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A top university in China has chosen Thailand to host its training centre for experts in high-speed railway development in Southeast Asia.
Central South University (CSU), a leading university for railway science and education, yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok (KMUTNB) to set up its railway training institute in Thailand with the aim of preparing skilled workers for Thailand's upcoming high-speed railway systems.
According to CSU's vice rector, Chen Chunyang, the institute will act as CSU's training centre for railway experts in Southeast Asia and also provide training for railway specialists from all 10 Asean member countries.
"Thailand is the country in the region we chose to establish our training institute despite other countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Pakistan having also contacted us. This is because we see Thailand as a regional transport hub due to its central and easily accessible location," Mr Chen said.
Mr Chen said Thailand's infrastructure development will need a lot of manpower in various industries, especially in highspeed rail. He said Thailand remains short of workers in this field, and hoped this collaboration would yield good results.
KMUTNB rector Suchart Siengchin said the institute has set up an initial target to admit the first batch of about 200 students from Asean countries by August next year. However KMUTNB and CSU will have to set up a committee to discuss details of how many students the institute should accept per year in the long run, how many courses it should provide and what the budget should be, he added.
"We cannot give many details now, however I think we will be able to take in around 200 students during the first year. The number of students might be quite low compared to the skilled labour demand the railways require, but the number will expand gradually," he said.
Mr Suchart said that in its first academic year, the institute is expected to offer only Bachelor's degrees or four-year programmes where students will spend two years studying at KMUTNB in Thailand and two years at CSU in China.
A Master's programme in Railway Engineering and Railway Science and several short training courses related to rail operations and maintenance will be added later.
This article first appeared on www.bangkokpost.com
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