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close this bookThe Impact of Technology on Human Rights: Global Case-studies (UNU, 1993, 322 pages)
close this folder3. Technology and human rights: critical implications for Thailand
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentHuman rights
View the documentTechnology
View the documentImplications
View the documentRural development
View the documentAgriculture
View the documentIndustrialization
View the documentUrbanization
View the documentEnvironmental concerns
View the documentThe socialization process
View the documentAssessment
View the documentAppendix 1
View the documentNotes

The socialization process

Socialization refers to the development of the individual from infancy upwards; it is intertwined with the educational system, whether through formal education in schools, through non-formal programmes, or through informal education such as family upbringing. It is intrinsically based upon the right to education and hence the maximization of the potential of the individual in the process of development.

Two basic questions are of interest to this study. First, to what extent does technology contribute to the socialization process in general, particularly in the educational system? Second, to what extent does technology help to promote human rights education in particular?

Technology and the Educational System

The present formal educational system in Thailand is based upon six years' compulsory education, which is being extended to nine years. At the primary level, the enrolment rate is over 90 per cent, but the numbers of those reaching secondary school and tertiary institutions are less impressive.85 There is a high unemployment rate among ax-students in certain quarters (particularly among law students).

According to the statistics of the Ministry of Technology, the past decade some 247,000 students of science and technology have been produced by the formal educational system.86 Yet currently there is a great shortage of technically proficient personnel. The institutions producing engineers and technicians complain that they are unable to meet the demands of industry in view of Thailand's rapid industrialization. The demand and supply pattern is illustrated in tables 6-8.

Beyond the industrial spectrum, the impact of education and technically proficient students on the country's development process is less clear. While computerization has arrived at universities and vocational training institutions in urban areas, it has yet to arrive at the classroom in rural areas. There are also some misgivings among educators that technology will make students lazy. The advent of calculators, for example, has meant that many students are unable to do simple calculations without resorting to these calculators. On the other hand, simple educational technology such as overhead projectors and videos is still insufficiently used in the classroom, even if it is available. The classroom methodology tends to perpetuate the old style of lecturing and learning by rote, with the teacher in a magistral position.

At another level, one is tempted to ask the following questions, for which there are no ready answers. Has the formal educational system really helped to upgrade agricultural techniques and to improve the condition of rural people? Has it prevented the brain drain of rural students to urban areas in search of jobs in industry?

From the standpoint of non-formal and informal education, the impact of technology is felt among the ordinary population in both positive and negative ways. A number of courses offered by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Agriculture to those who are out of school provide for technological training, e. g. basic mechanics. Television and radio programmes also provide key information which may help the ordinary population; the radio is a particularly effective means of communicating with outlying areas, and its educational programmes often offer tips to farmers concerning technology and farming needs.

Yet the impact of technological knowledge has its negative side. As already noted, the excessive dependency of farmers on pesticides and fertilizers has vast personal and ecological repercussions of a detrimental kind. The message for the future seems to be to stress the importance of the type of technological knowledge that will enable people to choose between different forms of technology so as to minimize negative consequences.

Technology and Human Rights Education

The field of human rights education poses a great challenge to educationists in Thailand today precisely because it has been neglected for so long. While substantive courses on human rights are found at the tertiary level, the other levels of education only have fleeting references to it.87 At the secondary level, there are no substantive courses on human rights, but there may be reference to human rights in the elective course on law which stududents may choose to do. The human rights message may also be conveyed through other courses relating to social sciences. At the primary level, the situation is similar; there is no substantive course on human rights, but there may be reference thereto in the courses on life experiences and general knowledge. For example, in referring

Table 6. Summary of higher education institutions in Thailand

Type of institution

Degrees

Number of institutions/campuses

Government universities

Doctoral degree

16


Master's degree



Post-graduate certificate



Bachelor's degree



Diploma


Private universities

Bachelor's degree

23


Diploma



Higher Certificate of



Vocational Education (P-V-S)


Institute of Technology and Vocational Education (ITVE)

Bachelor's degree

28


Advanced Certificate of Vocational Education (P-V-T)



Higher Certificate of Vocational Education (P-V-S)



Certificate of Vocational Education (P-V-CH)


Government vocational colleges

Bachelor's degree

202


Advanced Certificate of Vocational Education (P-V-T)



Higher Certificate of Vocational Education (P-V-S)



Certificate of Vocational Education (P-V-CH)


Private vocational colleges

Bachelor's degree

363


Advanced Certificate of Vocational Education (P-V-T)



Higher Certificate of Vocational Education (P-V-S)



Certificate of Vocational Education (P-V-CH)


Source: Technology Strategy and Policy for Industrial Competitiveness: A Case Study of Thai/and (World Bank, 1990), p. 63

