Author Topic: Isaan school aims to reach kids before they drop out  (Read 496 times)

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Offline Johnnie F.

Isaan school aims to reach kids before they drop out
« on: June 10, 2013, 06:34:21 AM »
Isaan school aims to reach kids before they drop out

Bilingual institute in Chaiyaphum has 131 students

Lots of youngsters in remote communities of Sap Yai district in the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum are at risk of dropping out of school due to abject poverty and a living environment conducive to delinquent behaviour.

Pratin Jankarnrai, 49, a resident, said many children had left school because their parents had moved to Bangkok to work at construction sites and in factories. Even though some of them had brought their children to stay with them and study in Bangkok, they still dropped out.

About 60 per cent of parents in those communities work in other provinces, leaving their kids behind at home with their grandparents, according to Tim Beaumont, founder of the Beaumont Partnership Foundation and Beaumont Ruam Pattana School.

The bilingual school was established to be a beacon for young people there to bring them a better life.

"Children of 14-15 years of age are at a critical point. Some become delinquent while others have to stop their studies because their parents can't earn enough money to pay for their education," he said.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's records for 2010 show that 980,000 children of construction workers in big provinces who were from the North and Northeast and child labour migrants from the border had no access to education, so they are prone to unemployment, sexual assault, crime and social problems.

In the hope that educational equity and quality, occupational skills and English language communication will help the youngsters and their families there address the problems, Beaumont decided to put up the school in Nongyang Pattana village of Tambon Takothong.

Recently, the school opened for the first batch of students in Kindergarten 1, 2 and 3 and Prathom 1 and 2 (grades 1 and 2). A total of 131 students enrolled.

School director Suphrommet Thaeosopha said Stamford International University (Thailand) and Harrow International School helped it create the Thai-English curriculum. It focuses on child-centred teaching so pupils now learn while having fun from 16 teachers.

"Our school also supports community enterprises. Locals here can study organic agriculture and basketry so they can make their own products as part of their community enterprises.

"This will help them generate income without moving to work outside their communities," he said.

The school plans to provide bilingual education free of charge to 400 students from kindergarten to the secondary level in the long run.

About Bt100 million is being spent on the school. The foundation is also seeking donations of US$1,000 (about Bt30,000) per year for six years to sponsor the students' education

The school's facilities are modern and look not that different

from those seen at international schools in Bangkok, but the differences are the surrounding communities and people who have irregular incomes.

Siriphorn Toeiboonthaworn, 26, said she sent her three-year-old son to Beaumont instead of an urban school because it is not far from home and she is confident that it would offer a free and good bilingual education to her son.

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