Due to contractual and legal changes affecting the previous GAST platforms in Thailand and Indonesia, restructuring of the Network has been started early 2011. The previous members TGGS/RWTH in Bangkok and SGU Jakarta have been replaced by GAST coordination offices in the respective cities. The reasons for the stepping out of TGGS/RWTH and SGU are briefly described below.
RWTH Aachen University terminates financial and organizational engagement
in South East Asia
As a consequence of its new December 2010 internationalization strategy paper, into which TGGS did not fit anymore, RWTH Aachen has terminated its contract with KMUT NB in North Bangkok regarding the implementation, development and operation of TGGS, the Sirindhorn International Thai German Graduate School of Engineering.
TGGS is now a 100% Thai institution and completely driven by its Thai mother university KMUT NB, no RWTH staff on board anymore. What remains is a friendly MoU type agreement on student exchange and academic cooperation, engagement of RWTH lecturers on a voluntary base. In the mentioned RWTH internationalization strategy paper, neither the name of TGGS nor South East Asia (SEA) as a region of interest shows up anymore. In addition, TGGS Co. Ltd. previously co-owned by RWTH Aachen (50%) and acting as a handling agency for the TGGS project has been transferred into 100% Thai ownership, releasing all of the TGGS Co. Ltd. Staff, thus eliminating this German-based operation platform from the SEA landscape. In this context, the RWTH rectorate also informed the German Federal Ministry of Education & Research (BMBF) that the GAST network will not be supported anymore.
While the GAST network partners regret the short-sighted decisions of RWTH Aachen and its move out of the network, they have since then supported the setting up of a new coordination office in Bangkok, at the same time taking the chance of the new situation to team up with new high-ranking partners in Thailand.
Membership of SGU, the Swiss-German University in Jakarta affected by legal changes in Indonesia
As a consequence of the new Indonesian education law, SGU is no longer entitled to represent GAST in Jakarta, and restructuring of the GAST activities in Indonesia has also been taken into account since the end of 2010.
The new Indonesian law involves precise prescriptions for the cooperation of Indonesian universities with universities from abroad. The most important requirement is an accreditation of the national university with a level of "A".
As the previous GAST member SGU and partner of TU Ilmenau, Germany, does not fulfill this condition, the cooperation had to be suspended. To prevent a break in the activities in Indonesia, TU Ilmenau is now negotiating with new top-ranking partners in Indonesia to meet the legal framework and provide an appropriate academic level.