Migrant Schools Forced To Close As International Donors Withdraw

Parents and education service providers of migrant communities in the Thai border town of Mae Sot are struggling to continue sending their children to school. Migrant education organisations told Karen News that the closure of migrant schools is caused by withdrawal of funding by international donors.

Officials from the Thai Ministry of Education, the Burmese Migrant Workers Education Committee, World Education and parents of migrant students’ held a meeting on February 14, to discuss how to cope with the funding crisis.

Naw Paw Ray, chairperson of the BMWEC, spoke to Karen News about the current migrant education problems.

“Funding for our migrant schools is completely stopping. We, the migrant education providers and Thai officials from the MOE discussed with the students’ parents what can we do – what opportunities and ways we have here in Thailand or back in Burma to tackle the education problem. We explained the situation to the parents to understand the problem.”

Naw Paw Ray said that they also looked to find ways to keep migrant schools open with cooperation from the parents, education service providers and teachers.

The two-hour meeting discussed the current situation of migrant schools and possible ways to keep school running after the funding completely stops. Thai Ministry of Education officials also explained about the provision of accepting migrant children from Burma into Thai schools.

A migrant student’s mother (who asked not to be named) spoke to Karen News.

“Our children have no legal documents and it is difficult for us to send them to Thai schools. It is not easy to move them from place to place. It is more relevant for our children to study at the migrant schools so they can continue their education. I really want my children to continue study at a migrant school.”

In four districts in Tak Provinice including the Mae Sot district, there were 75 migrant schools in 2013, but BMWEC statistics for the academic year 2014-2015, show that the number of migrant schools had decreased to 65 schools due to the funding cuts. Migrant education providers said that they are expecting to see more schools closed in the coming year as funders continue to withdraw from the Thai Burma border.

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