ผมชอบฟัง (อ่าน) ข้อถกเถียงในเรื่องต่างๆ     เพราะทำให้ผมได้แง่มุมวิธีคิดหรือข้อมูลสารสนเทศ หรือวิธีตีความสารสนเทศ หลากหลายมุม     เป็นเครื่องประเทืองปัญญา   

        ผมเคยเอาเรื่อง World University Ranking และข้อคิดเห็นของ ผอ. พรทิพย์ แห่ง Fullbright มาลงไว้     ต่อมาก็ได้รับ อี-เมล์ จาก ผอ. พรทิพย์     แจ้งข้อถกเถียงจากอาจารย์เคี้ยธ แห่ง ม. แม่ฟ้าหลวง ดังนี้   

Dear All,
         I couldn't let you guys go even when it's a Friday na ka.
         Well! Ajarn Keith just sent me his comments and I think it's great to share with you ka.
         Enjoy reading before enjoying your weekend na ka. Porntip

Dear Khun Porntip,
        Oh dear! Why do you send us such interesting articles and distract me from my main- line activities? But you have touched on an issue that is close to my heart and respond I must.
        Your latest ‘message’ on world university rankings is very relevant to the future directions of university development in Thailand; that is the cause of my interest.
        A point of clarification first, then a polite challenge, and then a comment, if I may?
        The World Rankings list the top 200 universities, using transparent criteria, for which peer review (40%) and output (20%) are the two most important. Not only is this fair, but it is widely accepted in many countries of the world. It is true that 11 out of the top 20 universities are American but as an ‘international Englishman’ I must point out that 2 (Cambridge and Oxford) out of the top 3 world universities are located in that small island in Western Europe.
         There is no doubting the fact that American education has now become an important model for the university systems of many other countries but there are other systems, particularly the English system, which have produced and continue to produce many world-class universities. The best of the American Universities are up with the best in the world, no doubt, but there is a long tail where quality leaves much to be desired.
        I have had the privilege of working in three world-class universities in three separate countries and I recognize the strengths and weaknesses in both the American and the English systems. I am trying to share my positive experiences with these systems in my present position here at Mae Fah Luang University  and in Thailand in general.
        What do the world university rankings mean to our Thai higher educational system?  I have a personal view on this, based on working in overseas universities for more than 30 years, which I would like to share with your group.
        I have to confess to becoming concerned when I hear of even modest Thai Universities talking about becoming world class. I suggest that this is just a dream and we must become more realistic in terms of what we can reasonably expect to achieve. Of course we should and can improve by aiming for quality output in our teaching and research; that is a very worthwhile objective but let us also temper our often excessive optimism with reality. Perhaps it is unrealistic to expect that a lesser-developed country, such as ours, should have several world-class universities, as defined.
        In my book it is better for a university to aim to be the best that it can be to serve the needs of the country. Achieving international recognition should remain as an objective but let us be realistic in terms of what we can achieve. If Thailand could have even three universities in the world university rankings by say 2015, that would be a major achievement.
        Your group (and of course your good self) may be interested to know that I am currently planning an article on the ‘World University Rankings and Implications for Thailand,’ or some such title. I would welcome any comments from our group.
        Please keep up the good work Khun Portntip. We need your stimulation.
With best regards
Keith    

        ผมเห็นด้วยกับ อ. เคียธ ว่าเป้าหมายของมหาวิทยาลัยไทยที่ว่าจะเป็น world class นั้น     เป้าหมายที่ ๑ ควรอยู่ที่การทำหน้าที่รับใช้สังคมไทย     ส่วนการได้เข้าไปอยู่ใน Top 200 World Universities ควรเป็นเป้าหมายรอง หรือเป้าหมายพลอยได้     นั่นหมายความว่าเราทำหน้าที่มหาวิทยาลัยรับใช้สังคมไทยด้วยมาตรฐานคุณภาพระดับโลก

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