Handbook on the Politics of Higher Education
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Handbook on the Politics of Higher Education

Edited by Brendan Cantwell, Hamish Coates and Roger King

Understanding the politics of Higher Education is becoming more important as the sector is increasingly recognised as a vital source of innovation, skills, economic prosperity, and personal wellbeing. Yet key political differences remain over such issues as who should pay for higher education, how should it be accountable, and how we measure its quality and productivity. Particularly, are states or markets the key in helping to address such matters. The Handbook provides framing perspectives and perspectives, chapters on funding, governance and regulation, and pieces on the political economy of higher education and on the increased role of external stakeholders and indicators.
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Chapter 15: The political economy of Thailand’s Income Contingent and Allowance Loan (TICAL) Scheme: a personal account

Medhi Krongkaew


It is well known that the highly subsidized state university system in Thailand creates inefficiency and worsens inequality. A drastic change came in early 2003 when the Thai government adopted an income-contingent student loan system where qualified students are provided with state loans on a needs basis, to be paid back when the students’ future income reaches a certain threshold level. This change, which was expected to improve efficiency and reduce inequality, came about as a result of concerted efforts from a group of economists and educational practitioners who spent many years preparing the ground and convincing many groups of people in Thailand, namely the politicians, the government bureaucrats, the university people and the general public, to agree with the new system. However, a change of government through military intervention in 2006 ended this new invention known as Thailand’s Income Contingent and Allowance Loan (TICAL) Scheme. For more than a decade, the old student loan programme, the Student Loan Fund (SLF), has continued to cause problems in the administration of Thailand’s student loan programmes, until January 2017 when the new Student Loan Fund Act B.E. 2560 was enacted with provisions to bring back a true income-contingent loan system to Thailand’s higher education. The change continues.

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