Thailand Knowledge Park (TK park) extending TK Hub to all regions, hoping to create equality opportunity for intellectual development within five years
Thailand Knowledge Park (TK Park) held a press conference on the advancement of its “Creating intellectual opportunity by extending its network to the regions” strategy through collaboration with local administrative organizations in all regions. This strategy will create equal intellectual opportunity for youth all over the country. The goal is to open at least one TK Hub for each region in Thailand within five years.
Dr. Sirikorn Maneerin, President of TK park’s sub-committee and an executive committee member of the Office of Knowledge Management and Development (Public Organization) stated that TK park has recognized the importance of equal opportunity for intellectual development for youth all over the country and for the establishment of social equality. This goal complies with the national strategies of improving Thailand’s competitive edge and eliminating social inequality. It also conforms to the country’s preparedness to participate in the ASEAN Community.
The project’s primary goal is to create the force of change toward a more creative direction, an intellectual investment by the government. TK park has formulated a 5-year Road Map that includes systematic extension of its network to all regions through collaboration with local administrative organizations. The latter would provide capable leaders with readiness and willingness to operate all regional knowledge parks to benefit local people on a sustainable basis. The extension was planned on two levels: Regional Network (or TK Hub) located in major cities of each region and Provincial Network whose size varies with the size of each province. It aims to open at least one TK Hub in each region. TK Hubs will have influential roles in providing public services and mentoring service for work units in neighboring provinces.
“Today, TK park signed a memorandum of agreement with the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre (SBPAC), the Muang Pattani Municipality and Muang Narathiwas Municipality on the establishment of Pattani Knowledge Park and Narathiwas Knowledge Park by the end of 2014. Nakhon Ratchasima Knowledge Park, which will start the first phase of its operation in early 2014, will be a collaborative project between TK park and Nakhon Ratchasima Municipality. Chiang Mai Knowledge Park, a collaboration between TK park and Chiang Mai Provincial Administrative Organization, is expected to start operating in 2016”.
Dr. Sirikorn Maneerin added that: “TK park will transfer its knowledge on the living library development to the regional knowledge parks with special consideration given to local public participation while the local organizations will provide budgets for the construction of new buildings or the renovation of old ones. TK park will focus on the preparation of the contents and spiritual core of these hubs as well as on personnel training. It will be involved in the preparation of the contents of the books and electronics media for these knowledge parks. TK park will be responsible for the compilation of books with good local contents and the search for local identity which will affect the structure of its regional buildings.
This strategies and operational plans will fulfill the intellectual development of youth in all regions. TK park has begun its operation of 15 libraries in 10 provinces.
Mr. Boonlert Buranupakorn, President of Chiang Mai Provincial Administrative Organization, stated that Chiang Mai Knowledge Park is an old project that was planned when he was the mayor of Chiang Mai and has been revived under the supervision of the Provincial Administrative Organization. Since Chiang Mai is an academic town with over 10 universities and educational institutes, a modern learning park is required to stimulate reading, learning and to provide inspiration for children and youth. Chiang Mai Knowledge Park has been designed with the intention of becoming the site for the collection of local contents that represent Chaing Mai’s true identities and its fundamental roots that children and youth can come to learn.
This project is pending budget approval. The total budget is expected to be 150 million baht for the construction of one building and an activity ground. It is to be built on the compound of the old women penitentiary. The budget is expected to be approved in 2014 and the construction started in early 2014. The construction period will be 18 months. As the center of the northern region’s network, Chiang Mai Knowledge Park will be officially open in 2016.
The situation is the same for Nakhon Ratchasima Knowledge Park whose budget is being requested for the 2014 fiscal year. Mr. Surawut Cherdchai, Nakhon Ratchasima mayor, stated that he loved reading so much that he hosted the Book Week in Nakhon Ratchasima on his own. He would like to cultivate the love of reading and learning among local resisents and has wanted to set up a knowledge park for many years. He has wanted a more creative learning resource than a normal library.
For the establishment of Nakhon Ratchasima Knowledge Park, the book-worm mayor revealed that the project’s first phase will involve the renovation of the Chunhawan Building, an old building located on the old city moat next to the Yaa Mo Ground and a public park. A renovation of the area landscape will be implemented to turn it into an open ground for creative children activities while the unique identity of Nakhon Ratchasima will still be retained. The area will be a blend of the city’s past, present and future. It is expected that the project’s first phase will be ready for operation by February 2014. To create the best opportunity for Korat residents and their children, the Knowledge Park’s budget and management will be provided by Nakhon Ratchasima Municipality.
Mr. Pitak Korkiattipitak, mayor of Pattani Province, stated that the establishment of Pattani Knowledge Park was initiated by the diminishing learning opportunities of children in the three southern border provinces diminishing shment of Pattani Tand their 4induced by the area’s political situation, especially the children’s access to modern learning innovations. Pol. Colonel Tawee Sodsong, Secretary of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre (SBPAC), who witnessed Yala TK park’s success in organizing activities for children of different religious faiths and cultures since its inception six years ago, proposed an extension of TK park to Pattani and Narathiwas. He was certain that they would allow local children to have equal learning opportunities in academic subjects, science and technology while being educated in cultures, languages and religions. Pattani Knowledge Park is located at the heart of Pattani Province, on Pattanipirom Road.
In addition, a survey on the local people’s opinions and needs regarding the establishment of Pattani TK park was conducted. This led to the construction of a building of unique architectural design inspired by the shape of Kor Lae boat and the glass patterns reflected downward as a town of three combined cultures – Chinese, Buddhist Thai, and Muslim Thai. The building represents the pride and identity of Pattani residents. Built on the initial construction budget of 100 million baht provided by SBPAC, it is expected to open for service towards the end of 2014.
For Narathiwas Knowledge Park, Mr. Thanawit Chaiyanuphong, the mayor of Narathiwas, stated that since the province was critically deprived of learning and IT opportunities he had made a study visit to Yala Knowledge Park and decided to request a 100 million budget from SBPAC for the establishment of Narathiwas Knowledge Park. This will be a new two-storey building and an open square located in a 2.5 rai plot of land near Kromluang Narathiwas Ratchanakarin Park.
The building’s design and blueprint were a combination of the province’s distinctive identities such as the golden leaves, Kor Lae boats, waterfalls and the sea. Narathiwas Knowledge Park is proud to present its ancient dialect, “Jeh He”, which is the spoken language of Narathiwas people. They are in the process of compiling a book about this language. The construction of Narathiwas Knowledge Park is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
In addition, Dr. Sirikorn spoke about TK park’s mission of extending its operation to the regional level: “It is our duty to transfer knowledge about the development of the living-library in the form of a knowledge park with special emphasis on local people participation. This way the locals will have a sense of true ownership among for their knowledge parks. In doing so, each local community must provide budgets for the construction or renovation of the building and for a sustainable management of the project. Our budget will be spent in preparing local contents and identifying the spirit core of each knowledge park as well as in personnel training, developing books and electronic media. TK park will collect worthy books and local narratives as part of a search for local pride and identities to be used in the designing of the library”.