Table 7a. S&T manpower production compared to total formal education output

Area code

1980/81

1981/82

1982/83

1983/84

1984/85

1985/86

1986/87

Postgraduate degrees








B1-B3

188

188

228

185

281

271

307

B4-B5

433

460

583

639

654

851

1,056

E

32

60

99

78

77

52

63

M

8

29

16

8

12

11

21

T

66

84

80

93

108

115

110

S

67

52

54

50

49

56

189

S&T total

794

873

1,060

1,053

1,181

1,356

1,746

Gnd total

2,339

2,479

2,745

2,979

3,450

3,778

4,394

Bachelor's degrees








B1-B3

1,594

1,744

1,585

1,438

1,971

2,183

2,266

B4-B5

2,716

2,773

2,406

2,274

2,659

3,012

3,457

E

459

491

685

701

840

927

1,095

M

364

402

546

557

667

727

699

T

935

1,074

896

963

1,086

1,155

1,853

S

630

566

779

597

562

545

745

S&T total

6,698

7,050

6,897

6,530

7,785

8,549

10,115

Gnd total

38,396

38,543

52,947

54,682

60,889

55,587

49,842b

Below bachelor's degrees








B1-B3

7,835

13,869

12,556

19,180

17,272

18,759

10,396

B4-B5

412

351

132

155

90

445

518

E

7,586

9,038

11,107

18,908

16,668

19,691

20,998

M

16,682

17,532

19,106

28,720

22,624

23,589

22,364

T

8,318

9,173

11,108

18,778

14,880

22,563

13,337

S

32

28

32

0

21

27

138

S&T total

40,865

49,991

54,041

85,741

71,555

85,074

67,751

Gnd total

103,485

121,808

133,602

209,947

171,841

183,382

149,986

Total S&T manpower








B1-B3

9,617

15,801

14,369

20,803

19,524

21,213

12,969

B4-B5

3,561

3,584

3,121

3,068

3,403

4,308

5,031

E

8,077

9,589

11,891

19,687

17,585

20,670

22,156

M

17,054

17,963

19,668

29,285

23,303

24,327

23,084

T

9,319

10,331

12,084

19,834

16,074

23,833

15,300

S

729

646

865

647

632

628

1,072

S&T total

48,357

57,914

61,998

93,324

80,521

94,979

79,612

Gnd total

144,220

162,830

189,294

267,608

236,180

242,747

204,222

a. Area codes are defined in table 8.
b. Excludes data on private universities of around 5,000 graduates in non-S&T fields.

Table 7b. S&T manpower production compared to total formal education output
(percentages)a

Area code

1980/81

1981/82

1982/83

1983/84

1984/85

1985/86

1986/87

Postgraduate degrees








B1-B3

8.0

7.6

8.3

6.2

8.1

7.2

7.0

B4-B5

18.5

18.6

21.5

21.5

19.0

22.5

24.0

E

1.4

2.4

3.6

2.6

2.2

1.4

1.4

M

0.3

1.2

0.6

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.5

T

2.8

3.4

2.9

3.1

3.1

3.0

2.5

S

2.9

2.1

2.0

1.4

1.4

1.5

4.3

S&T total

33.9

35.2

38.6

35.3

34.2

35.9

39.7

Bachelor's degrees








B1-B3

4.2

4.5

3.0

2.6

3.2

3.9

4.5

B4-B5

7.1

7.2

4.5

4.2

4.4

5.4

6.9

E

1.2

1.3

1.3

1.3

1.4

1.7

2.2

M

0.9

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.1

1.3

1.4

T

2.4

2.8

1.7

1.8

1.8

2.1

3.7

S

1.6

1.5

1.5

1.1

1.9

1.0

1.5

S&T total

17.4

18.3

13.0

11.9

12.8

15.4

20.3b

Below bachelor's degrees








B1-B3

7.6

11.4

9.4

9.1

10.1

10.2

6.9

B4-B5

0.4

0.3

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.2

0.3

E

7.3

7.4

8.3

9.0

9.7

10.7

14.0

M

16.1

14.4

14.3

13.7

13.2

12.9

14.9

T

8.0

7.5

8.3

8.9

8.7

12.3

8.9

S

0

0 0.0

0.0

0.0

41.6

0.0

0.1

S&T total

39.5

41.0

40.4

40.8

41.6

46.4

45.5

Total S&T manpower








B1-B3

6.7

9.7

7.6

7.8

8.3

8.7

6.4

B4-B5

2.5

2.2

1.6

1.1

1.4

1.8

2.5

E

5.6

5.9

6.3

7.4

7.4

8.5

10.8

M

11.8

11.0

10.4

10.9

9.9

10.0

11.3

T

6.5

6.3

6.4

7.4

6.8

9.8

7.5

S

0.5

0.4

0.5

0.2

0.3

0.3

0.5

S&T total

33.5

35.6

32.8

34.9

34.1

39.1

39.0

a. All figures represent the share of the respective S&T category in total output of higher education institutions at that level.

b. This figure would be 18.4 per cent if private sector graduates were included.
Source: Technology Strategy and Policy for Industrial Cornpetiriveness: A Case Study of Thailand (World Bank, 1990), pp. 64-65.

