World Education Thailand strives to provide educational opportunities to adults and children from Burma who are living in refugee camps and migrant communities in Thailand. World Education believes that local organizations are best positioned to implement projects and effect change within their communities, so all projects are managed through partnering with local organizations to design curriculum, train teachers, advocate for policy change, and provide learning opportunities for adults and children in a wide range of subjects and contexts.
Since 1980, World Education has helped to ensure that the children of Burmese refugees and migrants are able to attend school.
History of World Education in Thailand
World Education began operating in Thailand in 1980 as part of a Consortium with World Learning and Save the Children U.S. The organizations jointly implemented an assistance program for refugees from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia who had entered Thailand and were being resettled in the U.S. From 1980-1995, the Consortium provided cultural orientation training, English as a Second Language courses, and preparation programs for children in Ban Vinai and Phanat Nikhom camps. During these 15 years, the Consortium:
- Trained more than 3,000 teachers, both Thai and from other nations.
- Prepared more than 60,000 refugees for their move to the US. Half of these refugees were not literate when they arrived in Phanat Nikhom; most were when they left.
- Created more than 200 curricula, textbooks, teacher handbooks and student books for adults and children.
In 1998, Consortium Thailand shifted its focus to supporting the efforts of education leaders in the Karen and Karenni camps along the Thailand-Burma border. From 1999- 2005, the Consortium of World Education and World Learning (but not Save the Children) implemented a program whose goal was to support the development of an effective and sustainable education system that could be replicated and adapted once the refugees returned to Burma. Consortium worked in refugee camps in Mae Hong Son, Mae Sarieng, Tak, Tham Hin and Ban Don Yang to develop curriculum, support school libraries and a teachers’ college, provide school management and teacher training, and support adult literacy and special education activities through the Karen Women’s Union.
In 2005, World Education Thailand separated from World Learning and now manages all projects independently, in partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) on the IMPACT and PLE projects and with numerous local NGOs and community-based organizations on all projects.