Virachai Techavijit, Founder, Owner, Chairman and Licence Holder of
Regent’s International School Pattaya & Bangkok.
and international dignitaries, including past heads of school, teachers
and parents packed the ballroom of Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort
Pattaya to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Regents International
School Pattaya Oct 5.
Heading the distinguished line-up
of dignitaries was none other than Dr. Virachai Techavijit, Founder,
Owner, Chairman and Licence Holder of Regent’s International School
Pattaya & Bangkok. He was accompanied by his wife Thiphavan and his son
Kanet (Nick), his daughter Kwanshanok (Noon) and grandson Puno.
In an emotional introduction, Sarah
Osborne-James, Regent’s International School Pattaya Principal said,
“The Regents Pattaya began with one man. With the support of his loving
family, he founded our school in 1994 and Regents Bangkok in 2000 … Dr.
Dr Virachai, Kwanshanok
and Thiphavan Techavijit, a family dedicated to the best education for
Dr. Virachai said, “I wanted to
start my speech with something stunning, but when I look back these past
25 years, it seems that everything was stunning. I will therefore speak
from my heart.”
He went on to thank his wife
Thiphavan who he called “a great woman who is always at my side” and his
children for supporting him throughout the years.
Dr. Virachai thanked Sarah
Osborne-James and her amazing organizing team for arranging the grand 25th Anniversary
celebration. He thanked all the teachers and staff for their dedication
and hard work and even pointed out that one of the staff has worked for
the school for the past 24 and a half years.
Dr. Virachai said that the
relationship with Nord Anglia education has proven to be most beneficial
to all parties because it offers academic, social and personal success
for every student.
presents a plaque of gratitude and appreciation to Dr. Virachai and
“Through opportunities to learn
from the best, experiences beyond the ordinary, and the encouragement to
achieve more than what they thought possible, we help our students
succeed anywhere through our unique global educational offer. We do all
this by investing in our people, our schools, and above all, our
He reiterated that the mission of
the Regent’s School is to ensure a safe environment for students. “We
will not tolerate bullying and this also helps the teachers do their
work effectively by concentrating on educating the children rather than
spending precious time resolving conflicts.”
Dr. Virachai’s keynote address was
followed by special performances, an international buffet dinner,
presentations, prize draws, a live band and dancing in celebration of
the Regent’s success.
An educator’s story: Bringing London to Bangkok
Reaching a milestone of any
organization or institution usually calls for a celebration. But to
fully enjoy and appreciate their achievements, one must learn about the
origins and events and the sacrifices made by so few for so many.
Peter Hogan, Principal of Regent’s International School Bangkok, Miss
Kwanshanok and Mrs. Thipavan Techavijit, School Directors, Dr. Virachai
Techavijit, Sarah Osborne-James, Principal Regent’s International School
Pattaya, Dr. Peter Jones, Head of Secondary and Ms. Caroline Drumm, Head
of Primary School at Regent’s International School Bangkok.
So, let’s look at the life and
times this remarkable man, to learn about his past, the present and
future of education in the Kingdom.
It takes some people decades to
discover what their passion is in life. For Dr. Virachai Techavijit, he
stumbled into his passion for education at an early age. At just 19
years old, he became the headmaster of Joseph Upatham School in Sampran,
Thailand, managing over a thousand students and 35 teachers.
“Most of the staff were older than
me,” Dr. Virachai recalls, smiling.
At 21, Dr. Virachai left the
Kingdom to study in the United States, where he earned his Bachelor’s,
Master’s and PhD degrees in accountancy, including a CPA. The newly
minted doctor worked as professor at universities across the US for six
years, eventually setting his sights on the West Coast.
“I heard the old advice: young man,
go west,” he said.
(l-r) Kwanshanok, Dr.
Virachai, Thiphavan, Kanet and Puno receive greetings from Suchai
Rujivanichkul (3rd right).
He landed a highly prestigious
position in 1981 as an MBA lecturer at the University of California, Los
Angeles (UCLA) when tragedy struck. He came home during his holidays and
asked his father, when was the last time he had a physical examination?
“I knew that he had been smoking
like a chimney when he was younger,” said Dr. Virachai.
He convinced his father to get an
X-ray and the results revealed terrible news. A ping pong ball-sized
tumour had formed in his lung. A biopsy showed the tumour was cancerous.
“I had a big decision to make.
Coming from a Chinese background, you needed to be with your family.”
He deferred his position at UCLA
and returned to Thailand to be with his father, a move that would end up
transforming his life and the lives of countless students in Thailand.
