Vol. V No. 37 - Saturday September 9, - September 15, 2006
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ACADEMIA NUTS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Student from Chiang Mai University Demonstration School wins study trip to USA

Welcome back party at CMIS

Long Neck Karen in Chiang Mai treated as if in a human zoo

An International Qualification for an International World

Student from Chiang Mai University Demonstration School wins study trip to USA

Preeyanoot Jittawong
One hundred students from around the northern region took part in a quiz competition organised by the US Embassy to Thailand and Channel 11 radio and television station. The “US Embassy’s Quiz USA” had participants from Mathayom 1 – 6 (grades 7-12) and took place between August 26 and 27. Six lucky winners from around the country will receive a free 10 day study trip to the USA in October.

100 students from schools in Northern Region participating in the quiz contest.

This is the third time the US Embassy has organised the “US Embassy’s Quiz USA”. The competition takes place in six groups of regions. The thirteen northern provinces of Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, Nan, Mae Hong Son, Phayao, Phrae, Uttaradit, Phetchabun, Phitsanulok, Sukhothai, and Kamphaeng Phet were all represented by the 100 Mathayom students.
The first round was held at the International Centre, Chiang Mai, on August 26. The 39 winners from the first round then competed in the second round at the Channel 11 television station on August 27. After a two hour competition, Phanaphat Tharanad, a student at Chiang Mai University Demonstration School, emerged as the winner.
She received a prize of a study trip and the opportunity to study at the International Centre. She will be travelling to the USA along with winners from five other regions. Officers from the News and Public Relations Department of the US Embassy will be on hand to take care of the students and lend financial support.


Welcome back party at CMIS

Nikki Gamble, CMIS Admissions Officer
The Parent Teacher Group (PTG) of Chiang Mai International School recently sponsored a huge welcome back party for everyone in our school community to help celebrate the beginning of the academic year.

Barbecue at the CMIS welcome back party.

Director Supaporn Yanasarn, Principal Terry Gamble, and PTG President Caryl Ryan contributed a few formal words of welcome, and new teachers and parents were given special recognition through the presentation of jasmine leis.
For the rest of the time, parents had an opportunity to eat, chat, meet, and mingle with their children’s teachers in a casual setting, as well as to learn about school clubs and athletic activities, purchase school memorabilia, and sign up for future PTG events and fundraisers.
This year CMIS opened its doors to 82 new students from Kindergarten through to Grade 12, all of whom will add richness to our school’s diverse community of nearly 30 different nationalities.


