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Lessons from Thailand with Dr. Pornpun Waitayangkoon

Spirit of Math Podcast Episode #4

In this episode, hosts Kim Langen and Nathan Langen engage in a conversation with Dr. Pornpun Waitayangkoon, President of The Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST) in the Asia + Pacific region. A riveting discussion about the evolution of education in Thailand, and the ongoing efforts to develop and enhance the quality of education in the midst of the rising challenges posed by the socioeconomic shift in Thailand.
Dr. Pornpun Waitayangkoon

About Dr. Pornpun Waitayangkoon

Dr. Pornpun is a STEAM education pioneer for the Asia+Pacific region. Gain an insider’s perspective on the pivotal role of STEAM education in creating future leaders.


Welcome to another episode of the RTG podcast where we
interview exceptional people from around the world that have made
a huge impact.
The next person, both Kim and I,
had the opportunity to meet her in Thailand last year
at the world’s math Olympiad.
So I’d like to talk about that a bit,
because this trip that we made was in Thailand and
we were sitting down with a lot of the people
who came from the different countries from mainly around that
area of the world and beside me sat this lady.
And she had this huge smile on her face and
seemed really intrigued on getting to know everybody.
and I started listening to her and I started listening
to what she had done an I realized that.
Wow, this lady wasn’t just another person who is really
passionate about mathematics.
She’s actually passionately about STEAM and getting her country ahead
and not just her country but several other countries are
thinks about 6 different countries that she’s been working with
and she’s done this from very humble beginnings.
She has decided she decided herself that this was important,
so she just drove through got.
Got got things happening. Basically she didn’t stop at anything
and she really wants her country to be able to
compete at the global level.
So how is she doing that?
How is she getting all these schools to a global
All the teachers to a global level?
All the thinking for so that people can think at
a global level and help create a government that is
capable to go forward with a whole bunch of people.
So when I was talking to her I thought she’d
be perfect.
To interview, so I took this opportunity when we were
in Thailand to interview her and Nathan.
Can you please just talk a little bit about give,
give all the qualifications that she,
Scott, and then we’re going to get into this interview
is just fascinating.
Listening to this lady sure.
So she’s been working on this GLOBE strategy since 1999.
while being the President of the Institute of Promotion of
Teaching Science and Technology for the Asian Pacific region,
she’s leading the effort to develop an increase the quality
of science,
mathematics and Technology Education. In Thailand.
Now there is a quote here that I remember.
She said that is that.
When students are permitted to follow their own natural curiosity
and to learn to apply mathematics and technology in their
they truly are acquiring the skills needed to become the
generation of global scientists.
And so I remember during reading into what she wants
is that it’s not.
It’s about moving away from purely rote memory.
And going into that Curiosity mode and critical thinking as
And so she’s also dedicated to raising the level of
environmental literacy and technology fluency and information acquisition.
And this is all part of the GLOBE
Project that she’s working on now.
We did meet her at last year at the world
mathematical Olympiad in Thailand and you were able to interview
and that’s where we’re going to jump to very shortly
to is into that interview.
OK, so let’s go in and hear it.
I’m here today with Doctor Pornpun Waitayangkoon
If I got that right good excellent.
OK, and I’m really excited to be here in Thailand
to speak to you.
What had happened was I was we were actually World
Matthews Olympiad and and when I heard your story and
what you were going to be doing I
thought wow there is something very special happening here.
And just the insight. The vision that you’ve got and
the understanding of what’s happening with Thailand and what’s needed.
And that’s why we’re here today,
and it’s because of your love for this country.
But also the work that you’ve done.
So let’s talk a little bit about that.
That first of all, talk a little bit about time,
itself. And if you could give us a little story
about where was Thailand 20 years ago,
where is it now and what do you see in
the future for Thailand?
In 20 years? I know that’s a kind of a
tough question because many people are asking where is the
world going to be in 20 years?
And and so give us what you can,
Well, but 20 years ago,
I think that that could be a start of education
Yeah, and before that we just have a kind of
things in place and with.
Low level of urgency in technology.
During that time, you know.
So actually we depend on.
I mean that in the education sector we rely on
whatever we have,
yeah. But the. So
what do you mean by that?
You rely
on whatever you have? I want my impression on this
will cause.
