Thailand's leader in community and rural development education, Rajabhat Institute, has enlisted the help of Australia's leading distance education provider in its effort to gain university status over the next five to seven years.
Nine academics from the Surat Thani Rajabhat Institute, a multi-disciplinary college, have spent the past week at Charles Sturt University (CSU), learning about what it takes to become a contender in the university world.
CSU is renowned nationally and worldwide for its provision of vocational degree-based courses, teaching more than 32,000 students in Australia and around the world.
High on the agenda for the visiting academics is Rajabhat Institute's development of a strong regional research profile.
Ms Puangpen Churintr, head of Rajabhat Institute's management science program, said the new skills would benefit the Institutes' 36 colleges throughout Thailand.
"One of our main goals is to improve our research, which will in turn benefit our region," she said. "Education is very important in Thailand."
"We are particularly concerned with conducting research for rural development and preservation and promotion of arts and culture."
Surat Thani, which means "city of good people", is located 644 kilometres from Bangkok on the southern coast of Thailand.
Dr John Retallick, program coordinator at CSU, said the program would possibly lead to a long-term relationship between the University and Rajabhat Institute.
"It is likely CSU staff will visit Surat Thani in the next year to work with the staff on their research projects," he said.
CSU has four main campuses in New South Wales and an extensive network of facilities in major Australian cities. It is also teaches its degree courses in Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada, Portugal, India and the United Kingdom.
During their time at Wagga Wagga each of the Thai academics are staying with local families, giving each an opportunity to experience the typical Aussie way of life, before returning home this week.