Thai Students’ Expectations on Their Professional Future : With a Lifelong Learning Perspective

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik; Stockholms universitet/Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik

Abstract: Lifelong learning is known and well-studied in the West, but many times the findings of studies conducted in Europe and USA are simplified to universal findings. Although the world is not that simplistic, it is often argued that the East has a more collectivistic culture while the West is leaning more towards an individualistic. Only a few studies have been conducted on the subject in the East and those studies have a macro-perspective with a focus on political and economic values, while the individual perspective is left unexplored. The aim of this study is to gain a better understanding of what Thai students expect from their professional future from a lifelong learning perspective and how culture in terms of individualistic and collectivistic dimensions influences these expectations. This is a qualitative study where our empirical data come from ten semi-structured interviews, with last year’s university students in Bangkok. The findings showed that the students’ expectations are influenced by the collectivistic culture while at the same time being connected with the rapid moving society around them. This could be seen as a divided thinking between old traditions and new possibilities, between individualistic dreams and collectivistic loyalty. The findings suggest that lifelong learning in Thailand is influenced by more than just the collectivistic dimension, as previous research shows. We offer a consideration of the situation above and believe young adults are finding their own way, trying to please both sides of a complex situation.

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