University students may see time limit to complete higher education removed

University students in Thailand may be catching a break from needing to follow a timeline for completing their higher education. The Commission on Higher Education Standards has recently announced it is resolving to remove a requirement that university students must complete their schooling within a given time period or risk being expelled.

The issue was discussed at a meeting earlier this month, with a decision being made to more closely follow the minister of higher education, science, research, and innovation, Anek Laothamatas,’ lifelong learning policy.

“Now students who work and study at the same will not have to fret about losing their place if they exceed the allotted study period.”

Anek attributes the upcoming removal of the timeline to the benefits that students receive when working while studying. He says it enhances students’ work and life skills, giving them valuable work experience before they graduate. Thus, to allow the students to continue working while studying, the timeline and due date for completing university is set to be removed.

As most Thai universities give undergraduates up to 8 years to complete their studies, graduate and doctoral students had 5 and 6 years to complete their studies respectively. One professor says the cancelled time limit will, indeed, apply to all 3 levels of higher education students.

The proposed time limit removal would not only be applied to state-run Thai universities. Private owned universities will also have to adjust their regulations in line with the new mandate that places emphasis on lifelong learning. The ministry hopes that this change in time limits will contribute to its goals of Thai universities ranking among the world’s top 100 within the next 10 years.

But, research surrounding average time lengths of completed studies has indicated that increasing time limits may not be a bullet proof solution to retaining students. As many studies worldwide have shown, the longer a student takes to complete their higher education studies, the less of a chance they have in actually graduating.

Currently, Thailand has only 1 university that is ranked near the top 100 in Asia. In 2020, The Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings listed Mahidol University as the best university in Thailand. In Asia, however, Mahidol has missed being ranked in the top 100, coming in at #122 out of 500 universities from 30 Asian countries. Professor Banjong Mahaisawiriya, acting president of Mahidol University, says the ranking was based on several criteria that ranged from efficiency in teaching, researching and readiness at regional and international levels.

“They used 5 key performance indicators as follows: Teaching 25%, research 30%, research citations 30%, international outlook 7.5% and industry income 7.5%.”

According to, Thailand’s top 3 universities are Mahidol University, Chulalongkorn University, and Chiang Mai University respectively.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.