On June 12th, 2018, KKU President, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kitichai Triratanasirichai, welcomed the chairman of Khon Kaen Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Khemchart Somjaiwong and his team during their chamber motive meeting at KKU’s Sirikunagorn Building to discuss strategies for Khon Kaen development.
Mr. Khemchart said, “Khon Kaen Chamber of Commerce has been ally with KKU in creating strategies for the city development. During the past years, our office has worked with different communities and local administration offices to reduces social gaps. Working together with KKU is the way to make the development more concrete and permanent since the university is equipped with manpower and budget. Our work for the society is difficult due to the limited budget, equipment and manpower. Our meeting with KKU is to persuade KKU to join in the implementation of public development projects, many of which echo to KKU’s strategies for social development.”
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kitichai Triratanasirichai said, “KKU comprises of 23 faculties, 3 colleges and one branch in Nongkhai. About 80% of its 2000 faculties hold Ph.D. which is relatively high compared to other universities. The university hires about 9,000 supporting staff. Three of our hospitals which are Srinagarind Hospital, Sirikit Heart Center and Dentistry Hospital are the medical centers with the highest standard in the northeast. More recently, we have announced our plan to build Bhumipol Medical Center which involves enlarging the hospital capacity of 1200 beds to 5000 beds. The construction will be partially supported by the government and KKU will seek for most of the construction cost by itself. There are about 40,000 students in our university 8000 (25%) of which are the students from the high schools around Khon Kaen, mostly from Khon Kaen Witayayon School, Gulayanawat School, Gannakonwitayalai School, and KKU Demosntration School. Ninety percent of our students are from the northeast which shows that we are successful in expanding chance of education to the people in this region. Another 10 percent of our students are from different other regions. Health sciences subjects are famous at KKU and it is well recognized at the national level. The department attracts a lot of students each year. The medical in-turn students prefer to do their probation with KKU’s medical science departments since professional physicians are greatly available here
The president added that, “KKU is subsidized by about six thousand million baht from the government while about 8-9 thousand million baht budget is clubbed by the university, which yields to the total annual budget of around fourteen thousand million baht. This budget is used mostly for the development of Khon Kaen based on an area based research. Our university is one of the five university in the world who are specialized in researching on liver fluke, liver cancer and cholangiocarcinoma cancer prevention. Therefore, EU has granted us 1 million euros to conducted research for this liver fluke and liver cancer prevention in Laos since the people there share similar dietary habits as the people in the northeast of Thailand. The results from this research is applied for the betterment of life in the northeastern region. We launched a project to help people living around Ubonrattana Dam area who yet lived without water to have water for use all the year round and to gain higher income. Faculty of Agriculture also conducted a project to raise income of the farmers in 4 Isan provinces including, Khon Kaen, Roi-et, Kalasin and Mahasarakham. We are sponsored the government with a net budget of 180 million baht to introduce educational technology into the classroom practices in the northeastern region via KKU SMART LEARNING project. The project has impact on about thirty to forty thousand students and teachers in the region and the project will be expanded to all schools in the country. We have a clear division of educational management within the campus, more specifically, Faculty of Nursing is responsible for kindergarten education, KKU Demonstration School to care for primary education while high school education is cared for by the Faculty of Education. KKU is also responsible for a project called, “engineering preparation” which is a project that aims to produce high quality engineers into Thai labor market. Specifically for the navigating of the project, the ninth graders of Mingmaung School were recruited into the project. The students are taught with innovation and syllabus imported from Japan. The Japanese employers are involved in the employment of these learners who have their job guaranteed after the completion of the course. KKU is also responsible for generating life-long learning for the community. We have a good learning centers such as Natural History Museum, Koom Seetan is a center for cultural learning that has the biggest wooden Buddha image and Suansai natural trekking route. Science Museum will soon be completed and it is going to be a new learning hub in the region. Association of Astronomy will also high an area in KKU for the construction of star viewing tower.
Khon Kaen Chamber of Commerce meeting with KKU seeks for both parties’ collaboration in creating a better economy for the people in the region.
News/Photos: Watchara Noichomphoo.