There a few things I thought I'd discuss this month. Moving right along...
I know a few foreign teachers who never finished their Bachelor Degree and they are a little stressed out about that fact, vis-à-vis the (not so) new teacher licensing regulations from The Teachers Council of Thailand. In an effort to help them, I compiled the following list of several websites that refer the surfer to various online and/or distance learning college/university programs. As the regulations currently stand, if you're "making a good faith effort to try to get qualified", The TCT will continue to give you a one or two year waiver. As we all know, T.I.T., so that could change by lunchtime tomorrow. However, as of right now, it's still correct. I thought I'd share the list with you and if any of you would like to add to the list, let me know and I'll add your info and repost it at a later date. Thanks in advance.
I apologize for the fact that there are not many online/distance colleges/universities from Great Britain, Canada, Australia or New Zealand listed. It was not intentional. When I typed "online college degrees + _________" with those nations, almost nothing came up! If there are any readers out there who can furnish me with the links to any online/distance colleges/unis in those countries, I would be very grateful!
Bachelor Degrees Online/Distance Learning (Referral Sites):
This is the site for The University of Leicester (England) and its' Distance Learning Masters Degrees in Applied Linguistics, Educational Leadership or International Education. Why am I putting this link into an article to help people who never finished their Bachelor Degree? Because Leicester has the right, like any other British University, to accept students into their Masters level programs who never finished their Bachelors, as long as they judge that you have enough teaching experience to equate with what you would have learned in the last two (major focused) years of an Education bachelor degree. Why just get a Bachelors when you can spend 2 to 3 years and graduate with a Masters from a university that is accredited by The British MOE? It costs around 300,000 Baht, but WHAT a deal! I already checked with both The British Embassy and The British Council and the both assured me that it is legit. You will have to type a rather lengthy essay, explaining to them why you think they should admit you to the program. Obviously, if you have several years of teaching experience, this will help you sell yourself. You'll also need a few references, the more impressive the better and you will have to show them your transcripts from any college level courses you DID take. They may accept you or may not. A great program all around.
One of the oldest (if not THE oldest) university level distance learning programs in the English speaking world. Fantastic variety of degrees offered from Bachelor all the way up to Doctorate level. A good friend of mine is currently finishing his Bachelor Degree with them, while teaching full time, and he raves about the program.
Thomas Edison State College, New Jersey, USA. Another good friend just finished his Bachelor Degree with them. He also had no complaints.
St. Theresa International College is a 4 year college with campuses in Rangsit and Suriwong Road, Bangkok. It offers Bachelors in Business English or Marketing, on the weekends, for working adults and its' curriculums are approved by CHET (The Council for Higher Education in Thailand). I know because I walked down the path from my office, to CHET, and checked. They also offer the Graduate Diploma in Teaching, for those of you who already possess a Bachelor Degree, and it only takes 9 months to finish. Good choice for people who want a Bachelor Degree that can be accepted worldwide, but pay local prices.
If you want to know if an academic institution is legitimate or not, you can go to the websites below for America or The U.K.. I was unable to find their equivalents in Australia, Canada or New Zealand. For many Canadian colleges/universities I suspect that the one for The USA would work as well, as there is a lot of sharing of accreditation responsibilities across their border, but I'm not sure. Again, if any of you could point me in the right direction for academic institution accreditation in those 3 countries, I would be very grateful! I contacted the Education Departments at the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Embassies, but so far no response.
To check accreditation:
1) Of an American college/university: www.ope.ed.gov/accreditation
2) Of a College or University in The U.K.: www.dcsf.gov.uk
3) A worldwide list of universities accredited by the Ministries of Education in their respective nations. This is a list that many Western universities look at when deciding whether or not to accept transfer students from an overseas applicant.
And now for something completely different...(picture me nude, playing an upright piano in the middle of a field, ala Monty Python. Actually, scratch that! I don't want to give you nightmares!)
I was walking down Ratchadamnoen Avenue, near the Democracy Monument, the other day and I walked past The Lawyers Association of Thailand. I went and talked to them and they gave me some very useful information.
They have volunteer lawyers always on call ready to assist anyone who walks through their door, free of charge! I have read a lot of threads on various forums lately about employment contracts, wrongful terminations and other legal skullduggery, so I thought this might be useful information to many of you. However, they are NOT to be confused with the Law Society of Thailand, the Professional Licensing Body (i.e. Bar Association) for all Thai lawyers. The Lawyers Association of Thailand is, as it was explained to me, a volunteer organization set up to assist the underprivileged in obtaining free, high quality legal advice and/or representation.
They assured me that they have given free legal assistance to many foreign nationals over the last 52 years, since their inception. However, that did ask me to tell anyone who might be interested to please bring along a friend or someone else who can speak both your language AND Thai. It is very difficult, time consuming and expensive (for you) to find an interpreter for you. If you bring your own along, you're golden. Their contact info follows:
The Lawyers Association of Thailand
26 Building 5
Phra Nakorn District
Bangkok - Tel: (02) 622 - 2331 or 2332
They did not give me an email or website address because, by their own admission, they "rarely check" their email or website. T.I.T.! Anyway, check them out if you want a lawyer but don't feel like shelling out those "special price for you, my friend me!" rates.
That's it for July, see ya in August and thanks for reading.