KKU concludes the U2T Project that has helped sustain 135 sub-districts from the University’s body of knowledge and innovations

December 30, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. – Khon Kaen University by the Innovation and Enterprise Section of the University held an online closing ceremony for the Integrated Socio-Economic Upgrading Project for Sub-districts Phase 1 by Zoom Meeting. Prof. Thidarat Boonmars, Ph.D., Vice President for Innovation and Enterprise, reported on the U2T Project Phase 1. Assoc. Prof. Wichuda Chaisiwamongkhon, the responsible person for reporting the results of the Project Phase 1 presented the Project evaluation results. Mr. Jaruek Laoprasert, Khon Kaen Vice Governor, thanked the implementers of the U2T Project Phase 1 and gave recommendations for the next phases. Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., President of Khon Kaen University presided over the closing ceremony. Among participants were Khon Kaen Governor, KKU administrators, deans of the 19 faculties and colleges, administrators and representatives from 135 sub-districts and those who were recruited as employees under the Project.

Prof. Dr. Thidarat Boonmars explained, “Khon Kaen University was assigned by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation to carry out the U2T Project according to the agreement made by the Cabinet on October 6, 2020. The objective of this Project was to raise the socio-economic levels of the sub-districts with the university in the same area being the System Integrator. From the project, there was employment of people, socio-economic restoration that covered various aspects according to the community’s problems and needs, and producing of Community Big Data. During the course of implementation, employment was made up to 20 positions for each sub-district. The work was done in accordance with the potentiality and needs of each area, in 4 principle activities: 1) development of honest livelihood and job creation, 2) development of creative economy, 3) enhancement of the environment and circular economy, and 4) use of knowledge to serve the community, by providing training of necessary skills for future occupations for those being employed under the project. The implementation period was 11 months from February to December, 2021.”

“Khon Kaen University was responsible for 135 sub-districts in 13 provinces and was the node for driving forward the operations of the university network in the Upper Isan areas, which covered 395 sub-districts. Employment was made, offering jobs to the locals, at 20 positions per sub-district, totaling 3,127 people. Among these, 880 were university students, 1375 were newly graduates, and 872 were the locals. There was integration of work from many organizations both inside and outside the University, including governmental organizations, the private sector, and the people in the area. On November 15-17, 2021, the Innovation and Enterprise Section joined 9 universities to hold a conference on: “Sustainability for all: The lessons learned from University to Tambon (U2T) for Sustainability”. On this occasion, the communities under the Project exhibited their products and innovations that were the outcomes of the Project. There were 152 exhibitions that were derived from tech-transfers by KKU, which would be extended by further development in the area.”

Assoc. Prof. Wichuda Chaisiwamongkhon made a conclusion of the evaluation of the U2T-KKU implemented from January to December, 2021 (TSI – USI – RSI NE) in 4 topics: Project objectives, the information sources for Project Evaluation, Implementation results, and conclusion of problems related to the information system. The U2T Projects had made positive impact related to socio-economic restoration in the areas in terms of honest livelihood and new job opportunities. Products like OTOP were upgraded. Among the activities that were completed were: development of creative economy, upgrading of tourism, use of knowledge to assist in community service, and enhancement of the environment and circular economy by raising circulated incomes for the community; and therefore the socio-economic level of the target areas had been raised. There were also employment opportunities that respond to socio-economic restoration. There was employment offered for new graduates, students, and people. This activity also created a network of cooperation for socio-economic development between universities and communities.”

Mr. Jaruek Laoprasert, Khon Kaen Vice Governor added, “Khon Kaen sees the importance of root socio-economic development. The employment project under the University to Tambon would be another channel to promote the restoration of the farming sector in the community, increasing the chance for growth. Universities are the learning resources and the model for economic development. I have followed up the works under U2T through the website made by the students. Thanks to Khon Kaen University, KKU administrators and professors who were responsible for the Project and had solved the problems in the real areas. You had created more job opportunities and developed occupations for the communities to rely on themselves. Now, they are able to integrate the work with the province and the local administrative organizations or other organizations according to the needs of the area. Thanks those who had been employed, who joined the Project from the beginning until the end. The U2T Project really shows us the potentials of each area. I hope that the benefits from the Project will be further extended in each area.”

Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., President of Khon Kaen University said, “The University to Tambon Project during the recent period demonstrated to all of us that the Project truly upgraded the socio-economic levels of each sub-district. Khon Kaen University was the System Integrator that enabled employment and this assisted in socio-economic restoration in different aspects according to the needs and problems of the community. There was the production of the Community Big Data, there was training of the skills necessary for future occupations for those being employed under the U2T Project, which means they received a better chance than others and this would benefit themselves, their families, and the community. I am grateful to Khon Kaen Governors and the governors of the 10 provinces as well as the administrators of the areas in 135 sub-districts for allowing us to carry out the Project in the area. Thanks the deans of the 19 faculties and colleges of Khon Kaen University and the professors who were responsible for the Project. You had devoted yourselves in working at the sites, by bringing knowledge and innovations from the University to develop the areas. I also thank the 3,127 people who were employed and joined the Project from the beginning until the end, making the Project go on smoothly and achieve the objectives.”

Mr. Juang Hechaiyaphum, the representative of the Tha Nangnaew Community, Waengnoi District, Khon Kaen, expressed his feeling and thanked the Project implementers of Phase 1, “The U2T Project enabled graduates to return home to work, making them feel obliged and love their hometown. The people also see the occupations that can raise incomes for them by bringing the knowledge and technology transferred from the University to build their product brand. This has strengthened the community, making them able to rely on themselves. Thanks to Khon Kaen Univesity for the opportunities. I hope that the enterprises can be extended towards a legal entity and brings sustainability to the community.”

Miss Wannasa Sirilertanan, a representative from a community in Kalasin said, “This is a very good chance that people in the community can build a job, acquire knowledge and raise incomes. The community can stay sustainably now. The Project has truly developed the competency and enabled the community to learn new and useful things.”

It was 11 months that Khon Kaen University by the responsible professors from 19 faculties had worked with the communities with their fullest capacities, resulting in the successful integration of socio-economic development at the sub-district level. People now have more job opportunities and the community development work has reached its objectives.

News / Photos: Watchara Noichompoo



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