With unprecedented challenges of the Information Age, the government of Thailand was fully aware of the importance in leading the country towards a learning society and seeing the need to create an alternative environment of learning especially for children and young people.
On January 13, 2004, the cabinet passed a resolution, in accordance with the government policy on social and quality of life development, to establish the Thailand Knowledge Park (TK park).
The office of Thailand Knowledge Park was established June 18, 2004 according to the announcement of the administrative committee of The Office of Knowledge Management and Development No. 4/2547; subject: Establishment and Management of Thailand Knowledge Park, which is a specialized organization under the Office of Knowledge Management and Development.
The objective of TKpark is to serve as the source of knowledge for the future. Therefore, the establishment of TK park presents with the new approach to an innovative vision to build Thailand towards a learning society by cultivating a positive attitude towards reading habit, the love of reading, creative thinking, and lifelong pursuit of knowledge among children and youth.
TK park : the Prototype
In order to provide creative learning environment, TK park began with the opening of the first prototype library at Central World Plaza in the heart of Bangkok on January 24, 2005. The prototype library, occupies over 3,700 square meters, comes to serve the Thai society as an easy-to-access public information center, facilitate the network of knowledge distribution and be convenient to use for creative life-long learning.
Operating under the concept of “Living Library”, TK park offers more than a hall of books; it is truly an alternative yet creative environment to recognize children’s learning experiences outside the classroom in different dimensions.
TK park marks itself as the creative learning space with a key role to cultivate and promote the habit of reading, pursuit of knowledge and lifelong learning among children and youth through a combination of books, activities, music and multimedia.
TK park also has a commitment to become a platform for youth to exchange ideas and experiences gained from an almost infinite variety of creative activities and workshops, all of which will lead them on the road of self-discovery in accordance with their own preferences and aptitudes.
In addition, TK park plays an important role to create a learning network with an aim to promote active participation from every sector of the society especially towards the holistic learning development of children and youth in Thailand.
Eight Years On
Eight years on, the implementation of TK park is still seen as one of the most successful learning promotion project that the Thai government has undertaken. Between the year 2005 and 2012, TK park has achieved its key roles in providing the opportunities for youth and the public in general to develop and strengthen their creative learning experiences, intelligences and skills through the state-of-the-art prototype of “Living Library”.
Art of learning activities
Major activities undertaken by TK park include the promotion of reading and learning at all levels through various promotional campaigns and creative methodology. TK park has introduced and incorporated an extensive use of educational tools, applications and other information technologies to provide a great accessibility in distributing the learning materials to a number of public learning spaces in local communities across Thailand.
There were many outstanding activities which were held at TK park during the past eight years. Our learning activities integrate between science and cultural art to promote extensive areas of learning. TK park also offers music learning activities” - the demonstration of various types of music with talks from the experts. At TK park, we regularly organize a variety of stage performances ranging from Thai classical music to Western music; music and lyric arrangement and singing performed by youths and music lovers under the name TK Band.
TK park regularly holds activities to strengthen reading and writing skills for youths and others, which are comprised of many projects such as Young Storyteller Award, Youth Volunteer for Community Libraries, Theater Workshop, TK Rising Star Program: i-book and TK Young Writer Academy. Besides, TK park conducts ICT skill trainings for youths such as TK Animation, TK Film Producers, E-book making workshop and many more.
Network, Learn & Grow
TK park realizes the need to extend and expand the living library concept to provide learning opportunities for children and youths in other parts of the country. That’s why; the learning prototype that headquartered in Bangkok has continued to grow its network through the empowerment of local organizations both in public and private sectors.
TK park Yala in the southernmost part of Thailand is the first regional TK park extension and started operation in February 6, 2007, presided over by H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. The TK park Yala is regarded as the 'Prototype Regional Knowledge Park’ in the form of a living library in order to expand the opportunities and access to reading, learning and information for children and youth in Yala, Pattani, and Narathivas provinces.
With a perpetual support from the TK park headquarters, a prototype of the “Living Library” continues to expand and develop into ten regional Knowledge Parks for public and private sectors to undertake activities for children and youth in every region of Thailand. By the end of 2013, TK park will expand networks with the establishment of 11 library venues; four in the South, three in the North, two in the East, one in the Northeast and one in central Thailand.
The prototype model of TK park has also been utilized by various interested governmental organizations including Ministry of Education and other levels of education organizations, particularly on the methodology employed in the model. This collaboration allows TK park to contribute to overall improvement in learning quality of the country via the administration and management of the living library concept to interested organizations in many provinces throughout Thailand.
The Office of the Basic Education Commission, under the Ministry of Education, has been working alongside with TK park in developing and monitoring over 250 prototype school living libraries all over the country. TK Mobile Library is another kind of prototype developed to outreach children and underprivileged people in communities enabling them to access to books and other learning resources.
The next important step to be taken by TK Park is to push forward the concept of "Living Library", expands and develops it in every part of the country. The new, yet creative learning spaces in different regions will act in accordance with each local context and as a strong support to the country’s basic education structure and learning ability of the Thai children for the cooperative mission of making Thai society a learning society.