Faculty of Agriculture, Khon Kaen University organized an activity to enhance farming skills and to maintain graceful Thai culture. The activity was also aimed at incubating good quality among young kids of Kindergarten 1 and 2 of the Demonstration School of Khon Kaen University, both the regular and international programs to train in rice harvesting. The Project is dubbed “Agro Tour – Rice Harvest, @KKU2022”, which was organized at the demonstration plot (The Teak Wood Road) of the Faculty of Agriculture.
Tuesday November 22, 2022 at 9:30 a.m. – Faculty of Agriculture, Khon Kaen University organized the Agro Tour – Rice Harvest, @KKU2022” at the demonstration plot (The Teak Wood Road) of the Faculty of Agriculture. Assoc. Prof. Darunee Chotishyangkoon, Ph.D., Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, presided over the opening session. Attendants, totaling 350, were administrators, teachers and Kindergarten 1 and 2 pupils, international and regular programs on November 22. There were 350 more attendants on November 23, this time led by Prof. Sumalee Chaicharoen, Ph.D., Dean of the Faculty of Education and Acting Director of Khon Kaen University Demonstration Schools and undergraduate, master’s degree, and doctorate degree students of the Agronomy Program. The activity was arranged in stations for the young kids to learn things differently, such as rice reaping, rice threshing, rice milling, roasting rice with eggs, making rice crisp, making garlands from rice stalks and craft making from leaves.
Assoc. Prof. Darunee Chotishyangkoon, Ph.D., Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture said in her opening speech that the Demonstration school pupils came to plant rice in August. November is the reaping time. The kids are instilled with experiences about the livelihood of farmers. They have a chance to learn about rice production process and the value of rice. The agronomy major students of the Faculty acted as the mentors, who transferred knowledge to the kids with a lot of fun through different activities, including reaping, roasting rice, selecting cultivars, drawing and sticker attaching, etc.
“The kids will see that rice culture is the life of Thai people. We have been the world top rice exporter for a long time. Rice is our life. It enables us to live. The best learning is from the real situation, which is the rice field. Thanks the Faculty students who have helped from preparation of the Agro Tour Project. When you graduate, you can apply the experience obtained in ecological tourism which will also benefit agriculture and the economy of the Northeast Region.”
The Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture continued that the outstanding point of the Agronomy students is that the first and the third year students are responsible for the demonstration plots and for arranging the learning stations. These contribute to the skills for the students to be able to manage farming and ecological tourism in the future. It is a good thing to instill in the youths the ability to add values to the products that can develop into commercial tourism and sustainable culture.
Prof. Sumalee Chaicharoen, Ph.D., Dean of the Faculty of Education and Acting Director of Khon Kaen University Demonstration Schools explained why the kids have been taken to learn at the real rice fields of the Faculty of Agriculture. This correlates to the educational theory of the design of learning environments that match the classroom by taking pupils to experience real things. On the first day, 350 Kindergarten 2 kids of the regular and international programs participated in the activity, and then on November 23, the second day, it was the Kindergarten 1 kids’ turn. It was expected that this activity would incubate good qualities among the kids from learning the ways of living and farming culture so that they would be able to apply in their real life in the future.
“Rice reaping is learning about graceful farm life and culture. The kids were taken here in August when they learned to plant rice. They learned that after the planting season, the rice will be ready for harvest. Now they will obtain the real experience in reaping rice. The collaboration between the Demonstration Schools and the Faculty of Agriculture is the true integration of the fields of knowledge,” said the Dean of the Faculty of Education.
Assoc. Prof. Khundech Surihan, Ph.D., the Head of the Agronomy Department of the Faculty of Agriculture said that the Faculty has a policy for development in many dimensions and for integration of many fields together, including the ecology, the university environment, agriculture, and agricultural business. The Agro Tour activity is a result of this, for the tourism business will make the students develop the perspectives of the production until marketing. These include planting rice, rice harvesting, windmill plots, melon growing. There are 3-4 projects that the students can train and then will be able to use it in the future. Moreover, the university ecology has been made lively and beautiful.
Mr. Pisutthiphum Haisirikul, a master’s degree student and research assistant who was responsible for the Agro tour, on the part of rice reaping, explained about the participation of the students in this project. The students were able to learn about ecological tourism and the truth that besides producing farm products for selling or consumption, agro tourism can also be incorporated. The learning process was designed to suit the kids from kindergarten schools. There were learning stations where the kids learned about picking the seedlings, planting rice, reaping, threshing rice in an old traditional way, and certain tradition of Isan culture as well as the attachment of people’s lifestyle and tradition. The elder students learned the skills and process in organizing agriculture tourism that will provoke economy.
“This activity will let the young kids see that it is not easy. Before we get a grain of rice, there are many steps. The kids are excited and have fun. They also feel the exhaustion and heat. They learn to create art work from plants. These will be the good memories for them. For the students, we obtain the skills in management. We had to arrange things that would be best and easiest for the kids. We could not teach them to cut rice as adults do. We had to change it so that it would be safe for them. Everything has been made in smaller scales. We could say that we and the kids learn together.”
The Agro Tour – Rice Harvest, @KKU2022 was the continuation of Agro Tour 2022. It was organized on November 22 and 23, for 2 days at the demonstration plot (The Teak Wood Road) of the Faculty of Agriculture. The objectives were to make kindergarten kids see the importance of Thai rice and the good culture, and to make the students of the Faculty of Agriculture, the undergraduate, master’s degree and doctorate degree students see from the perspective of entrepreneurs of agro tourism. In addition, the students would learn to work in a team and develop generosity of the mind, or being a giver without expecting any return. When graduated, the activity just like this time would make the students become a good person with decent thought. The rice grown in the 3 rai of plots were the KKU 60-1 cultivar developed by Asst. Prof. Jirawat Sanitchon, Ph.D., a lecturer of the Department of Agronomy and a rice cultivar developer. The KKU 60-1 cultivar is sticky rice with short life before harvest. It is not sensitive to light and resists burning or dry leaf disease. The quality is close to Kor. Khor.6. The KKU 60-1 cultivar will be presented to HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn when HRH comes for the Degree Conferral Ceremony at Khon Kaen University.
News: Banjamaporn Mamook
Photos: Natthawut Jaruwong and the Faculty of Agriculture