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Chevron Enjoy Science and Khon Kaen University launch a new TVET Hub to enhance STEM education and support industrial growth in the Northeastern Thailand

Dr. Suvit Maesincee, Minister of Science and Technology (fourth left), Mr. Suchai Butrsara, Deputy Governor of Khon Kaen (third right), Associate Professor Dr. Lampang Manmart, Vice President of Khon Kaen University (fourth right), and representatives of the Chevron Enjoy Science Project, led by Mr. Pairoj Kaweeyanun, President of Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production, Ltd. (third left) and Mr. Richard Bernhard, Executive Director, Kenan Institute Asia (far right), jointly launched the TVET Food Processing Hub to support workforce development and position the province as the center of the food processing industry in northeastern Thailand.

The Technical and Vocational Education and Training Hubs (TVET Hubs), powered by the Chevron Enjoy Science Project, operate with the aim of allowing students and teaching personnel in vocational education to gain experiences that respond to the requirements from the industrial sector. The Hubs’ emphasis is on developing qualified technicians to feed into the market, lifting the capacity of the populace and promoting future economic growth.

The TVET Food Processing Hub is an initiative between Khon Kaen University and the Chevron Enjoy Science Project that will benefit more than 75 teachers and 15,000 students from 15 technical colleges in Khon Kaen and nearby provinces. The students and personnel from 15 vocational colleges in the network will gain benefits from the TVET hub through trainings, access to teaching equipment, and curricula management, all of which will strengthen knowledge and serve as the foundation for professional development.

Khon Kaen province was selected as one of the six TVET hub locations because of its strategic location in the northeastern region. Its location and possession of abundant education, trade, investment and transportation facilities enabled the area to become the center of connection between the northeast region and the rest of Thailand and neighboring countries. Also, Khon Kaen province is armed with capabilities in agriculture while being the operational site of major businesses in the food industry. In addition, Khon Kaen University (KKU) is recognized as an institution that promotes education to people across the nation. Renowned for its agriculture research, KKU has been a leader in catalyzing development and innovation for the food industry in Thailand. Given KKU’s strategic location, track record and expertise, the Chevron Enjoy Science Project selected the university as the ideal home for the TVET Food Processing Hub.

As the coordinator of the hub, KKU will work with vocational colleges in northeast Thailand to enhance the capabilities of students pursuing a career in the agriculture and food industries. The hub acts as a node in a network that works to lay the foundation for the production of qualified technicians that will enter the industrial sector, specifically the food processing industry, which is a driving force for the country’s economic growth.

The collaboration between Chevron Enjoy Science and KKU reinforces the project’s commitment to promote STEM education among Thai youth and educational institutions by working with public sector agencies to instill an awareness of the importance of STEM knowledge – crucial skills for the 21st century – and to arm Thailand’s populace with intellectual tools in the Industry 4.0 era. With the establishment of the new TVET hub, the partners have now formed Thailand’s first ever comprehensive STEM education enhancement model, which covers STEM education for both the general and vocational education systems. The model consists of: 1) a STEM hub to build the learning and teaching capacity in science and mathematics in the general education system at the lower secondary level; 2) a TVET hub to develop a foundation of professional skills related to STEM for students of local vocational education institutions at the secondary level; and 3) Fostering STEM education experiences outside of the classroom through Thailand Children’s University to inspire youth and instill a culture of STEM learning.

The TVET Food Processing Hub is the fifth hub established by the Chevron Enjoy Science Project. The hubs operate in cooperation with educational institutions in various regions of the country and are administered by Kenan Institute Asia. The Chevron Enjoy Science Project will continue its pursuit of developing STEM education for Thai youth, as well as offering constant skills development for educators. At the present, over 750,000 students from the general and vocational education systems and over 6,000 teachers and management from educational institutes have already benefited from the project’s initiatives

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