Actually, Thailand could go further and faster,
but the lack of all kind of resources,
budgeting or everything, it means that they kind of slow
things to advance
You know, I’ve been comparing to other advancement of other
of developed countries. We are in the face of A
at that time yeah,
we were a developing country and now they say that
we developed already.
Things like that yeah so actually we look to our
member countries in South East Asia to compare things right.
So we quite during 20 years if you ask a
history of that at least I say but I focus
The application at that time,
so we do education reform to keep going our human
resources and other things to update with the changing world
changing society.
At that time I think an it’s quite slow as
I mentioned,
but there are also advantages also right in terms of
the population is not must like this.
It could be only. For the millions but now is
65 almost 70 in.
A few years so. Yeah so.
Is the just lighter. We try to encourage.
I mean innovations in teaching.
In petal bodies. You know,
like why the Institute for the promotion of taking scientifically
established in 1972 around that time?
Because we would like to re ver allies the application,
I mean as a science and mathematics and technology is
a must.
Also all the way. You know,
we try to do that.
But things like that once we introduce.
Signs as a inquiry. Things like that that we required
students who manipulate.
I do experiments, but school still lacked dollars.
Learning resources. Those equipment you know.
So it quite very slowly in a development of that.
Yeah, to me it seems like that or even now.
Even the more schools could afford it that.
But actually looking at the whole population,
the whole school we have 30 minutes at 30,000 school
across the country,
you know. But that’s only 10 or 20%.
We might say that they really.
Everything’s, you know, but to meet all kinds of standard
and you say that the rest could be.
Done some things more in terms of airport and policy,
rigid policy, not the changing one.
Yeah, OK, right? So I that.
That’s an interesting point there.
The rigidity, and why do you think it’s some
Richard? For, well, actually, you know.
The so called the land of smile.
That means our people are very good.
Yeah, so they can do or they cannot do.
They might not. You know it if they ask.
For example, if the app might not be compulsively.
Things like that, so it could be done or could
not be done.
And particularly for the education system,
I think that the. At that time,
after 20 years that we do some things like one
or fully like sentries,
we have one single. Back to.
19 99 we reform and try to decentralize.
I mean the education all highly act in support of
So you know during that time during the start of
the reform,
they might not be really.
In terms of administration in terms of equipment of the
Cape of regional services areas,
and it’s like that so they need time to get
acquainted with things happening and change,
you know so. Is still be like this at the
moment until we have the second reform.
Now we have the
second i
nformed. Reform then? OK,
so well seems. The world changing very fast and we
need to do more on that,
particularly Mandy. All kind of pedagogies or everything in terms
of the policy,
right? That is important and practices.
Also, trying to make practices.
Go along with the policy you know.
Sometimes it is the policy some time to practice.
The practice is so different very you know.
Yeah, so I think one of the concerns I’m saying
globally is that flexibility in the ability for teachers to
change and to understand what it really looks like.
Are you finding the same here in Thailand?
that’s? Well, it quite available of the society.
At the moment. But you know,
in the past that we view that the teacher professional
seems very high.
And the Bears of any province could be teachers.
But now things you know change very fast.
And. Many Not just will that as important as in
the path you know,
why do you
think that is? Well,
it could be that being she was always ask teachers
they get really low income.
Yeah, not comparing to medical doctors comparing two engineers comparing
to other kinds of.
Professionals, so the new generation try to try to University
in order to be this kind of professions right?
The first that they think about is.
Precision medical doctors Engineers. An anything so they can make
a lot of money.
Now I
was talking to a businessman from from America at one
point and I was wondering why he was treating me
so poorly for a long time I knew him for
months and it was not quite tense that I got
to know a little bit more and at one point
in time he said to me,
you know Kim and this is when he started treating
me better and and talking to me more better and
he said.
Teachers in America. This is at least how he perceived
He said that they are the people who get the
lowest grade point average.
They don’t have anything else to do an.
This is where they end up going.
Everybody else who gets a high mark will go into
other fields and so I thought,
well, that’s why your treating me the way you are
is if I’m not very important and.
And you know, and it’s not I think that is
part of what you are saying.
Is the values and the change in the values and
doesn’t really matter whether you’ve got your getting paid a
lot or not.
And before that wasn’t the key.
The key was your. The value of teaching in that
profession was highly regarded and and I’m seeing that shift
all over where it started.
