Making a difference with Oracle Academy
The spotlight is on Dr. Manit Boonprasert, Director, Association of Private Higher Education Institutions of Thailand (APHEIT), Thailand.
The Association of Private Higher Education Institutions of Thailand (APHEIT) under the Patronage of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is a non-profit association that promotes academic cooperation and internationalization of higher education institutions at home and abroad to enhance the quality of educational services, including the offering and seeking of advice from major business and industry sectors. The aim is to develop the future workforce with essential career-ready knowledge and skills. APHEIT is recognized by the Office of Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) as one of the organizations that plays an important role in Thailand’s university administration.
Dr. Manit Boonprasert, director of the association, is responsible for supplying APHEIT member institutions with globally recognized resources instrumental to raising the quality of private sector teaching. Computer science and technology is high on the agenda and a priority for the digital era. After reviewing the learning programs of several technology companies worldwide, APHEIT selected Oracle Academy as its provider of technology education resources, signing a Memorandum of Understanding in 2021.
Under the terms of the four-year MOU, APHEIT’s institutional members are able to incorporate Oracle Academy curriculum and resources into standards-aligned academic pathways while also driving educator professional development in technology through numerous self-study opportunities offered by Oracle Academy.
Oracle Academy: Can you describe your role as director of APHEIT?
Manit Boonprasert: My role is to deliver the association’s mission and to research and implement partnerships with globally recognized companies that will enable our members to standardize their learning materials and raise the quality of teaching. Our key focus area at this time is to bolster the educational resources of computer science and information technology faculties across our members and our nation.
Oracle Academy: Can you tell us about the collaboration between APHEIT and Oracle Academy?
Manit Boonprasert: It’s based on common values. Our organization is concerned with raising the quality of higher education in Thailand. The goal is to help our members find the best teaching methods and resources so that their instructors can prepare superbly qualified students for the working world.
Oracle Academy is a philanthropic organization whose mission is to help advance technology education worldwide and to help countries and communities prepare with the right career-ready workforce for the future. APHEIT appreciates that kind of value, because our whole objective is to address the skills gap in technology prevalent in Thailand. Having this collaboration with shared values is priceless. I believe we have found the perfect match.
We are very pleased to collaborate with Oracle Academy. Everything created by Oracle now and in the future is recognized by global industry standards. We benefit by achieving professional computer science training for faculty members and much-needed technology skills for students and graduates to prepare them for the job market.
Oracle Academy: And what is the scope of your organization?
Manit Boonprasert: We are the association dedicated to private higher education in Thailand. Of 70 private universities, colleges and institutes, 62 are APHEIT institutional members. That translates to around 300,000 on-campus students. We are recognized by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation and in fact we are housed within the ministry’s complex. My office promotes Oracle Academy resources to our members as a means to strengthen educator professional development and, as a result, engage, inspire, and prepare students to become technology innovators and leaders.
Oracle Academy: Which Oracle Academy curriculum and resources are your members using?
Manit Boonprasert: In the first phase starting from 2022, 20 institutions have so far incorporated Oracle Academy curriculum and resources into their computing or IT degree programs. It’s an ongoing process of informing, sharing, and communicating. A recent survey ranks the database curriculum as the most utilized resource, followed by the Java curriculum. There is high interest in the Oracle Academy Cloud Program as well.
Oracle Academy: How does the relationship work?
Manit Boonprasert: One of my responsibilities is to liaise with the designated point of contact for each institution. Usually these are the heads of IT-related degree programs. Leadership is important and these individuals are crucial for sharing, informing, and encouraging. At the same time, I also make sure to involve the deans of each university, college or institute. It is very important to have top-down support for what we are trying to achieve.
Naturally, we are in regular contact with the Oracle Academy Program Coordinator from Thailand as well as the Oracle Academy Country Manager for Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei & Thailand. At times, there are requests for a lecturer, a subject matter expert or other knowledge resources. And every two weeks all of us have an online meeting to discuss a range of subjects, including development of the action plan.
Oracle Academy: And how do the member educators get skilled in teaching with Oracle Academy resources?
Manit Boonprasert: It’s based on self-paced study. Teachers register for the courses they teach and follow the tutorials, videos, and other materials that reside in the Oracle Academy Member Hub, a well-designed platform that teachers and students can use to explore, learn, and develop themselves. Feedback at our fortnightly meetings has been nothing but encouraging: the content is rich, the courses well designed.
From a Learn and Share session that our office organized, a teacher at North Bangkok University shared her practices that she first studied the Java course in the Oracle Academy program to get herself familiar with the learning materials and assessment. She did everything as required by the course requirements and earned a certificate of course completion. She also shared in her report how she implemented Java Fundamentals. Besides, from the academic year 2023, graduating students in the IT program are required to complete two Oracle Academy courses: Java Fundamentals and Database Design.
APHEIT appreciates that the teacher learning is important to the successful graduation of students. Currently, in parallel to getting up to speed with Oracle Academy curriculum, teachers in Thai higher education are transitioning from results based on exams to outcome-based education (OBE), which is being promoted by the Ministry. Here again I find a perfect dovetailing with Oracle Academy.
Oracle Academy: Can you tell us in what way?
Manit Boonprasert: OBE is the methodology where each aspect of education is organized around a set of goals or outcomes. Oracle Academy espouses this strategy. The Member Hub provides instructions on how to write the objectives of a course and to define the intended learning outcomes. By following this path, teachers can measure success, check that students have achieved — or can demonstrate — the essential skills expected from the course.
Oracle Academy: And getting optimum results is part of what APHEIT stands for…
Manit Boonprasert: Very true. And it stems from quality. Quality is in APHEIT’s DNA and I would like our members to be quality oriented. Excellence in higher education will be recognized — or not — depending on how serious one is about quality. One thing we can do is to partner with outside institutions, and Oracle Academy is a shining example, that share a common interest in the quality of the technology workforce now and in the future.
It is my strong belief that the digital era has changed the lives of university lecturers. One has to be nimble, adapting to economic and social transformations driven by technology, and follow a regime of continuous learning.
Oracle Academy: Have your members encouraged students to earn Oracle professional certifications?
Manit Boonprasert: Not yet, since our MOU only began in late 2021. Yet we strongly believe in certification as the passport to getting work. We emphasize to our members that they must move with the advancement of technology and steer young people towards getting valuable accreditation.
APHEIT’s members provide education to at least 300,000 on-campus students who, once graduated, must be productive in society, understanding and offering sustainability, innovation, and a high standard of work. That’s my philosophy for building private higher education partnerships.
Oracle Academy: Great to hear. What do you have on your roadmap?
Manit Boonprasert: Our next phase is to promote the Oracle Academy curriculum to students in non-IT fields, for example humanities, social science, design, medicine, and other areas. It is our belief that database skills in particular are valuable in all walks of life.
My personal roadmap involves getting up to speed on all that the Oracle Academy Cloud Program has to offer. I must do my homework!
Meanwhile, in summary, I am satisfied that we have established a real partnership. We have planned, implemented, assessed, and improved our strategy for boosting computer science courses at our affiliated higher education institutions. I am confident that our upcoming annual conference will confirm that success. We are looking forward to the presentation of a guest speaker from Oracle Academy.
Thank you, Dr. Manit Boonprasert, for your passion for Oracle Academy and for preparing students to make a positive impact.