Thai PM proposes campus switch to diffuse student conflict at Rajamangala University

Photo courtesy of Propso

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin yesterday suggested that the relocation of Rajamangala University of Technology’s Uthenthawai Campus (Uthen) from its current location in Bangkok’s Pathumwan district could be the key to resolving its longstanding rivalry with Pathumwan Institute of Technology students.

The 61 year old Thai prime minister emphasised that a change of location and a shift in student mindset are crucial for diffusing the traditional animosity between the two university populations. He pointed out that much of the conflict stems from ingrained and misguided traditions at both institutions.

Earlier, Chuan Leakpai, a list MP from the Democrat Party, expressed reservations about the government’s directive for Uthen to cease the enrolment of new students for the academic year 2024. This decision was intended to curb the longstanding dispute with the Pathumwan Institute of Technology.

“This directive will restrict academic opportunities for at least 600 potential students who aspire to study at Uthen.”

Contrarily, Supamas Isarabhakdi, the Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, argued that there was a misunderstanding with the directive. She clarified that the ministry is allowing new students to enrol at Uthen on the condition that they will study at a temporary site during the process of relocation.

The University Council of Uthen is currently reviewing the order and a final decision is expected to be reached tomorrow.

The relocation of Uthen was proposed following an Administrative Court ruling in December, which requested the school to move from its 68 year old campus, due to the expiration of its land lease with Chulalongkorn University in 2003, reported Bangkok Post.

Supamas further added that the ministry is in discussion with Chulalongkorn University, the Budget Bureau, the Office of the Attorney General and the Treasury Department regarding the relocation and necessary financial support.

As for the new location, the ministry is contemplating a property owned by the Treasury Department in Samut Prakan province and donated land in Bangkok’s Min Buri district. An alternative proposal is to merge Uthen with either the Bang Phra campus in Chon Buri or the Chakrabongse Bhuvanarth Campus in Din Daeng district.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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