I saw in the Western World and now I’m hearing
it starting in the eastern or actually not just starting.
This actually happens is what I’m hearing and see.
And to hear that from him is very interesting.
and I think that some of the brightest people still
are in education is just that often they’re not showing
and they’re, they’re not. They’re not in time.
really OK. Any profession that they came
have not. So it really is,
Generations they seemed. Like this,
so let’s talk about that a little bit,
because if that’s true, and if you were going to
You’re going to go forward in 20 years from now.
The education I see is fundamental to the future of
any society,
and if you look at the education now in 20
years from now or even 1015 years from now,
you can almost predict where that society is going to,
and if we’re if timeline is having difficulty with this
in terms of getting the brightest to teach the people.
Where do you see this going?
Well. As I perceive with my own eyes and my
friends who in the area of Education I mean.
We might not feel I’m much.
On the people. I mean on teachers themselves,
they roll their roles need to be changed.
They need to understand the changing.
Also. I mean technology or tools that that can use
to fax,
imitate the students, not just tell the story to them
or help them.
Do things in memory, things like that,
but they have to. Explore themselves guided by the teachers,
I would say. If the arrow still the same,
it could not. Go with the changing world.
Usually I would say yeah and this is the fact
that the.
I mean, policymakers ferry. Understand that and they try to
do everything so I I admire the current government that
they try very hard during the back part he is.
Because the lighter if we looking at the problems application,
I would say that the achievement of the student that
is the criteria to say that our system is good
or not.
Um? We can say that.
Because of teachers. First because the.
Deliver everything is to the student from the start.
You know early childhood or primary or secondary.
And if they don’t change much,
is could be the same.
So we talk about reforming higher education that implied at
that pre service education I mean teacher production going to
be changes as well,
right? Yeah, they’re not just like the old plumbing in
The best way too fast and change is with the
teachers themselves.
You have to change them.
To produce these teachers to skew ten 21st century skills
that we talked much about this at our colleague Lamb
put to be at need to be changed.
So teacher curriculum gonna be shamed also.
It either piece of this or insult you know.
Now what is it with this new initiative that that
you have?
And yes, that we could possibly just talk a little
bit about it,
because it’s the regional Center for science,
technology, engineering and mathematics education.
So see me all stem add and you are the
intern director at this time.
I really liked what was where the direction was for
this an part of what I got from you went
during the presentation was that there is your.
This is to focus on vacations for people going forward
and I think this is what you were talking about
as well to provide them with something very concrete with
the students of the future so that they have that’s
Can you just explain a little bit about what’s happening
with that whole project?
I don’t say that it’s a project.
Mission that I have to.
Less possible for all my life I work with I
PST for 40 years until I retired and back 20
We think about try to maximize the talent group in
science and technology in order we can.
Developed a country we can increase the economy seems.
We have done that for a long,
long time. He provides scholarship to the high school students
who are very talented.
We also developed the teachers of high potential insights.
Mathematical because we would like to have a pool of
scientists you know,
to be people of the country to drive the country
economy right.
But it’s not that difficult is not that easy because
you know,
like I mentioned to you,
the professions by. Medical doctor and or engineers.
Computing some things were not that gave a lot of
so even they are true,
but sometimes we lost them.
You know, we send them.
For the doctor, level, degree or Master to UK to
the USA or also sums to Canada.
But still we I would say we can grab them
back to work for the country just so we may
be 80 to 85%
we lost 15%. They might rain and work with the
country they are starting.
Just return the money as far as he but we
don’t know.
We don’t need that, you know.
So why are we working on this?
We have to improve all the system also.
We participate in the OECD Pisa study seems 2000.
You know every round we got the same result.
That I will. Students are 15 years they have.
Low literacy of science, mathematics and reading.
And this is because it is a problem at the
policy level.
Also because we have Ed subjects.
All the way through from the first grade.
So reading supposed to our mathematics supposed to have more
you know, is a core subject we supposed to pull
out that I’m located for all of the politic
al and
for these.
But since they have to study a subject from the
So. For the mass of the student,
they gave little literacy. I mean low literacy in reading
and math.
That is very important because this is a strong foundation
to learn other things.
You know in many countries they just offer A5 course
Body early. You know for the post primary,
lightweight by or six? OK they can.
Get more. This is the case also.
