THOUSANDS of migrant children along the Thai-Myanmar border in Tak, Chiang Rai, and Ranong provinces are expected to benefit from an initiative launched yesterday.
The project is jointly run by Unesco Bangkok, Microsoft Thailand, True Corp and the Education Ministry’s Office of Non-Formal and Informal Education (ONIE).
Under the “Mobile Literacy for Out-of-School Children Project”, 20 migrant learning centres covering at least 1,440 students and 40 teachers have received 400 Windows tablets pre-loaded with a Unesco-designed app tailored to the specific needs of learners in these areas, while Microsoft will also provide funding and training support. The tablets have content for Thai, Burmese, Karen and mathematics subjects.
True Corp will also provide Internet and digital media from True Plook-panya, while ONIE has provided additional materials and training and will be key in the programme’s implementation.
To meet its goal of 4,000 learners and 100 teachers, this project will next year provide another 700 tablets for 2,560 pupils and 60 teachers.
Unesco Bangkok director Gwang-Jo Kim said the project reflected the international community’s aspirations to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals, notably Goal 4 – “to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. [ICT] will be harnessed to strengthen education systems, knowledge dissemination, information access and effective teaching and learning systems.”
ONIE educational standards promotion expert Wirun Ninlamot, said: “ONIE has provided teaching materials for migrant teachers and learners, including teacher guides for non-Thai children of primary school age based on the Non-Formal Education Basic Education Curriculum, preloaded onto the tablets. ONIE also supported training of 40 teachers on the ICT devices as well as ONIE materials.”
Wirun said there were more than 1.3 million migrants in Thailand, with 92,560 under 15 years old.
Suphachai Chearavanont, vice chair of Charoen Pokphand (CP) and True president and CEO, said the firm believed education was a solid foundation on which people could develop themselves and live harmoniously. CP group will also provide nutritious lunches to learners under this project, as part of a wider campaign that it has been running for over 25 years throughout the country.