Migrant Education in Thailand
Nono Seesar, our Project Co-Ordination in Mae Sot and herself a graduate of migrant education programmes, considers the past, present and future of education on the border.
For students at migrant schools in Mae Sot it’s exam season. Grade 4, 8 and 10 from six migrant schools are taking their Myanmar government official tests today. This includes New Blood School supported by Thai Children’s Trust.
Education officers from the Myawaddy Education Department conduct these exams in migrant schools. The current students are doing really well. My thoughts flew to the last 2 years…
Migrant students attended school with the help of international aid. Some attempted to finish high school and some did not. After finishing Grade 12, students got a certificate which was neither accredited by the Myanmar or Thai government. Their education was not recognised.
If the students had finished high school in their mother country, they could have had many different choices for the future ahead. But here, away from home, their choices were narrow. Just 10% of students were granted a university scholarship to continue their education through the English post ten program.
If we compare today with recent years, the conditions for educational opportunity are positively improving. As the country is changing politically, the Thai government’s strict policy on Burmese migrants is gradually becoming more flexible.
The Thai government recently confirmed that those who go to Thai school are eligible to receive a Thai ID card. These special cards are valid for 10 years, meaning the holder may remain in Thailand to complete their education. Similarly, the Myanmar government is now trying to offer more education opportunities for migrant students.
Although new opportunities are now becoming available, will students from a disadvantaged background be able to benefit from them?
International charitable organisations, INGOs and NGOs bridge the gap for these children. In these cases the role of donor is still crucial. Without your support, the students would have no access to education.
Donors of Thai Children’s Trust offer a large amount of support to New Blood Migrant High School which has over 600 students. Owing to its high standards, New Blood School has become a government approved testing centre for migrant children in Mae Sot.
Your donations support the basic needs of the New Blood students, including food costs. Nutrition is significantly important for children hoping to make a success of their education. While education should be for all, it can’t be exploited to its full potential by a child with an empty stomach.
With your support we hope that those children taking their exams will have more opportunities and a more certain future. And of course we wish the students the best of luck at this stressful time in their school careers.
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Written by Thai Children's Trust