You know, let’s subjects do they have?
Uh. Yes signs. Social study English and time.
And others you know. We also have eight subject line
of physical education that would be a things or.
Some others. History. An geography OK everything.
Probably just a much do.
They offer a clouded Cleveland.
To to offer this is alliteration.
Yeah, we’ve got to follow the same even be to
stand up for the curriculum framework,
but still they offer important subject with little time located,
you know? So. Ah, we looking at this so.
Be happy situation for. Many,
many more than 20 years,
you know, while we’re working on a talent group,
we have to work on a mass also.
So we try to do this.
But you know. We have problem with the Cleveland structure
as well and they are going to solve it.
I think that they can,
do, you know, because everyone who do this kind of
thing that every subject is,
you know, humanized. That student is all evil.
They don’t understand the word equal,
you know, is not that right?
So we have to do like this.
And the visa show ask that OK,
low literacy in important subject,
right? Reading mathematics and science.
What, whatever they do like do collaboration or do some
other creativity,
they get quite low, but there’s still a group.
A group that bypass and complete can be computed well
with others countries in the world.
So let’s talk about that group too.
So how does that happen?
Because they have all resources necessary resources that can do.
They can have chicken airport like we have a high
school science.
So I high school. The special one.
That every student got the scholarship or we have a.
It’s not a special size who across.
12 of them, and we also have the schools under
faculty of education like a demonstration school of University.
So this group are quite food and it showed that
they have good T-shirt.
Their parents are higher in status and they don’t have
any anything about resources or teachers worry because they’re from
the faculty of Education,
you know and everything. So.
Looking at this because we have a lot of number,
last number of schools. As I told you 30,000 schools
so they just only allow hit budget for East view.
On the number of the student that if they have
4000 students they got high budget then they can vanish
But for the small school we still have to keep
them because.
The transportation is not that like we don’t have a
yellow bar slightly the US that get all every student
you know in the cars.
Things like that but so.
In the area in the remote area we have a
lot of small school.
Maybe 1/3 of them that are serious home.
When when we have small number they got lower,
but it also because is depend on the number of
a student,
right? Right? Yeah it’s like that,
So there’s a policy to merge the school.
But you know there’s a protest.
From their parents from the common theme because it’s difficult
for those student to go to school,
but actually we could already.
We have this tent learning also under the patterns of
the King that the we have a the Kings distant
For the basic education as well,
and we distributed all. Satellite image to
our schools. Pieces that you talked about was about the
serious issues in education that you’re seeing in Thailand,
and you mentioned that it was an underdeveloped country.
I, you know one of one of my major concerns
that I’ve been focusing on is that it’s not just
in a bit about countries.
The issue of Education and what’s going on.
In fact, in the developed countries,
it’s almost invisible. People aren’t seeing that there are some
Issues some people are and parents are extremely concerned they’re
looking for alternatives and looking for ways to find other
places to go in Canada where I’m from are very
lucky in that the government has been able to pull
together a lot of diversity within the school systems,
so it doesn’t really necessarily.
It’s not necessarily affected by where you’re living,
it’s more about the resources of the parents and some
Other things like that, but I think there is a
much bigger issue happening globally in education.
I think it’s you’re seeing it more clearly in the
underdeveloped countries,
and you do have other issues as well and I
think it might be good for it just to hear
the very serious concerns you have in education in entire
land, particularly with the students who live in remote areas.
And there is what percentage of the population would
you say live in remote places by millions into the
schools are in remote 2 carries with this false yeah,
I mean that could be around that number.
I mean
2/3 of the student populations,
Ness. That’s huge right? Very huge.
So you know that that lower the.
Score on pizza study because.
The large amount of students are quite low and we
need to concentrate on this group of his student.
To me, I think that those pal input they can
have their own ways without.
I love encouragement, an opportunity from the government,
they can do anything they can and we can gear
them to the area that we need.
Also, with a kind of incentive for those students.
But for the list this group,
the mass group that we need to do this.
We share this with our regional countries before we setting
up the Senior Center.
I mean Summit Center. Yeah,
really have them to come in.
Talk together what the areas of the concern of the
issues they talk about.
Everything’s everyone agreed that the economy of the country needs
to be.
Go up high higher than what they have.
You know? And this is the one thing.
Increase the income of
the country which which countries were
involved with this. See me all countries.
