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Is Thailand the Test Case for Asian Development? That is the issue that caught my imagination and attracted me to teach and research in Thailand in 1964 and it has caught my constant attention over the years to the processes that were applied to help that nation develop. the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) financing of the Bhumipol (Yanhee) Dam at Tak in Northwest Thailand as a study of how corruption can be eliminated in development is to vital a testament of "how to control corruption" that it must be told! Yes, it is possible to eliminate corruption! But it takes patience and determination on the part of the financing agency and administrators! It takes time! Yet once achieved the citizens have pride in its integrity!
By 1972-3 Thailand had developed more than a dozen colleges and universities and finally the Ministry of Education permitted the establishment of a private college with the founding of Bangkok College. discussions began for the founding of a Christian college and in 1974 Payap college was founded in Chiang Mai with 204 students. Private colleges operated as tuition charging institutions and manages to grow rapidly. In 1985 Payap College was able to meet the requirement of the Ministry for certification as the first private University in Thailand. Today that Payap University enrolls nearly 8,000 students in more than 24 different degree programs.
As these processes of development and educational advancement have been going on in Thailand political development has also been maturing. Where since 1932, Thailand has been known as a "Land of the Coups" there has been change when for example a prime minister has decided to "resign" rather than waiting to be couped; and after a particularly violent coup in 1991, the coupmakers are shown on TV in the monarch's presence. Generals do not enjoy being embarrassed and are now significantly more restrained. When an election can be peacefully conducted and a woman elected prime minister, politics has made real progress! Even so, as Thailand floods, the political infighting is becoming vicious and we hold our breath and pray that the generals restrain!