PLE (Project for Local Empowerment)
The PLE project provides support for refugees and migrants to meet essential health and education needs. PLE is a partnership between World Education Thailand, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and Thai-Burma Border Consortium (TBBC). The PLE project is made possible by the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
World Education Thailand's goal in the PLE project is to support access to quality education for migrants, refugees, and displaced persons from Burma. Under the PLE project World Education Thailand helps to develop capacity, provide resource support, and empower communities and their education systems. To carry out this strategy, World Education Thailand:
- Develops curricula and teaching materials.
- Trains teachers, school directors and youth leaders, including staff of local organizations.
- Supports education-based community initiatives such as parent-teacher associations (PTAs) and parent training.
- Provides monetary and management support through sub-grants to community-based organizations (CBOs), who implement programs in formal education, literacy, special education and experiential learning.
Through PLE, World Education is working in Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Tak provinces, with over nine different ethnic minority groups including the Karen, Karenni, Shan, Pa'O, Mon, Ahka, Arakan and Kachin.
In the PLE project, World Education Thailand administers the following programs:
World Education trainers deliver training to migrant school teachers in curriculum implementation .
Curriculum Development & Teacher Training
Children from Burma who are living in Thailand may attend migrant learning centers (taught in Burmese language) or local Thai schools. World Education works closely with the Thai Ministry of Education (MoE) to ensure that migrant learning centers throughout Thailand use a consistent, standards-based curriculum that integrates with the Thai national curriculum. Standardizing curricula is an important step in encouraging the MoE to grant official legal status for the migrant schools and allow migrant students to more easily move from migrant schools to Thai schools in the future. In addition, World Education program staff train and mentor teachers – including migrant, refugee, and Thai teachers – to improve their instructional skills so that they can better meet the physical, cognitive, social, and psychological needs of their students. Teachers learn how to map their curricula, produce lesson plans with appropriate learning activities, and create environments that are conducive to student learning. World Education also facilitates an annual Training of Trainers (TOT), a one-month residential workshop that includes principles of adult learning, facilitation, planning and designing a training, assessment, and evaluation. Graduates of the workshop may become part of a team of trainers who mentor local teachers, conduct workshops in classroom subject methodology, and update curriculum.
Working through partner organization Karen Women's Organization (KWO), World Education provides training to special education teachers in seven refugee camps along the Thailand-Burma border. World Education has documented and facilitated the development of Karen sign language, which is now used by the deaf communities in the camps. In the Mae Sot migrant community, World Education supports the Starflower School, a learning center for children with special needs and physical and mental disabilities.
Burmese students participating in a class activity at a migrant school
Burmese students who have completed grade 10 in refugee or migrant schools often cannot access formal higher education programs. In response to this gap, World Education partners with local CBOs to implement schools and training for youth who want to gain further experience so they can work for local organizations and schools. Wide Horizons (WH), the English Immersion Program (EIP), and the Mon Post-Ten school are 1-2 year programs that teach community development, teaching skills, project management, computers, and lifeskills in an intensive English-speaking residential environment. The Global Border Studies (GBS) program focuses on ethnic identity, reconciliation, and development through a two-year English-language program that incorporates distance learning support. PLE partners also manage two Teacher Preparation Centers in migrant communities and refugee camps. The Centers provide a one-year pre-service teacher training program to young people from communities near the Thailand-Burma border who will return to their communities to teach in local schools.
Community Support for Education
World Education program staff train and support community initiatives that strengthen local schools. Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) in more than 20 communities train parents to start small income generation projects, support their children’s schooling, and understand psychosocial issues for children who have experienced trauma. World Education trainers also work with PLE health staff to educate teachers and PTA members on public health issues affecting school communities.
Sub Grant Support
World Education Thailand works closely with several established community-based organizations (CBOs) along the border through sub-grant support and training in organizational management. The organizations that World Education Thailand works most closely with include:
The Karen Teachers Working Group - teacher training and support
The Burmese Migrant Workers Education Committee (BMWEC) - migrant school support and teacher training
The Karen Women's Organisation - special education and adult literacy
Migrant Education (ME) group - migrant school support
Karen Refugee Committee Education Entity (KRCEE) - refugee schools support and teacher training
Karen Educational Department (KED) - teacher training and support
Mon National Education Committee (MNEC) - teacher training and school support
Shan Education Committee (SEC) - teacher training and school support
World Education collaborates with the Royal Thai Government Ministry of Education (MOE) to support all teacher training, curriculum development, and community initiatives. MOE facilitates logistics for teacher trainings, maintains data on migrant learning centers, and conducts workshops on teaching techniques, Thai language, and summer school for youth. World Education also works with MOE to support the transfer of students from migrant learning centers to Thai schools, through providing intensive Thai language training and dedicated teacher support.