I’m including high yes, so they have single board.
They have Brunei there, Malaysia,
they have CL, envy, Cambodia now.
Vietnam. Just two more, less didn’t come,
I think yeah, around the majority of them coming and
saying OK,
it would be nice that we talk about it.
Economy of the country because education is the foundation of
the economy,
right? So we feel that way and we talk about
the career of the mass of the student who may
not have more opportunity as the talent group.
That every country is fine to do some things with
their strategies to know we do ours,
they do theirs. What is so we end up with
that basic education is a mass.
That they need to meet the standards that we said.
Right is a kind of.
Universal standard as well. Regional countries or already have regional
particular stand up and they quite concerned with Pisa study
because it says that that education system.
The capacity of the young citizen is not so high
and we not compare with simple.
That’s the only country that they go very fast.
They can handle that. So we would like to look
at these so many talk about these.
OK, we my experience as the president of the Institute
for the promotion,
feeding science and technology. Tell it tell me that.
Not just a single subject that we supposed to.
Focus on the student, but also the integration.
The application of what they have learned in the school.
Supposed to be applied to that every life to the
new situation.
So we talking about. Skills of the student that we
need to to do.
Making Decisionism us problem solving is a mass critica
l thinking
or creativity.
Is that so? We’ve seen that the approach of integration,
the subject line stamp could do the world and having
them sharpen their skills.
Just starting from questioning, they got to wonder why.
How right and in up with whatever around him so
it would be meaningful,
more meaningful. So we have to do 2 tracks together
in a very weak schools.
I mean the capacity of a student.
We found that we need to encourage the single subject
as well.
As I mentioned reading or mathematics.
And then we can. Attract them with the activities like
saying that we’re trying to make them realize the application
of this kind of subjects could help them,
but we didn’t ignore other subject.
You know, they try to have many stem derivatives.
There was a steam with arts,
same without or with some others.
Even in Thailand they have sparse them because the seems
that the thing that.
It might. It’s good, I mean the values,
the character, or other things related to their society everything.
So they try to put it and ask teachers to
integrate everything every subject instead,
you know. So it’s crazy to me.
Actually, it already there. You know,
don’t have to spell out in doing some things we
need to get about that,
but to what degree is pen on the world that
we are important too?
On the project, that student would like to try to
solve all of these things like that,
but actually so we kind of encouraged teachers and school,
even our country on regional countries.
They feel the same way that we got to do
this together,
right? One of the things
that I found is that we can give teachers a
lot of really good resources.
You can tell this is the way to teach.
But we still seeing the same type of thing happening
in the classroom that there isn’t really a shift.
So to shift the thinking of the students,
the teachers have to have a shift in thinking and
I see this is one of the biggest challenges really
that we face period.
And so part of I guess what I what happened
to me once was I was speaking to a Minister
of Education for for one province and he said to
make endless reel in. This is an underdeveloped country,
right? And he said, what do you see is the
real problem here.
And be honest with me and I said,
Well, you’ve got a lot of good education for the
but the teachers reasoning hasn’t changed themselves.
And until the thinking of the teacher changes.
You’re not going to see them thinking of the students
so how do we get the thinking of the teachers
to change?
Is there a big question I have and I’m not
too sure you seem the same type of thing here?
Or is are the teachers changing quickly?
Are they making? Do you think they’re making that change?
Or do you think that that is an issue here
as well?
Well, we need to change teachers.
I agree with you. But above the teachers we need
That have visions and support them.
You Know, in school that I will say that.
School principle is a must,
you know. The supposed to be like a instructional leadership
is supposed to be that way.
So in trying I mean for the in service changes.
For example, trying to develop them and let them go
back to school.
They may do nothing. They may not change because they
don’t have any resources at they get from the training.
So the school principals support has to support them or
encourage group or community of teachers in.
That’s cool too held and this is part of their
job is not just general administration,
right. Procurement, recruitment of things.
So this is our
great problem because the we have done.
The project for school improvement.
Within that we cannot improve teachers solely.
We have to improve school as a unit of development.
You know, so we can reach out to instructional leadership.
After school principle, you know in Thailand Mikroskopie scooping,
so the director OK they’re supposed to be hit master,
right? Not director at all.
