The trials and tribulations of the COVID-19 pandemic have presented a challenge to educational institutes around the world, forcing schools and universities to adopt new teaching methods and shift to online classes. Chulalongkorn University has responded to the online learning transition by offering more online classes, specifically, General Education courses for students to further explore and take courses outside of their field.
Professor Parichart Sthapitanonda, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Social Outreach, indicates that GenEd courses create opportunities for students to study various subjects beyond their major and apply the added knowledge in everyday life. The GenEd classes are divided into seven fields: environmental conservation, physical and mental health, recreation and tourism, career management, life management, Thai identity, and sustainability. Also worth mentioning are courses for the 21st century and Next GenEd courses, which are interdisciplinary courses for students from different faculties to join to “learn, observe, and develop”. Students will become more well-rounded and understand the world from different perspectives. Moreover, the university has short program courses for CU students, alumni, faculty members, and staff to take advantage of learning new skills. The majority of the courses are 2-3 hours long and students who complete the course will receive a certificate. In the future, the program may also become available to the general public.
Professor Parichart continues to share that this semester, the University is offering a new General Education course from the Faculty of Law called “Freedom of Assembly and Association”, to provide knowledge on issues that students are active about, touching on social and political dimensions. The course will also talk about freedom of expression as a fundamental human right under the constitution. Students will understand the purpose and value of freedom of assembly in a democratic society and learn about the international standards of hosting a public assembly. In the future, this course may be added into the CUVIP course to foster public knowledge on living together respectfully in society.
Professor Pat Niyomsilpa, professor at the Faculty of Law and instructor of the “Freedom of Assembly and Association” course, says that the curriculum addresses the value of freedom of assembly, international standards on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, the structures of public assembly laws used in Thailand, the constitutional law that outlines the rights and freedom of Thai people, the comparison of public assembly in liberal democratic countries vs. non-democratic countries, freedom of assembly and political mechanism, and expression of public opinions.
“This course is a new subject offered at Chulalongkorn University and first of its kind in Thailand. The purpose is to educate students, who are the backbone and future of the country, to learn more about international rules and exercise their freedom based on international standards. The class has quickly filled up with students enrolling from different fields of study. Offered online, the class is composed of lectures and case studies for students to think, analyze and discuss. Apart from the “Freedom of Assembly and Association” course, which is a GenEd class, the Faculty of Law also offers “Public Assembly Law” as part of the curriculum”, says Professor Pat.