The PISAI Project is co-funded by the ERASMUS + Programme of the European Union and successfully launched. The project involves 4 main Thai universities situated in key agricultural production areas that cover different geographical parts of the country. Kasetsart University was established as the agricultural university in Bangkok, the center of country development. Prince of Songkla University was established as the hub of higher education in the South of Thailand and the Faculty of Natural Resources is among the first priority faculties in supporting agricultural development in the region. Chiangmai University is the nothern education hub, particularly in agriculture, as there are many hill tribe peoples and flat highland areas suitable for the production as the main sites of the King’s agricultural development projects which play an extremely important role in both the economy and society. Khon Kaen University is the first university establehed in the Northeast where the climate is drastic in the dry season and majority of people are poor. The four Thai consortium universties have had a large impact on agricultural science with high quality education, and have long term experience in EU project management and participation. Our EU partners, SupAgro, UCPH, CULS and UHEL were selected based on their outstanding skills, competences and experience. SupAgro is one of the top agriculture Higher Education Institutions in France, specialised in management of natural resources, rural development and the agri-food sector. UCPH is one of the largest universities in northern Europe and ranked # 6 globally in the field of Agriculture with experiences in business-oriented approach to ecological interactions and agricultural production. CULS’s Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences is the active partner who has a long- term experience with Erasmus program in the related area of the agrarian sector and international development cooperation. UHEL belongs to the League of European Research Universities (LERU), and is ranked within the top 1% of research universities in the world and in the field-specific rankings “Agriculture” was at place 28 in the world in 2015 (NTU). AGRINATURA is the association of the 26 HEIs in Europe dealing with Agricultural Research and Higher Education for Development. Therefore, the their involvement in the PISAI will support and contribute to the achievement of the project activities and goals at national and international levels. The project involves 7 associate organisations which are active in cooperation with small holder and local farmers and govenmental sectors that will be helpful in providing study sites, experience, knowhow, valuable advice and dissemination of project activities.
Double degree arrangements between Thai universities is not common or is rarely implemented. However, there are a number of double degree programs between one Thai HEI with overseas institutes, particularly in Europe. The initiative in creating double degrees at the master’s degree level between the key agricultural institutes (KU,PSU, CMU and KKU) with support from EU partners under this project will be a breakthrough in Thailand. Active cooperation with participation of practical entrepreneurs under supervision of academics and practioners will bring about the outputs and outcomes applicable to the actual production situations which are the most important element in a successful education project goal. The establishment of cooperation with the private sector is important not only for student learning outcomes but also for curriculum improvement and university perfomance as whole particularly, for the rapid economic change and global impact. An innovative approach will be ensured by external assessment and a self monitoring process.
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