Until recently, migrant children from Burma living on the Thai-Burma border studying in migrant learning centers (MLCs) were not receiving an accredited education and older children often did not have access to non-formal education systems such as the Thai Non Formal Education (NFE) program. The NFE Director in Mae Sot expressed concern that it would not be possible for migrant students to study NFE at MLCs as the quality of teaching was not strong enough. This meant that migrant students would have to travel to a more distant NFE center or have no access to an education at all. In addition, migrant students who wished to enroll in the Thai NFE program often had little or no Thai language which is an essential skill to have when passing the NFE entrance exam and being successful in the NFE program. Thus students continued to fail and were unable to access this non-formal system.
The Migrant Education Coordination Center (MECC), an arm of the Thai Ministry of Education (MOE), was established to mobilize communities and work with schools to support migrant children of a suitable age to enroll in Kindergarten or Grade 1 in formal basic education in Thai government schools in Tak Province. MECC, in order to provide an alternative accredited form of education to older children, facilitated meetings and preparatory research to adapt the Thai NFE program for migrant children ages 9-15 studying in MLCs. To ensure that migrant students can access the adapted NFE curriculum, MECC is also supporting teachers and MLCs in providing intensive Thai language courses so that students can successfully pass the NFE entrance exam and enroll in the program.
MECC also provides specialized training and capacity building opportunities to strengthen Thai language teaching in MLCs. Recently, the Thai Non-Formal program was expanded to Phop Phra District, reaching more migrant students and ensuring that students in both Phop Phra and Mae Sot can access an accredited education.
As a result of the work of MECC, the first group of 21 students have successfully completed the three year Thai NFE primary school equivalency program and have received an official Thai MOE certificate. An additional 181 students have been able to enroll in the program and are currently working towards their equivalency certificates.
MECC Mission/Vision: We will raise better and more intelligent children in accordance with Thai traditions to step forward into ASEAN standards.
Link to PLE Strategy: PLE promotes host country ownership of programming and sustainable education service delivery systems for migrant students in Tak Province through a sub-grant to MECC, an office established under the Thai Ministry of Education. In PY6, MECC continues to facilitate the enrollment of migrant students into Thai government schools and administer the implementation and expansion of the Thai Non-Formal Education Program into migrant learning centers supported by partner BMWEC.
Partnership period: 1st December 2011 – 31st July 2017
Project location(s): Mae Sot District, Phop Phra District, Tak Province, Thailand
Project beneficiaries (direct & indirect): Migrant children and teachers at migrant learning centers