You know that’s interesting because I was teaching
some teachers once in his school as workshop and I
said and I know exactly what you’re talking about,
right? Because I saw the principle and I said We
missed you at the workshop and she looked at me
and said,
well why and I said,
well, I was. You know,
introducing some pedagogy and some interesting ideas that teachers are
really getting ahead,
she said. Oh well, I’m not a teacher and I
said yes,
but you’re a principle and you’re there to help support
your teachers in the classroom to make sure they know
what they’re doing.
She looks super surprised. Satellite to administration,
and I thought, yeah, there’s there’s the problem and you
just said it the same thing.
So how do you
get the proper support? We got this is one of
our mission of the Simuel Country.
Also you know and partnership with the private sector is
also helping us,
you know, try this and show them the evidence that
what works.
You know. I would like to mention about Keenan project.
Also on the school improvement we work together I PST
an Keenan.
In doing this project, but maybe different target group so
we can compare.
We can see but we get the same result and
seeing that OK we need to do not test teacher
themselves but we need to do some other things.
I mean talking about personnel as the director of schools.
This supervisors of the subject.
We need to have mentors or cold.
We need to use other approach.
Like professional learning communities PLC together with what teachers doing
in the classroom,
you know we have to look.
Beyond the school setting, we have to look at the
How the ministry accept the policies or assessment for classroom
size is important.
You know, if you’re not limited to 3040 or.
It could be exceed 250 or 60 and how details
can handle that,
you know, but uh, you know,
the pressed East won the popular screwed up to teach
the students go to University in the Department,
letting very popular among them,
You know. So it caused a lot of problems till
during school.
Parents got to airport all kind of these causes in
order that their students that I could go to the
right Department to the right.
University that is, it is not some other thing so.
We need to look at like classroom levels to the
school level and policy there.
Will I mean. Look beyond out of school and how
we can connect those.
I mean schools together and how we can connect with
some others like University to help you know.
Because faculty of Education supposed to have that the personnel
who can help teachers,
at least you know to supervise them to help train
Cause the airport after government themselves could not do anything
like that.
I mean of each unit they just a general and
OK try to have them struggle and.
Meet the policy, but actually in reality practices might be
right? So we found out and I think that the
school improvement model that we’re working on gonna be transfer
our experience to regional countries as well.
If you want to develop teacher dot,
just develop them. You have to develop out of US
Mail concerning with the education at the classroom or school
level as well.
That could be. Big. Yes,
of another part that I’ve seen is interested in using
the same is that I find often that we have
three different silos happening.
We’ve got the educators who got business and government and
they sort of do their part and they say Well
in the rest is up to everybody else and it’s
almost like. Education itself people will put in what they
feel they need to release and then they turn around
and it’s like now my job is done but in
fact’s education doesn’t finish even is not just about going
to school right?
It’s about after that. And and for
businesses to ensure
that they’re going to have the people of the future.
I really very strongly that businesses should be much more
in this, exactly because, you know,
just really the government budget could not.
No, everything’s for them. But partners with like non government
or private sector but they have to have some things
What we have done also to our teachers and students.
Just like that, we are all mentioned about the career
And that countries, I mean similar countries,
just think that we might have to encourage these in
Thailand we do three big areas for specifically for the
vocational school they have some kind of work integrated learning.
They send this to. The private sector.
Like a vehicle, factory OK or a kind of mechanism.
Things things like that or even higher education they got
to do things as well.
They have several Department dealing with
this kind. Location system right right?
Yeah, I
think the most important one is basic education because even
they are going to do in the vocational area.
They’ve got to finish compulsory education.
You know that means it great night from great night
they can go to occasional school from great.
Well they can go to University things like that.
So we have two strange and skills and they use.
Upsize and Matt and technology.
So that they can be a better workforce,
you know? So the IT at the higher education.
Sector there also produce a kind of professional,
quite high professional things. And follow kids know like a
mid level or beyond that.
But we have to. How to better quality fall.
That product as well and for this with the kind
of thing that they lose.
Many things. That involve IT industry with factories,
but actually with the service career service sector we badly
need when we look at the future that.
People like us going to be.
Taking group, you know in that group,
so more and more on demand from from many countries
that talking about health care or hillside.
We do have to. We need good caregiver,
not just train with this several hours and that’s it.
We need to certify this kind and we need to
help them have career at,
you know, once definition school,
Idol level, you know if they can just only compulsively,
they have to do this.