Back in Thailand, Dr. Virachai
spent the next 12 years working in a variety of sectors putting his
western experience and negotiating expertise to use. His former bosses
include CP’s Dhanin Chearavanont (he helped in penetrating the Chinese
market in 1982), former Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun (he helped in
easing pressure from the US Congress’ Textiles and Farm Bills), and
Bangkok Bank’s Chatri Sophonpanich (he helped in fixing the 200,000 baht
fee ceiling for loan mortgage registration).
Dr. Virachai Techavijit
(centre) and Sarah Osborne-James (left) welcome Sukanya Gale, Peter
Malhotra and Winston Gale to the festivities.
Then in 1993 he became Senior
Executive Vice President of Bangkok Metropolitan Bank before the Cabinet
appointed him the chairman of the board of the Mass Rapid Transit
Authority in 1994 (he reversed a cabinet resolution so the government
was able to build the country’s first subway train, the Blue Line).
By 1996, he was serving as an
official advisor to the Prime Minister, a position which he left a year
later to commence a year-long process to become the Honorary Consul of
Republic of Estonia for Thailand.
Dr. Virachai invested in real
estate in Pattaya in 1988 whilst serving as advisor to Thai Bankers’
Association, setting off a chain of events that put him on a track back
into the world of education. First, he developed homes for three major
US companies in North Pattaya. The residents of those homes were
concerned for the future of their companies that wouldn’t be able to
recruit valuable talent without proper education options for families.
They implored the former educator to solve their crisis. The decision by
the Thai government under Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun in 1992 to
allow local children to attend international schools was most timely -
one may say it was a key factor of Thailand’s successful globalization.
Dr. Virachai Techavijit,
Master Puno, Michael Deveney, Kirsty Paiboontanasin and Kanet
“To decide to invest in a school is
a huge, huge job,” Dr. Virachai says, “but of course what really scared
me was that we would have 32 empty houses.” Dr. Virachai took over a
small international kindergarten in Pattaya and opened its doors in 1994
as a full scale international school with just 75 families. Two months
later, the number grew to over 140. He then moved the school to its
current site in 1995.
Regent’s International School
Pattaya, now operating as a day and boarding school, caters to 1100
students and boasts 11 buildings on 70 of his 450 rai.
Six years into the school’s
history, parents pushed Dr. Virachai to open a Bangkok campus to ease
the pain of being apart from their children. The chairman obliged, and
in 2000 brought his esteemed school to the capital, which at present
caters to over 700 students.
Virachai Techavijit is flanked by Peter Hogan and Paul Schofield.
Regent’s International School
alumni began going on to graduate from Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford, and
other prestigious schools including Stanford, UCLA, Cornell, National
Singapore University and Seoul National University. Many went on to
complete doctorate degrees from top institutions, including Cambridge
University. Some went on to become politicians, including the Deputy
Minister of Energy and Natural Resources in Armenia.
With Dr. Virachai’s reputation in
Thailand, it became easy to recruit world class teachers. (We have had)
“graduates who went to study Law at Cambridge University, Economics at
University of Chicago and other noted subjects at LSE, UCL, and Imperial
College,” Dr. Virachai proudly says.
While the schools’ reputations
soared, Dr. Virachai saw another opportunity to offer students in
Thailand. “We were looking for something stunning to bring to Bangkok,”
he says, and that’s how we started the University of London
Rhian Curtis conducts
the school choir, enchanting the guests with their beautiful rendition
of the classics.
“The one major feature is that the
curriculum is set by the University of London and London School of
Economics (LSE),” Dr. Virachai says. “LSE actually dictates what
UOL-LSE provides the curriculum,
supporting literature and final exams to students working toward their
Bachelor of Science degrees in Economics, Management, Science or Social
Science. Students can even participate in the graduation ceremony in
With passionate leaders in
education like Dr Virachai pushing for young people to not only earn
prestigious degrees, but become naturally curious, lifelong learners;
everyone seems to win.
In 2016 Regent’s International
College started another option of higher education with emphasis on
employment demand driven curriculum. The College became the first and
still the only one in Thailand that is licensed by the Thai Government
to teach foreign vocational curriculum.
Dr. Virachai’s vision was fully
supported by the then Education Minister, General Da-pong, the current
privy councilor, who proposed and the cabinet approved to allow the
teaching of international vocational curriculum in the Kingdom.
Virachai Techavijit personally thanked his loyal staff who are working
tirelessly to maintain the Regents International School as the top
international school in Thailand comparable to the best in the world.
The College then proceeded to apply
for the required training and certification to BTEC qualifications. Not
only BTEC teachers what the industries need but the approach of learning
is focusing on critical thinking and problem solving without
memorization nor closed book exams. Over the years, this sort of
learning approach has been recommended to Thai Ministers by so many
critics and this BTEC approach is exactly what they were searching for.
Courtesy of Prestige
Magazine, published with the kind permission of Dr. Virachai