Active citizenship starts at school

Vincent Quah, AWS APJ Regional Head for Education, Research,Healthcare,Not for profit organisation
Vincent Quah, AWS APJ Regional Head for Education, Research,Healthcare,Not for profit organisation

The new ‘Bangkok Problem Solving Plan’ mobile application proposed by Suankularb School encourages Bangkokians to report any problems involving public infrastructure, accidents or crimes simply by using their smartphones.  Tools using cloud-related technology such as machine learning, big data, and AI will then process the incidents, passing them directly to the units responsible for solving the problems with the action taken, progress and reporting disseminated by the relevant units to the public as well through a specific Member of Parliament’s area of services. Bangkokians who  make the reports will receive citizen point rewards in return. The major benefits from this project include a shortened reporting system with proactive actions and solutions, collation of data and data analytics for long-term problem solving, and public participation and awareness of the responsibilities of the relevant government units.

“G Boat - autonomous & renewable electric boat” proposed by Sripatum University demonstrates how the Chao Phraya can be cleared of waste by using boats powered by solar cells. The idea was conceived after findings showed the water quality index had deteriorated to WQI 57, which translates as Marginal: (WQI Value 45-64). This means that water quality is frequently impaired and conditions often depart from desirable levels.  Green energy using solar panels and auto charging with mechanical energy, along with battery swaps from solar energy and propeller to battery power will be applied.  The adoption of technologies such as face recognition to start the engine allows for verification and security and a GPS tracking system through a mobile application gives departure and arrivals times.


Both of the above are examples of learning-by-doing under the ‘Active Citizenship’ project : Tech Workshop – Active Youth Collaboration for innovative Bangkok, initiated by the members of Parliament who are heading the committee in charge of political development, public communication, and public community participation. The objective is to encourage young people attending high school and universities to take part in and be members of a culture of collaboration and creativity through technological workshops and pilot case studies of social problems and their solutions in the Bangkok area, according to Thanikan Pornpongsaroj, an MP and chairman of the Committee. The government also supports this campaign and is looking for sponsors to provide additional technical and financial support to help the youngsters from the conception of the  prototype to its completion. This will be achieved through ongoing fund raising, with the most feasible projects determined by various professionals and popular online vote. The government will also support students to participate and compete in global active citizenship.


Vincent Quah, Amazon Web Services’ regional head for education, research, healthcare and non-profit organizations, APAC Public Sector told that the AWS Educate program aims to inspire Thai youth to make contributions to the future of Thailand by offering technological tools such as cloud solutions and other services.   The program is a part of Amazon group’s global initiative to provide an academic gateway for students and educators while also opening the door to the next generation of IT and cloud professionals.  In terms of the public sector, AWS is well-recognised and used by more than 6,500 government agencies, 11,000-plus academic institutions and over 29,000 nonprofit organizations around the world.  In Thailand, King Mongkut Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, Rangsit University, Kasetsart University, Thammasat University are members of AWS Educate while other select international institutions include Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell Tech, Seoul National University and the National College of Ireland.  They provide tech training centers on cloud infrastructure by granting free online cloud services at a certain level, sharing open-source contents with teachers and educators for building up skills and knowledge, upskill those digital talents who want to pursue IT specialist careers and students receiving credits for hands-on experience with AWS technology, training, content and career pathways.


Holistic education, says Quah, focuses on preparing students to meet any challenges they may face in life and in their academic career.   Learning about oneself, developing healthy relationships and positive social behaviours, social and emotional development, resilience, and the ability to view beauty, experience transcendence, and truth are key elements in holistic education. Accessibility to learning starts with content then expands through coaching and support on a proactive and regular basis. 


Another global program called AWS EdStart is designed  to  help  education technology (EdTech) startups build teaching and learning solutions on the AWS Cloud.   The program helps EdTech startups move faster in building innovative solutions to solve education-related needs such as building the next generation of online learning, analytics, and campus management solutions. It provides resources for EdTech startups to quickly gain momentum using cloud technologies, by providing AWS promotional credits, community engagements, customized training, marketing opportunities, mentorship, and technical support.


AWS EdStart has helped Thai customers create a meaningful impact in education.  Established by a group of tutors and software developers, OpenDurian has a vision to make content for examination preparation available online, and easily accessible for students as well as for continuous learning nationwide. Previously students had to attend these examination preparation courses in person, and some of these courses are costly. OpenDurian develops online courses on subjects that are highly demanded by students and working adults such as English language test, General Aptitude Test (GAT), Doctor Aptitude Test, biology and mathematics at an affordable price.  This program has enabled OpenDurian to build a learning and test preparation platform to reach three million users across Thailand.

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