But there’s also a global concerning an advance keeping humanity
in there and how to restring for Humanity in a
Technology too, and I think that’s really a good point
in terms of the service industry.
You’re doing a lot and you have done a lot
and you still have a huge mission that you’re still
working on.
Can you? Just I? I think it would be very
interesting to hear about your story.
Where did you come from to be able to get
to this and to be able to have such an
influence in Thailand,
right? What were you like as a child?
What I like has a shy.
Actually I would like to be a T shirt with
long qualification.
You know, in many areas that they could have the
It my old is my teacher you know they’ve got
everything’s quite align along line like A.
Diploma in education. Special Master Doctor Lowe.
Things like this, you know,
if you write down there is quite long and we
think that we have autonomy to change our young generation.
That that is mine. My impression on this career?
And I would like to tell you that I finished
a better degree in science in Vercetti.
So I think that. With at that time you know.
If you are woman. An urn better degree in science.
There very limited. Happy for the career except you can
be a teacher.
You cannot go to the factory like mandals you know
My parents, my father. He’s quietly inspired to me.
He said that why don’t you go ahead too?
Master degree. To gain an education degrees or you can
do whatever you like.
So I pursue my study at 11 gone in the
secondary education.
Yeah, so once I fill it in.
Yeah, and a half so I work with my PST.
Yeah, I think there are Microvision match exactly with the
mission of I PS team signs,
background, education background. So I work with them until 4
five year.
I think that the well changes a lot and I
have to do something small,
not just use the same no legs or experience that
they have from schools from University.
So I asked for study leave.
Call United State, and at that time computing science is
kind of all you know,
starting to change our line.
So I go into this area.
Computing scientists still teaching, not real from your side.
I have to compete with the young,
you know, freshman. So far more thing,
but they are bright and I’m only 30 something at
that time,
you know. But it’s OK for me.
Once we come back, I.
Stop working on Computer literacy curriculum for the country.
Yes, so we deal at that time size and technology.
So this is quite a foundation and we work with
teachers or across the chain trying to develop teachers and
we feel that if teacher in service teacher could do
this but not just. Once a year or two times
a year is not that.
Yeah. But do we have to develop continuously depend on
Might not the formal training,
but it could be accessed through anything that they have,
you know, is depend on teachers being the school principal.
As we say the drive to the halfway inspired him
and also there some kind of other incentive that the
government could offer as well,
right? So this is my story so I get acquainted
with the teaching and Learning Science and mathematics.
I see all the problems and I introduce say,
medication for five years, but before that time you know
we deal with special subject right the talent inside times
mad 10 technology.
So we feel that we have to blend these together.
I mean in the teachers themselves you know we there’s
quite a question that teacher supposed to get pentecote skills
or knowledge.
I would say that 5050.
I would say it’s not just the knowledge,
but it’s supposed to be how to deliver that knowledge
in the quite you know,
correct conception, not dismiss them,
right, we only had an rocket.
Scientists try to teach for us and it didn’t work.
It is to be so,
so you
need to have a balance.
Yes, right? So for years I deal with many groups
who are in the educational area.
So once the formal ministrator Minister proposed to establish these,
so I think that my past experience we contributed to
not just the Thailand but also to regional countries as
well and is more flexible than I was.
You know, as the president of I PS here,
but I have to follow the ministry.
There’s a lot of things that I can do this,
but I can’t do that even I would like to
you know. But but is we have a kind of
I mean autonomy to workout with our frames of countries
in the regions that we have to foster them,
we have to collaborate with them,
not just complete with them.
You know, this is very interesting and very important also.
Many center like Rexam in Malaysia,
Keytip Science and math in orange here in North Tech
in Philippines,
I need to make a crossbred with them.
You know, so that we can.
Join the airport and you know do something speaker in
that I’ve noticed with you
is that you had a belief in yourself.
You didn’t question whether you could do something,
you saw something that was needed.
Any wait for it. You also put the
leaf and people and you
have a belated very strong belief that teachers are able
to do very important.
Yes, and the other thing I’ve noticed with you is
I think it has come back a couple of times.
Is the ability for you to do what you feel
is needed and that you’re not restrained that there are
options that there are.
There are ways to solve this and to get it
you just need to have that flexibility in that ability
to ta
ke some autonomy and and work with it.
