Ministry will send digital trainers to villages


The Digital Economy and Society Ministry is planning to send over 1,000 internet savvy instructors to serve as digital trainers to people in over 24,000 small and rural villages so that they can take advantage of the nationwide broadband system being installed by the government to support the transformation of the economy and society under Thailand 4.0, the 20-year national strategy.

In 2016, out of a population of roughly 69 million people, Thailand had 43.8 million internet users, up from 27.6 million users just two years earlier. Last year, the government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha began its $450 million program of providing broadband access to every village in the Kingdom, and all villages are expected to be connected by the end of this year.

The broadband program is part of the government’s massive infrastructure upgrade and Thailand 4.0, which has sometimes been called “Digital Thailand” because of its emphasis on advanced and digital technologies and innovations.

The government hopes that by increasing digital literacy among more Thais, and especially villagers and rural people, that they will use the internet for learning and also begin engaging in e-commerce. That, in turn, could help lift local economies and boost national economic growth.

Both the Digital Economy and SocietyMinistry and the Ministries of Education and the Interior will recruit the trainers from the ranks of teachers at non-formal schools, academic institutions and staff from the TOT (Telephone Organization of Thailand) Academy.

The plan is to use a cascading training approach in which villages select an appropriate person to take the training course and then that person trains others in his or her village. Training courses will be continually updated to include knowledge about new cyber development and technologies.

“Existing community centers and 2,280 digital community centers nationwide will be used to conduct educational programs and activities,” said Ajarin Pattanapanchai, the newly appointed permanent secretary at the Digital Economy and Society Ministry.

About 85 percent of Thais access the internet through smart phones, although users generally prefer to surf online with a desktop computer during working or school hours. Because of the limited broadband infrastructure, 29.3 percent of internet users in Thailand were in Bangkok in 2016.

According to the Electronic Transactions Development Agency, a public organization, Thais spend an average of 45 hours per week surfing the internet, or an average of 6.4 hours every day.