said universities will organise direct-entrance exams by using the same test papers during the same period.

“It aims to reduce the cost of sitting several rounds of direct-entrance exams and ensure fairness to students whose parents cannot afford to have them sit so many rounds of exams,” she said.

“Only common subjects will be tested through this common direct-entrance exam. For specific subjects, each university can organise its own tests.”

Universities have also been asked to organise group tests with others which have similar programmes and to discuss ways to designate exams in specific subjects.

Ms Varaporn said recruitment must begin around March after Mathayom 6 or Grade 12 students completed their secondary education.

Common direct-entrance exams are expected to start in the 2016 academic year. The university presidents said they needed further discussion and will hold another meeting next week.

Pong-In Rakariyatham, chairman of the admissions forum committee, said universities in general did not oppose the idea. But as there were more than 3,500 different branches in 27 institutions, more detailed discussions would have to be held before the system can be implemented, he said.

Sompong Jitradup, a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University’s faculty of education, backed the system as it would reduce inequality in education.

“Previously, students sat many entrance exams to ensure they could get a place in a university or get a preferred institution. But what about those from poor families? This situation has created unfairness in society. So the principle of a common direct-entrance exam makes sense,” he said.

Some students might disagree as they feel they would lose the chance of a university place if they are unable to take part in the multitude of entrance exams.

Siree Chaiseree, deputy rector of academic affairs at Kasetsart University, said direct entrance came about because universities wanted the top students. (Bankok Post)

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