The Korea Herald


Thailand’s Nation Group enters education by opening university

By 김경호

Published : Feb. 24, 2011 - 19:21

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Nation Multimedia Group is set to move into the local education market in a joint venture with South-East Asia University. “Nation University” is a 250 million baht joint venture. The group has already signed a 175 million baht ($5.7 million) takeover deal with Siritaj Rojanapruk, owner and license holder of Lampang’s Yonok University. Under the deal, Nation University will own and operate the university, which has a 164-rai campus and 14,000-square meter building.

The new institute, to be called Nation University (North Campus), is currently accepting applications. NMG chairman Thanachai Theerapattanawong said the new university would provide courses in the fields of mass communications, business administration, liberal arts (in English and Chinese) and health science. The campus aims to produce 1,300 graduates in the next four years and up to 1,800 in a decade.

In addition to the campus in Lampang, Nation University will also set up a Bangkok campus, at the i-Tower on Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road. This campus will offer courses in mass communications, business administration, as well as master’s degrees. It aims to produce 1,000 graduates in four years and up to 2,000 in a decade. Siritaj said: “I believe that NMG has strong potential, especially in terms of its network and skills in the media field.” Thanachai, meanwhile, explained that the group’s entry into the education field was in line with NMG’s mission statement ― “to inform, to educate and entertain.”

He said the new joint venture had 50 million baht in registered capital, 25 percent of which has been paid up. NMG owns a 55 percent stake in the joint venture, while the remaining 45 percent is held by Sermsin Samalapa and the South-East Asia University. SEA University has been in operation for 30 years and currently has more than 7,000 students.

“Education has played a significant role in the economic, social and political development of Thailand. We (NMG) want to create a medium-sized, but top-quality university in the country so we will be able to transfer specialized knowledge and skills in the field of mass communication, especially in terms of new digital and social media, as well as business administration,” Thanachai said.

Nation University also expected to open new campuses in the South and Northeast in the next five years, he said. Print media currently contributed 80 percent of NMG’s revenue, he said, but in the next three years it expected this new business to increase from less than 5 percent to about 30 percent.

NMG expected sales revenue to rise by 15 percent this year. The company earned more than Bt3 billion in total revenue and over 300 million baht in profit last year.

Suthichai Yoon, the group’s editor-in-chief, said NMG had joined up with many local universities to help lift the standard of education in mass communications and business administration. The move aims to educate a new generation to become leaders in society. The youngsters will be taught to not just follow textbooks, but come up with out-of-the-box ideas, he said.

“Driven by the new digital media technology, mass communications will play a bigger role in Thai society. Firms will go from being just media organizations to knowledge organizations that are set to provide valuable knowledge to the public,” he said.

By Kwanchai Rungfapaisarn

This article is shared among members of the Asia News Network, joined by The Korea Herald. ― Ed.

(The Nation)