From November 21-23, 2016 World Education Thailand hosted Senior Officials from the Department of Alternative Education (DAE) under the Ministry of Education (MoE) Myanmar in Mae Sot, Tak Province in order to discuss education access for migrant children from Myanmar in Thailand. The visit and MoE engagement with migrant education sought to strengthen coordination and consultation mechanisms for future education planning and policy development at the Department of Alternative Education in Myanmar.
The region is home to approximately 14,000 migrant students currently studying at 61 learning centers. After visiting Hsar Mu Htaw Learning Center, the Kilometer 42 Non Formal Primary Education (NFPE) Center and Ban Mae Tao Mai School, Dr. Khine Mye, Director General, DAE, Dr. Thant Sin, Deputy Director General, U Khin Maung Htwe, Deputy Director General, participated in a bilateral consultation with the Royal Thai Government, in order to explore opportunities for enhanced linkages between the two governments. Facilitated by Dr. Premjai Wangsiripaisan from Chulalangkorn University, and alongside representatives from World Education, UNESCO, UNICEF, the DAE officials and RTG representatives Dr. Rangsan Maneelek, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister’s office and Mr. Anothai Thaiwannasri, Director of Tak PESAO 2 expressed strong commitments to migrant education and to jointly tackling the issues of access and accreditation in education for migrant children through a bilateral Joint Working Group.
These commitments were again echoed in a follow-up meeting between the DAE officials and wider stakeholders active in migrant education, where recommendations were presented on the need for flexible pathways toward migrant student accreditation and migrant teacher recognition, for the up-scaling of non-formal programming for out-of-school children, as well as the need for policy around equivalency and transition.
The Department of Alternative Education is a newly formed department in the Ministry of Education in Myanmar, and has shown commitment to identifying solutions for accredited education for out-of-school migrant students through the funding of 13 NFPE centers in Tak.
The visit concluded with the commitment to establish a partnership mechanism to inform policy development for migrant education in the future between respective stakeholders and the DAE, and to promote data sharing, research, analysis and policy development. Dr. Khine Mye confirmed the Department of Alternative Education’s commitment to providing flexible pathways to recognized education from Myanmar for migrant children stating that in this new political era “we must collaborate”.