Australian Embassy

Australia-Thailand Education Cooperation

Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment works with the education sector, other government agencies and ministries to ensure Australia is recognised as a regional and world leader in education and a partner of choice for international collaboration. The Department provides leadership and coordination across government, delivering programs and policies, to support mobility and the global exchange of knowledge.

The Department fosters international partnerships, ensures quality, and enhances international students’ experiences through our National Office in Canberra and in 13 offices in Australian diplomatic missions in North Asia (Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul), South and South East Asia (New Delhi, Jakarta, Bangkok, Hanoi and Kuala Lumpur), America (Washington), Latin America (Brasilia and Mexico), and Europe (Brussels and Paris).

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment office in Bangkok was the first offshore office of the Department and was opened by then Australian Minister for Education in December 1994.

The key functions of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment are:

International cooperation in education and training
• Manage Government–to–government education policy engagement
• Bilateral cooperation including cooperation agreements, Joint Working Groups educational/training input to free trade agreement negotiations, and multilateral forums
• Support for academic and institutional policy engagement and exchange

International education quality and regulation
• Manage the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 and associated legislative framework and activities.
• Support the implementation of Government policy in relation to the higher education, school, and vocational education and training sectors.

International education research and information
• Develop international education statistics and research
• Manage international student data (for publication by Austrade through its Market Information Package)
• Provide information on host country education policy.

• Manage the Destination Australia scholarship program
• Liaise and engage with foreign government agencies on inbound and outbound scholarship opportunities

• Coordinate with Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to assist the Australian undergraduate students to study and undertake internship in the Asia Pacific region under the New Colombo Plan Initiative

Education Agents
• Develop and provide information on regulatory requirements and Australian education issues to education agents
• Monitor provider obligations under the ESOS Act
• Engage with other governments concerning overseas education agents

Qualifications recognition
• Manage international qualifications recognition including educational and professional recognition information services and support


Department of Education, Skills and Employment

Department of Education, Skills and Employment in Thailand manages the Australia-Thailand education, training and research relationship and works with the Thai Ministry of Education and the Thai Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation on a range of current priority issues related to education and training policy and systems. These include the recognition of qualifications, quality assurance, curriculum development and institutional governance arrangements including the development of a National Qualifications Framework and other policy issues across all levels of education. The Department also works closely with Australian and Thai institutions to facilitate partnership collaboration and linkages, staff and student exchange, cooperation in research and development and university credit transfer arrangements.

In Thailand, the Department also manages the Australian Government’s engagement with the South East Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) and the Asia-Pacific Regional Office of UNESCO.

Background to the Thai-Australia Education Relationship

Cooperation in education, science, research and training is a central and significant aspect of the bilateral relationship between Australia and Thailand. The education relationship is mature and developed with a focus on policy dialogue, information sharing and partnerships rather than aid/development assistance.

The longstanding education and training relationship between Australia and Thailand, going back to the early days of the Colombo Plan scholarship program, was put onto a more formal basis initially in 1991, with the signing of the first Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two countries on education. That MOU was signed between the then Department of Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (DEETYA) and the then Thai Ministry of University Affairs and promoted and supported a program of information, staff and student exchanges, collaborative research and development, and institutional links including joint degree programs.

An MOU with the Thai Ministry of Education, signed in June 1994, substantially extended that cooperation to the schools and vocational education sectors and provided for cooperation in primary and secondary schooling, technical and para-professional training, non-formal education, professional development of educators and distance education.

A new MOU on cooperation in education and training was signed between the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) and the Thai Ministry of Education in Canberra on 5 July 2004. That MOU replaced the two MOUs signed in 1991 and a 1994.

A new MOU was signed in 2012 to renew and reinforce the strong education and training linkages between Australia and Thailand. The new MOU encourages and facilitates cooperation between government, educational and training institutions. Fields of cooperation under the MOU may include:

a. Vocational education and training;
b. Higher education;
c. Strategic planning and management in education, research and training;
d. Curriculum development and benchmarking of educational outcomes;
e. Distance education;
f. English and Thai language training;
g. Student, education personnel and academic exchange;
h. Qualifications recognition; and
i. Education management training


For more information about the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, please visit

For information about studying in Australia please visit: and

For information about the promotion and marketing of Australian education services in Thailand, please contact Austrade in Bangkok on +66 (0)2 696 4800

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment office in Bangkok is open from Monday to Friday, 09.00-17.00 hours. To contact our staff, please telephone Bangkok +66 (0)2 344 6493, fax: 02 344 6303, or email [email protected]