Friday, May 21, 2010

STOU - First Open University in Southeast Asia

STOU - First Open University in Southeast Asia
Dr Abe V Rotor

Lately Thailand was rocked by internal conflict, students protesting against the current leadership and other issues.

Having been in Thailand early this year, I saw a different picture. Thailand which means "land of the free" is a peaceful and progressive country, which I can vouch from the fact that I have had the chance to be with Thais since my student days, in visiting Sokhothai Thammathirat Open University, among other institutions, and from the fact that the Philippines historically gets most of its imported rice from Thailand.

This series of articles is my humble way of showing my appreciation to Thailand or old Siam, truly the land of the free.

NOTE: Please open also in this Blog: Thai Food - Unique, Irresistible (March 7, 2010); A Day with the Elephants - Beauty and the Beast (March 7, 2010); and Reclining Buddha (March , 2010).

Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University campus, Thailand
Printed instructional materials

STOU professor on live television lecture.

Nationwide radio and television centralized control panel

Interview: Dr Abe Rotor and Professor Suchin Phongsak

Visit to Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University

Dr. Abercio V Rotor, professor of the University of Santo Tomas (3rd from left) poses with STOU faculty headed by Dean Achara Cheewatragoongit (4th), and Prof. Sukanya Phromphon (extreme right) during a recent visit to Thailand’s second largest open university, which has a population of 280,000 students. Dr. Rotor is also head instructor of Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People’s School-on-Air) broadcast daily on DZRB network . Others in the photo (L to R) are Asst Director Elvira Martinez and Asst Director Cecilia R Rotor of National Food Authority, Prof. Suchin Phongsat (former STOU professor), Mrs Cora Rocero Phongsat, and a faculty member and coordinator of the group.

Ode to STOU - First Open University in Southeast Asia
Dr Abe V Rotor

Pioneer thou art, institution of the common man,
Beating hitherto a path unknown to deliverance
From the false gods, ruthless masters and ignorance,
Thousands at your bidding come at your command.

From Socrates to Plato, the university got its name,
Philosophy took root in wisdom and humanity;
Didn't Bertrand Russell say, "Away with aristocracy?"
And utilitarian education grew up to fame

Called functional literacy that people most treasure,
Three Rs - (w)Riting, Reading, (a)Rithmetic - but not enough,
What these mean and what they do to ones life the key -
STOU brought knowledge to and from the shore

Bridging disciplines together, amalgamating them
Like alloy, theory and practice, the heart and mind,
Psyche and spirit into holism of purpose and faith,
Into one nation, strong men and women at the helm.

To all walks of life, for a better life man has fought,
Who till the land, turn the wheel of industry,

Victims of circumstance, imprisoned by poverty,
Whose schooling fell short from skills they sought.

Globalization - the name of the game the world plays,
Homogenization of cultures and melange of races -
Are too far out, vague of purpose at the grassroots;
Education cautions the people from the race.

Here at STOU the beacon lives through night 'til dawn,
On the Information Highway, through walls hardened
By indifference and neglect, for hope has no dead end;
For here at STOU learning and living go on and on.~

Dedicated to my kind host and staff of STOU.


千惠千惠 said...


avrotor said...

Hello! I am sorry for this late reaction. I cannot decipher your comments in characters, but I have the feeling that STOU is doing a great service to mankind. It stands as a model in educating the masses, bringing the school to people, and delivering lessons that are of practical use, and friendly to culture and environment. How I wish there are more STOUs in the world. Again congratulations to STOU, particularly to Dean Achara Cheewatragoongit, Prof Sukanya Phromphon, and their staff who welcome my group during our visit in January this year.