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Sufficiency Economy Rajabhat University Project for Thailand

In honor of King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, and to strengthen the legacy of his Sufficiency Economy Philosophy, we have developed a project proposal for Rajabhat Universities in Thailand. Rajabhat universities are publicly funded universities, similar to State Universities in the United States. In fact, like State Universities, Rajabhat Universities started out as “Teacher’s Colleges,” before expanding into universities with a full range of faculties and departments.

The proposal we offer is the “Rajabhat SEAT Program”. The project would be guided by the late King of Thailand’s philosophy of rural development, with the SEAT acronym standing for “Sufficiency Economy Adopt and Tambon”. A “tambon” is a sub-district in Thailand, and the project proposes that every Rajabhat University in Thailand adopt a tambon each year, engaging projects to help develop that tambon’s schools, small businesses, farms and gardens, temples, parks, buildings, and traditional arts and crafts.

This Sufficiency Economy project would organized by university teachers in different faculties, and carried out by the students of each faculty, under the supervision and guidance of the teachers. The projects would be integrated into existing courses, so that students can apply what they are learning in the classroom into concrete action in the real world.

 

Thailand Rural Development
These 6 Pillars are based on King Bumibhol Adulyadej’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy and his work in rural development.

The ultimate goal of the project would be to make the chosen tambon and its villagers more self-sufficient, resilient, and efficient (in keeping with the Sufficiency Economy philosophy). In addition, the project has a goal of increasing local Thai tourism, as well as foreign tourism, to the province as a whole. While the project would not necessarily require any additional funding, large commercial enterprises in the province (such as banks and factories) could be asked to donate funds for larger, more costly development projects.

The activities of all projects would be recorded and promoted via articles, photographs, and videos published on a Rajabhat University website specifically created for Rajabhat SEAT Program. This would allow students who are not actively involved in a tambon development project to still take part in the program by shooting videos, taking photos, and writing articles (in both Thai and English).

Every year, each Rajabhat University would “adopt” a new tambon in their province, thus making this a long term program that could go on for many years, giving many classes of students valuable “hands-on” learning experiences, while also fulfilling one of the core aims of the Rajabhat University system: to assist in the development of local communities by the application of knowledge and wisdom.

The Rajabhat SEAT Program aligns closely with our proposal for a new Competency-Based Curriculum Framework in Thailand, and could easily be developed as an extension of that framework, which targets students at the Mathayom (high-school) level. The program also could be integrated with our suggestions for developing Thailand’s Soft Power and Reforming Education in Thailand.

Rajabhat University Development Projects

 

David Alan
Sakon Nakhon Isaan