Dusit International, a Bangkok-based hotel and resort company, will this year launch one of the country's first distance-learning hospitality schools, the Dusit Thani Hotel School in central Bangkok.
Chanin Donavanik, Dusit International managing director and chief executive, said the school would provide theoretical instructions, on-the-job training and communication skills under a paperless-school concept.
The school's technology infrastructure has been provided by Microsoft, especially Office 365 and Azure, and all distance-learning students will receive a Windows tablet to access multimedia-format courseware.
Haresh Khoobchandani, managing director of Microsoft (Thailand), said Dusit International had been in partnership with the software giant for more than a decade.
"Asia is the engine for the growth of the world, while tourism and hospitality are the key industries in the Asian region," he said.
Srispmbat Srisombat Wangchin, assistant vice president for information technology at Dusit International, said the company's partnership with Microsoft included some 1,000 users across its 24 hotels.
She said Microsoft Office 365 allowed Dusit employees to be productive and responsive any time, anywhere and on virtually any device, while also allowing them to share information securely, such as guest information, across its entire chain of hotels and resorts.
The school would be an extension of that partnership, Srispmbat Srisombat |said.
The school is scheduled to open in August.
It will offer a complete curriculum for the certificate and diploma levels, covering all areas of hotel operations such as reception, housekeeping, cooking and waiter services.
"Our aim is to give more young people the opportunity to have a career in hospitality and make a lasting, positive contribution to the industry as a whole," Chanin said.
He added that the school was the prototype for the company's education business expansion.
He said the concept of the school was to allow students to learn about the hospitality industry with the use of state-of-the-art technology.
All the courseware will be in a digital format and stored on the cloud, while students can take an online course with the practical and exam elements offered offline.
At the end of the six-month course, students will be able to continue to access the online curriculum for further learning.
Dusit aims to have around 4,000 students at the school per year.
The multimedia-format courseware accessed using a Microsoft tablet will eventually be offered to students in the nine other countries where Dusit operates.
"Once the learning system is embedded with technologies, by the end of this year we will start to expand this school upcountry to allow students in remote areas to take the course," said Chanin, adding that the school's approach would deliver graduates faster and easier than alternative models.
He said the school would initially offer courses in Thai and English, but would eventually offer other languages.