Thai school of gifted high school students gets a taste of New Zealand’s STEM education offering


A group of gifted high school students in Thailand were given a taste of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) specialty at the University of Otago as part of a recent webinar series to promote New Zealand’s education offering.
The Princess Chulabhorn Science High School (PCSCS) network consists of 12 schools across four regions of Thailand which only accept gifted students from year 7 to 12, where all students receive full scholarships from the government.
The schools, which specialise in science and mathematics subjects, have a long-established relationship with University of Otago through the English language development programmes the university provides for their teachers and students.
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 offering.

From November 19 to December 3, students from across the PCSHS network attended five webinars held by academics from the University of Otago on topics including: Facial Recognition using OpenCV, Augmented Reality, and Programming with Arduino boards.

The webinar Hot topics in sport & exercise science by Professor Jim Cotter was also attended by Thailand’s Deputy Minister of Education.
Education New Zealand International Director Lisa Futscheck said the Thai partnership with the University of Otago helps to 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, which are an increasingly popular area of study globally.
“The students showed a particular interest in the webinars Computer Vision: How Computers ‘see’ and Augmented Reality and it was encouraging to see them engage during the Q&A sessions and come up with so many interesting questions.”
Thailand’s Office of the Basic Education Commission along with the school’s board are now looking at ways to support and encourage students to pursue further tertiary education opportunities in New Zealand.
In 2020, Education New Zealand also provided scholarships worth NZ$18,000 to six PCSHS students to study in a 4-week IELT (International English Language Testing System) preparation programme at University of Otago Language Centre to help prepare them to further study in New Zealand, which will recommence pending travel restrictions.

About Princess Chulabhorn Science High Schools (PCSHS):

  • The school network is governed and supervised by the Excellence in Science Education Bureau (ESEB) under the Thai Ministry of Education which provides funding to support the management and operations of the schools.
  • Each campus has a total of 720 students.
  • ENZ has been engaging with PCHS since 2016 through a relationship brokered by Knowledge Plus, an ENZRA agent.

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