Type of Thai Higher Education Institutions
Universities in Thailand that had been established in the initial period were public universities, holding a status of a department, and were allocated annual budget for their operation. Personnel, financing and general administration of the universities have to entirely comply with the bureaucratic system. Apart from receiving budget from the government, a university president receives privileges equivalent to those of a director general who is the top executive at the departmental level.
Public autonomous universities
Public autonomous universities have their own administrative structure and budgeting system for self-governance and full autonomy, allowing decision making on administrative and management matters of the university to be handled by the university itself. Autonomous universities also receive regular budget allocation from the government in the form of block grants. The university employees are entitled to receive privileges no less than government officers are entitled to.
Rajabhat Universities (public)
Rajabhat Universities were upgraded from Rajabhat Institutes to university status in June 2004. Rajabhat Universities are degree granting institutions that focus on community development. Their missions are to promote and enhance academic and higher vocational teaching and learning, undertake research, produce and promote teachers’ qualifications and standards, and provide other academic and learning services for their communities. Since Rajabhat Universities were developed from teacher colleges, each of them has a strong history of offering bachelor’s degree programmes in teacher education.
Rajamangala Universities of Technology (public)
Rajamangala Universities of Technology were upgraded to university status and were previously Rajamangala Institutes of Technology. The Rajamangala Institutes of Technology were first established under the name of ‘Institutes of Technology and Vocational Education’ in 1975 by a combination of different vocational colleges. The former 40 campuses of Rajamangala Institute of Technology have been merged into 9 Rajamangala Universities of Technology emphasizing the development of graduates in science and technology.
The establishment of private universities needs to comply with the Private Higher Education Act. A private higher education institution has the right and authority to provide higher education equivalent to the public universities. Each private institution has its own council which is the administrative body responsible for the general functioning of the institution as well as organizing its internal administrative structure. Private universities are not entitled to receive budget allocation from the government. Thus, support for institutional operation comes from their own revenue. However, Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC) has provided private universities with revolving fund allowing them to borrow with low interest rate for the purpose of educational development.