In the 1960s, the Thai government undertook its first steps towards industrialization as part of a policy of import substitution. The national economy would no longer rely solely on agriculture. However, lack of machinery and tools, together with a shortage of mechanics, skilled workers, and engineers, posed great challenges.
At that time, the Federal Republic of Germany already had a great deal of experience with its socalled dual vocational training system and had decided to share it by establishing model institutions around the world.
Dual vocational education in Germany Students usually spend about 1-2 days a week in theoretical classes. For the rest of the week, they practice their skills in compa¬nies. They are supervised by very experienced and highly qualified professionals.
As the first milestone of TGTC in Thailand, West Germany helped found the Thai-German Technical School in Bangkok in 1959. Later it became the King Mongkut Institute of Technology (KMIT), now the King Mongkut’s University of Technology, North Bangkok (KMUTNB).
Additional schools, such as the Thai-German Technical Institute in Khon Kaen and the Thai-German Agricultural Engineering Training Center in Patumthani, came along in the following years. These schools produced machine mechanics, electricians, industrial plumbers, agricultural engineers, etc. These schools did not follow the German model exactly. Instead, students were trained in school workshops equipped with works were commissioned by industry.
I am pleased to have this opportunity to write a few lines for your school magazine, especially since I know that you have set this maga¬zine up on your own initiative. Your German teachers, including me, have been in Thailand for several months now, and we realize what our future tasks will be like. I am grateful to the German Government for providing excel¬lent machinery and German teaching staff to give you the opportunity to attain good vocational training. [. . .]
If, today, you are impressed by such German products as machine tools or a Mercedes Benz car, you should keep in mind that all these technical achievements have been designed by men who, as apprentices, once filed the U-iron just as you are now.