Bringing metrology into the classroom
Thai metrologists increase awareness of the science of measurement through nationwide initiative
The word ‘metrology’ is not widely-known amongst the Thai general public. Even people working in related fields are often unfamiliar with it. The reality is that metrology plays a critical – if invisible – role in society. All of the products we buy rely on accurate measurements. Those that can be made with tighter manufacturing tolerances are seen as higher-quality, and result in more efficient production. With an economy that relies heavily on manufacturing-based industries, there is a clear need to increase the visibility of metrology in Thailand, and introduce future potential metrologists to the field as early as possible. A key part of this effort is to include the topic in the country’s education curriculum, and to do that, we need to work with educators.
For almost 10 years, the National Institute of Metrology (NIMT) has been part of a nationwide network dedicated to bringing metrology to the wider community. Our partners include the Office of Vocational Education Commission and the Federation of Thai Industries, along with several universities and private companies. The group’s first priority was to transfer metrological knowledge to educators in a project named “Train the Trainer”. Lead by NIMT, we provided courses and workshops on topics related to metrology, standards and quality control to educators from 74 colleges in Thailand. The content of each course was altered to suit each specific learning programme. As the performance of students directly related to teaching capability and knowledge of their educators, the second stage focused on the students themselves. The method used to evaluate metrological knowledge and skill of students was through a series of interactive annual competitions. The competitions were each designed to suit different education levels, but all were in the field of dimensional metrology. The feedback from both the educators and the student groups to this initiative has been overwhelmingly positive.
This project has increased awareness of metrology in Thailand’s educational system, and has allowed NMIT to reach people across the country. The topic has now been included in the curricula of various university and vocational courses, and students are more aware of the state-of-the-art role nature of metrology. The national competition results have improved year on year, with each group showing an increased understanding of the science of measurement. To date, 344 students who attended the national competitions have gained hands-on experience and skills that make them highly employable, with some students approached by companies even before their graduation. The majority of students who took part in the programme have gone on work in prestigious manufacturing corporations such as Toyota, Denso, and Mazak. The average salary of these students is approximately 20% higher than those with a similar educational level.
“Being enrolled in this project allowed us to learn a lot about metrology and measurement standards in a real world. We also can compare the courses with other colleges/universities in Thailand to have the same standard, and that gives us a way to adjust the curriculum, and make it more appropriate for our students.
- ” Kitti, an educator from Rajamangala Univerisity of Technology Lanna (RMUTL)
“Training and participating in a national competition was a great experience. Learning about metrology allows us to have more career opportunities compared to other students in the same field.”
- Kanjanaporn, a student from Rajamangala University of Technology Rattanakosin (RMUTR)