As as fascinating talking with it really,
it really enjoy enjoy this and I is there anything
else you’d like to add on just at the end
I think even as a child you must have been
really focused on what she wanted driven and I just
wanted that story of you as a person.
That’s how you do it.
Went to where you are.
Life is never a straight path.
This is an we think we’re going one way and
then I’ll pick up.
So it’s it’s always interesting to hear how you got
I do believe though, it’s your belief in yourself in
the belief in others that is really at the heart
of your your mission.
They say that someone needs to be believed in first
and then will start believing in themselves and tiling.
I think is very lucky because you believe in the
people in Thailand and in that belief is very strong.
So is being a real.
Privilege talking to you and being here to hear this.
I think you are the most with my
Thank you. Was a great interview.
Uhm, I actually the biggest piece for myself was uhm.
You and her talking about.
I guess the attractiveness of the teaching profession or as
I would call it.
Almost, you know the sexiness of teaching here in Western.
We it. It’s sort of.
It’s decreased quite a bit and she’s saying that it’s
it’s happening all over the world.
And so I know myself is how can we make
education industry being a teacher more attractive?
I think that’s a movement that we need to move
towards as well,
again because who’s educating the future leaders is very important.
What was your biggest takeaway?
Well, I I feel very strongly that there is an
Countries who are struggling there looking for innovators to teach
their kids so that the kids can become an innovator’s.
For me, it’s it’s really understanding the necessity and the
real desire to bring up a nation.
And it’s not just the government.
In fact, it has to be the everyday person who
is saying we can do this all together.
And we need many more people like like this example
to just take it in your own hands and to
do what is needed an you can change a whole
nation. It’s this whole idea of creative thinking of innovation
is and have also technology and getting technology into the
hands and understanding for people is very real in many
countries. Now there are developing country in many other.
None like underdeveloped countries or those who are developing and
really trying struggling to get ahead.
It’s important that we understand what their struggles are and
she’s I think she was really able to articulate that
nicely in the education field.
Yes Nathan, it is amazing for the teaching profession.
Unfortunately, worldwide I’m listening to a lot of people saying
that teaching is not sort of the sexy place to
be it some.
Not profession unfortunately is not has not attracted many of
the top people in our world and it’s time that
we say hey,
it is exciting. There’s a lot happening in education and
like there’s a lot happening in education and kids are
exciting themselves.
Go and listen to them because they’ve got exciting ideas
and maybe if more people actually started listening to two
young children and also youth our youth.
Get into those schools, find out what’s going on.
You’ll find out that there’s a lot of incredible ideas,
and that’s where our next ideas are going to all
come from,
so we can like. Education is actually the place to
All industry leaders should be in here.
They should be looking for the innovators.
They should be trying to encourage the innovators and being
part of this partnership to go forward in this world.
That’s really the secret for our world for the future.
And that’s how education is going to change.
And it starts with innovators like her.
She’s an innovator of a type.
And once we can get more and more people to
believe that they can actually make changes like this,
then I think we’re going to see the education is
going to be a lot more exciting.
And it’s going to be shifting and it’s going to
be actual like industry has to be now going forward,
so I hope you all really enjoyed listening to her.
She takes. She gives you a different perspective for what’s
happening in this world and how she how she was
able to.
I guess go forward an and make changes herself.
I think it’s important for everyone to understand how people
are doing in a different parts of the world so
that we can also take some of some of what
she said and apply it to ourselves.
Hope you enjoyed that to everybody out there and Nathan
on any other final comments.
I think just very quickly.
It’s very obvious now during Covid who who the people
are that are able to critically think,
problem, solve and be agile because those are the.
People that are some are able to keep afloat essentially,
so I would like to say thank you to everyone
that was able to join today’s podcast and stay tuned
for next week’s next Wednesday at 8:00 PM eastern Standard
Time and will be pumped them out every week.
And please give us more comments engaged with us because
the more that you engage with us,
the better will be able to produce our content that’s
relevant for
Thank you. OK, thanks, thanks everybody.
See you.

Lessons from Thailand with Dr. Pornpun Waitayangkoon
Spirit of Math Podcasts
Lessons from Thailand with Dr. Pornpun Waitayangkoon

~End of Transcript.

Spirit of Math Podcasts
Episode #4