Table 8. Projected excess demand for S&T manpower by fielda


1989

1990

1991

1996

2001

Postgraduate






B

39

16

47

67

151

E

62

58

68

76

129

M

203

207

229

263

369

T

536

563

626

880

1,140

S

173

174

203

272

390

Bachelor's degrees






B

-747b

-871

-816

-896

-785

E

413

354

408

538

980

M

2,248

2,261

2,507

2,738

4,052

T

1,896

1,951

2,181

3,115

4,226

S

385

385

470

556

976

Vocational training






B

-12,031

- 13,237

- 1,426

- 19,949

-25,284

E

-7,907

- 9,027

- 9,763

- 13,964

-16,870

M

-8,869

- 9,943

- 10,677

- 14,086

-16,556

T

-1,304

- 1,665

- 1,517

-2,250

-1,967

S

829

842

930

1,063

1,566

a. B = Biotechnology; E = Electronics technology; M = Material technology; T = Related technology; S = Physical science.

b. A negative number denotes excess supply.

Source: Technology Strategy and Policy for Industrial Competitiveness: A Case Study of Thailand (World Bank, 1990), p. 66. to the country's Constitution, there is likely to be a reference to the right to vote and participation in the democratic process.

However, one may generalize that, up to the tertiary level, formal schooling tends to inculcate a sense of duties rather than rights.88 Children are taught about the duty to pay tax, the duty to register births and deaths, and the duty of conscription, without necessarily being offered a broader vision of human rights and current problems pertaining to them in Thai society. A key example is the paucity of references to children's and women's rights from childhood upwards. Which classroom raises the issues of child labour and child prostitution, which are widespread in Thai society?

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, and well-read teachers will no doubt refer to such issues. However, unless these issues of human rights are inserted directly into the curriculum, particularly at the primary and secondary levels, the obligation to disseminate human rights will be missing.

What is the impact of technology on such education? Again the message of the uninventive classroom pervades many educational institutions. The formal lecture still persists in pedagogy, coupled with the dominant role of the teacher and lack of participation on the part of students. The stifling of critical analysis and of active interchange of views is commonplace. Likewise, when there are non-formal training programmes, there is still a lack of imagination on how to diversify educational materials and methodology.

In this respect, one may claim that the appropriate use of technology for human rights education can help to instil a deeper consciousness of human rights issues. For instance, one need hardly observe that a lecture about child prostitution is likely to be bland unless it is accompanied by a slide show or video of the problem of prostitution. The affective, the cognitive, and the psychomotor can all be influenced by proper educational technology.

Some of the recent experiments in Thailand in this regard include non-formal courses for villagers, children out of school, and youth about the law and their basic rights.89 An example is the programme initiated by various law faculties and the Department of Public Prosecutions offering courses to village leaders.90 There are usually accompanied by an initial needs assessment of the target groups themselves, i.e. what are their problems and how should the course respond to their needs? The programmes vary in length and content, but there has been a gradual recognition of the need to diversify the teaching technology. Thus the use of transparencies, videos, games, cartoons, and plays has become more common in the training process.

On another front, the rise of concern for women's and children's rights has led to courses with more imaginative use of educational materials. The materials produced include games on the rights of child labourers, cartoons on the rights of child labourers and the dangers of child prostitution, consumer protection, and the hazards of drug abuse. It is also felt that one must reach out not only to the potential exploited person but also the potential exploiter. For example, the Law Communicators Group has produced, with the Child Labour Home in Bangkok, a little diary for children warning them of the dangers of child labour, the risks of signing contracts without reading the contents, and the addresses of institutions providing help if in need. Complementary to this, as a catalyst to stimulate the concern of the potential abuser, the group is also producing a calendar to educate employers about labour law and warn them against violations. In this sense, technology can exert a preventive impact on potential human rights violations.

One of the latest experiments is to train rural youth in law and basic rights. The Child Welfare Association, in cooperation with law teachers and students, is undertaking the training of youth from all over the country.91 The materials prepared are in response to a feasibility study to assess the target groups' needs. The educational materials produced in keeping with these needs include games, videos, posters, cartoons, and simple handouts concerning such issues as land law, criminal procedure, environmental concerns, and contractual obligations. These are tested with some of the target groups to see whether they respond to the latter's needs before they are widely disseminated.

Equally important in the educational process is the evaluation of the impact of the information conveyed. Traditionally, the technique for doing this was based upon general examinations. However, these often failed to take into account the long-term implications of education, particularly the aspects of social consciousness and community involvement. Long-term impact assessment is now being tried in Thailand by monitoring the trainees over a long period to observe the consequences of what they have learnt and how they perform in community life.