Pol.Snr.Sgt.Maj. Somdul Poaon
His Majesty the King’s 7th Cycle Birthday Anniversary Border Patrol Police School
(Ban Maung Kua, Tak Province)
Patrol Police School (Ban Maung Kua) is located in Mae Chan Subdistrict, Umphang District, Tak Province. The school teaches at the preprimary level – Grade 3, with 17 teachers and staff and 453 students, most of them are Karen. As the school is in a remote area and located at national forest reserve, there is no electricity distribution system (Power transmission lines). The telecommunication system is unstable, thus creating a barrier to learning process.
Pol.Snr.Sgt.Maj. Somdul Poaon, Principal of His Majesty the King’s 7th Cycle Birthday Anniversary Border Patrol Police School said, “Since the school is about 337 kilometers away from the city of Tak, it is located in a remote area and thus has communication problems. Also, shortage of electricity and difficulty in transportation cause the students to have difficulty in persuing their study.”
In 2016, a research team from the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC), which is currently affiliated with the National Energy Technology Center (ENTEC), the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), has carried out the ICT for Lifelong Learning for marginalized communities project under the Royal Initiative of The Office of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s Projects (OPSP). The research team has installed a solar power generation system (stand-alone or off grid PV/hybrid system) and a telemetry or monitoring system for educational activities and also support electrical equipment for health activities, telemedicine services including school information systems such as lighting system in computer classroom and the Suksala Building (or infirmary)
Before starting a project, a researcher has provided knowledge to community leaders, teachers, and villagers about the benefits of this project. Pol.Snr.Sgt.Maj. Somdul said, “Community leaders and villagers agreed with the project because their children will have an opportunity to continue their studies with updated teaching and the communication is more convenient and faster.”
“This project has brought a great benefit to people in the community, for example, teachers can use computers with social media and various applications to educate their students. As for students, they can search the internet for information on their own and when they get sick, it can be used to consult a medical dotor for initial medical treatment or notify a medical agency in case of an emergency.” Pol.Snr.Sgt.Maj. Somdul said.
As for the extension of activities from the aforementioned project, Pol.Snr.Sgt.Maj. Somdul said, “The Office of Project Coordination under The Office of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s Projects (OPSP) has coordinated with the research team and King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi organizing professional skills development training in product design and digital marketing by applying ICT for students, alumni and villagers in the community. This course focuses on creating products from local agricultural raw materials such as chilli and bamboo, as well as developing a brand. Advertisement and packaging development also increase income for the community. In addition, the villagers have been trained to be able to produce LED lighting kits that are easy to use by themselves. They have been taught how to use, repair and maintain basic equipment including proper dispose of used batteries. OPSP also organize training for educational development by applying ICT in teaching and learning.”
This project has agency partners that support the project in various aspects, such as the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) has supported the budget for maintenance of the power generation system and organized the training to provide knowledge to solve the specific problems. Also, Advanced Info Service Public Company Limited (AIS) help takes care of telecommunication systems for schools and communities.
When asked about other impacts resulting from bringing technology into the community, Pol.Snr.Sgt.Maj. Somdul explained, “It’s good for the community where technology can help bring back its traditional culture, such as Ramtong dancing which is the folk art of the Karen tribe and Tena playing which is a folk instrument of the Karen tribe, Pga K’nyau, etc. However, about 70-80% of the Karen people in the village can speak, read and write Thai language.”
Pol.Snr.Sgt.Maj. Somdul expressed his appreciation that “The research team is always attentive and continuously monitors the results. The team also set up a system and has been giving advice by suggesting that the telecommunication system should be developed to support teaching and learning in the future. I am very satisfied with this project indeed.”