Uni webinar series showcases offerings to Thai pupils

Thailand’s deputy Minister of Education, Dr Kalaya Sophonpanich, and pupils from the Princess...
Thailand’s deputy Minister of Education, Dr Kalaya Sophonpanich, and pupils from the Princess Chulabhorn Science High School (PCSCS) network watch a webinar on sport and exercise science by the University of Otago’s Prof Jim Cotter. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
High-performing Thai secondary school pupils have been given a taste of New Zealand’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) specialties during a recent University of Otago webinar series.

The Princess Chulabhorn Science High School (PCSHS) network consists of 12 schools across four regions of Thailand which only accept gifted pupils from years 7-12, all pupils receiving full scholarships from the Thai government.

The schools, which specialise in science and mathematics subjects, have a long-established relationship with the University of Otago through the English language development programmes the university provides for their teachers and pupils.

Building on the success of these programmes, Education New Zealand - the government agency helping New Zealand realise the social, cultural and economic benefits of international education - partnered with the University of Otago to organise a webinar series based on STEM subjects that showcase New Zealand’s tertiary offerings.

Pupils from across the PCSHS network attended five webinars held by academics from the university on topics such as facial recog-nition using OpenCV, augmented reality and programming with Arduino boards.

The webinar on sport and exercise science by Prof Jim Cotter was also attended by Thailand’s deputy Minister of Education, Dr Kalaya Sophonpanich.

Education New Zealand international director Lisa Futscheck said the Thai partnership with the university helped expose emerging international talent to New Zealand’s education system.

"The University of Otago has a long-standing partnership with the Princess Chulabhorn Science High School network and this webinar series was an innovative way to deliver international high-value education remotely for younger students that could study in New Zealand at tertiary level in the future.

"The webinars were a great way for their academics to showcase the variety of interesting education pathways the university has available in the STEM fields ..."

Thailand’s Office of the Basic Education Commission, along with the school’s board, are now looking at ways to support and encourage pupils to pursue further tertiary education opportunities in New Zealand.

Last year, Education NZ provided $18,000 scholarships to six PCSHS pupils to study in a four-week International English Language Testing System preparation programme at the university’s Language Centre, to help prepare them for further study in New Zealand.






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