Biography and Works of Professor Dr. Wichit Srisa-an

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In memory of our highly esteemed Founder
of Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University

Professor Dr. Wichit Srisa-an was born on Saturday, December 22, 1934, in Sanamchan Sub-district, Ban Pho District, Chachoengsao Province. He started his primary education at local public schools near his home, namely Wat Tha Sa-an School, Prakob Ratbumrung School, and Wat Klang Bang Pakong School. He completed his secondary education at Bang Pakong Bavornvitayayon School. Due to his father’s death when he was in the third grade, he had to help his mother with her business and take care of the family while continuing his studies from elementary school to high school. With his parents’ strong belief in the importance of education, he was able to continue his education at Suankularb Wittayalai School in Bangkok and then at the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University. With his determination to become a teacher, he then continued his education at the Faculty of Education. As a provincial child who came to study in Bangkok, he saw the differences in educational opportunities that were caused by various constraints. Therefore, he continued his study for a master’s degree and doctorate in educational administration at the University of Minnesota and a university management certificate from Akron University in Ohio, United States of America. This led to the development of his ideas and ideals to work for equality and expanding educational opportunities.

         Professor Dr. Wichit Srisa-an held many important senior management positions, including Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of University Affairs, Secretary-General of the Office of Civil Service Commission and President of the universities. He has made many contributions to the development of education in Thailand, including founding three universities in three regions of the country, namely Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, a full-fledged distance learning university, Suranaree University of Technology and Walailak University. He has also served as the chairman of the boards of many universities. He entered politics with serving as Minister of Education, Senator, Member of Parliament, and Chairman of the Education Committee of the House of Representatives.

Throughout his career, Professor Dr. Wichit Srisa-an has made significant contributions to the country. He has created nine innovations in education and development that have had a positive impact on human resource development in the country. The areas of innovation are volunteer camps, institutional research, open and distance learning, brain stimulation demonstration, prison university, autonomous university, cooperative education, framework for professional standards in teaching and educational support for higher education, and leadership framework.

         Due to his great achievements in the development of education in Thailand, Professor Dr. Wichit Srisa-an received 16 honorary doctorates from universities in Thailand and abroad, and 32 awards from various organizations both national and international. In 2009, he was honored as the “Father of Cooperative Education in Thailand” and in 2021, he was awarded the Dusit Mala Medal, the Arts and Letters Medal (Education), by His Majesty the King.

         Professor Dr. Wichit Srisa-an passed away on Saturday, September 30, 2023, at the age of 88 years, 9 months, and 8 days. His cause of death is presumed to be heart disease.

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