KKU MOVES FORWARD WITH U2T IN RESPONSE TO NATIONAL POLICY AIMING TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF ISAAN PEOPLE

On 8 June 2021, at 1:30pm, Khon Kaen University led the opening ceremony for the university’s U2T Project for Sustainable Development and held a meeting to exchange information about the project. Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, President of Khon Kaen University, gave the opening speech for the ceremony, and Prof. Thidarut Boonmars, Vice President for Innovation and Enterprise also reported. The university was honored to hear from Khon Kaen Governor Dr. Somsak Changtragul, who gave a speech in support of the project. About 100 meeting attendees included representatives from the Khon Kaen University Council Committee, Vice Presidents, Assistants to the President, deans, faculty, and project officers. The meeting was held at Sirikunakorn Meeting Room 3 on the 2nd floor of Sirikunakorn Building.

Khon Kaen University was assigned by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation to carry out the U2T Project for Sustainable Development (University to Subdistrict), in response to the Cabinet Resolution announced on 6 October 2020, which designates local universities as “System Integrators.” That is, universities should act as job creators for economic and social restoration while also facilitating comprehensive solutions in response to community issues and needs, or “Community Big Data.”

Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, President of Khon Kaen University

“The focus of the U2T Project for Sustainable Development is to apply knowledge, technology, and innovation to enhancing economic and social development in local areas via job creation. Aside from helping to solve unemployment and creating income among local people, those who are employed by the project will have the opportunity to develop their skills and gain knowledge that helps them to develop themselves and bring out their unique potential, as they understand the problems and circumstances in their own hometown. This project will also help to spread awareness among participants that the knowledge they gain from learning at the university or from local wisdom can benefit their local community and prepare their subdistrict to become self-reliant in a sustainable way. And I truly hope that Khon Kaen University, the universities in this network, and government, private sector, and local agencies, will collaborate to move forward on this project in order to solve poverty in our communities and to revitalize the foundation of our economy here in the Northeast in a strong and sustainable way.” – Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, President of Khon Kaen University

Prof. Thidarut Boonmars, Vice President for Innovation and Enterprise

“The U2T Project for Sustainable Development aims to apply knowledge of technology and innovation toward enhancing economic and social development in local communities through employment. Aside from helping to solve unemployment, the project can be a conduit for creating income in communities and can help to enhance people’s skills and knowledge, improving their potential and channeling it to meet the goals of the project. The project will prove its worth by driving communities in each subdistrict toward sustainable self-reliance.” – Prof. Thidarut Boonmars, Vice President for Innovation and Enterprise

Dr. Somsak Changtragul, Khon Kaen Governor

Dr. Somsak Changtragul, Khon Kaen Governor gave a speech in support of the project: “This employment project, U2T, is going to be one more channel in support of revitalizing and growing the agricultural sector in our communities, opening up opportunities to drive the economy forward. I want to encourage everyone to help achieve the goals of this project, with Khon Kaen University serving as a source of knowledge and exemplifying economic development, from the community to the national level.”

Assoc. Prof. Darunee Jothityangkoon, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, said in support of the project: “This project, U2T, or University to Tambon, is an opportunity to prove the effectiveness of our alumni. It will push our graduates to be representatives of the university as they spread their skills, knowledge, and abilities throughout communities.”

This project grew from a multidisciplinary collaboration between many agencies, both internal and external to Khon Kaen University, including government and private agencies and members of the Northeast Thailand Higher Education Network from 8 different locations. Within Khon Kaen University, 16 working groups are responsible for the project.

In terms of how the project will be managed, the project is employing 20 people per subdistrict for 11 months, from February to December 2021, to conduct projects and activities in line with local needs. The U2T Project for Sustainable Development hopes to solve the problem of poverty in communities and revitalize the basis of Northeast Thailand’s economy in a strong and sustainable way.

News: Jiraporn Pratumchai and Miss Thitawee Karnram,
a student under the Cooperative Education Program
Pictures: Natawut Petchpraphai

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