Long Neck Karen in Chiang Mai treated as if in a human zoo

Saksit Meesubkwang
In recent weeks Chiangmai Mail reporters got wind of numerous complaints of mistreatment of Long Neck Karen in Mae Taeng, Mae Rim and Chiang Dao districts of Chiang Mai. The stories came from foreign tourists and human rights groups, disgusted at what they saw as exploitation by Thai business owners of the Long-neck Karen tribes-people. Visitors proclaimed that they were charged between 250-500 baht for visiting the Long Neck Karen and saw these people treated as if in a human zoo.
Various people alleged that in Mae Rim District, a business owner had rented an area of land from local villagers and allowed 16 Long Neck Karen people holding Burmese nationality to live there. They said that the business owner proclaimed that these Long Neck Karen people had already received permission to work on a farm, but in fact they were put on display to attract tourists. In the meantime, at Baan Huay Chomphu Village in Mae Taeng District, another 7 Long Neck Karen families, or 15 persons were also on display, although they had asked for permission to work on a farm in return for a rai of land.
As well as telling the media, the foreign tourists and human rights organizations also informed Pol. Col. Chamnan Ruadreuw, deputy commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police about this issue and asked him to take some action. The deputy commander reported the situation to Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of Provincial Police Region 5 and Pol. Maj. Gen. Jiruj Promobol, commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police. He then assigned police of Mae Rim and Mae Taeng stations to check at those points, where everyone claimed the Long Neck Karen were being abused.
After making enquiries, Pol. Col. Chamnan disclosed that the business owners claimed that as well as providing homes for the tribes people, they also showed the art and culture of the Long Neck Karen, so from the police point of view, this case needed further clarification to see if what was occurring was illegal or not. However, it was later learnt that immediately after the police had checked the two places displaying the Long Neck Karen in Chiang Dao and Mae Taeng, the business-owners had shut up shop and took the Long Neck Karen back to Mae Ai. The police also checked a similar situation in Mae Rim, but the Long-neck Karen are still continuing to live there.
A tour agency in the city of Chiang Mai also revealed that it had received a brochure from a business owner displaying Long Neck Karen and this information was also being published on a website www.baantongluang.com
The website offered tourists the opportunity to visit this tribe for free during the starting period but introduced a visiting fee since August 25
th, charging each individual visitor 500 baht; and 300 baht per person if part of a tour group.
Not satisfied with the outcome of the police investigation, Chiangmai Mail reporters interviewed several of the Long-neck Karen remaining at Mae Rim. Many were reluctant to speak out for fear of reprisals, but finally one tribes-man, who did not wish to be named, suggested that we should ask questions of Somjai Lewongdipong, president of Tribes Lifestyle and Bio-Agriculture Conservation Group.
Chiangmai Mail
spoke to Somjai, who disclosed that he had officially registered the Long Neck Karen as alien laborers and they were allowed by the government to stay legally in Mae Ai as alien citizens. He said that he also secured work permits for them to work on farms and he had found them jobs for the last three years. He, in cooperation with several associates had planned to run an agro-tourism business in the home-stay style in Mae Rim District. He invited the Long Neck Karen people from Mae Ai to move to Mae Rim District in order to do agricultural work there; and allow tourists to come and see them in their homes and experience their culture and lifestyle. He accepted that he had handed out the brochures persuading tourists to visit the Long Neck Karen in Mae Rim but it was just a tourism promotion. However, he later collected the brochures back after learning that there was a problem with the authorities regarding the work permit of the Long Neck Karen. He was informed by an official that his agro-tourism business using the Long Neck Karen as a tourist attraction was improper. He left the Long Neck Karen to stay at Mae Rim carrying on their usual lifestyle and stopped charging visitors to come and see them.
He added that the group of Long Neck Karen, who had moved from Mae Ai to Mae Rim, were willing to stay there with him because they had worked with him for several years prior to relocating there. He and his associates had just offered them a job, but other people pointed out that it was a tourism business. He strongly denied curtailing their freedom or controlling them in any way. They lived their normal lives the same as other people and tourists were allowed to visit them. They were employed as day laborers and each person received a wage of 135 baht a day. He said he was now taking care of 11 females, 2 males and 5 children. This Long Neck Karen home stay village had only been established 2-3 months, and he accused the media of criticizing the situation without learning all the facts of the case. He claimed that contrary to the stories that had been spread about the case, the Long Neck Karen had been treated well.
Having interviewed Somjai, reporters learned that some other businessmen in Mae Ai were afraid they would lose benefits if the Long-neck Karen left Mae Ai, so they spread rumors of abuse and malpractice to the human rights organizations and police, to discredit the Long Neck Karen village in the other locations.


An International Qualification for an International World

Jon Hartmann College counselor PTIS
International schools have usually sprung up around the world to satisfy the needs of expatriate students. They exist in a foreign education environment but offer similar programs to their national system to allow students from them to gain entry to universities in their home country. The idea of an international education is also attractive to local residents who want to see their sons and daughters speaking good English and studying overseas. Hence the International School grows. Some of these schools have American roots while some have English or French and they deliver an education similar to what the best schools, and national systems in the home country, could offer. No wonder they are popular! These schools offer good education with a national flavor and relatively smooth transition into universities of the home country. Some of these schools have become so large they can offer more than one graduation qualification. There is however another pathway in international education.
This pathway is a qualification that does not have its roots in the educational systems of home countries but is international in outlook and tries to incorporate the best elements of many education systems into one. I am referring to the International Baccalaureate which is run from Switzerland through an organization called the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) and produces a holistic education system running from Kindergarten to grade 12.
The final two years of the International Baccalaureate are called the IB Diploma Program (grades 11 and 12) and students who complete this have had to do more than just study subjects. They have had to fulfill, in a documented and rigorous fashion, the mission of the IBO which is to “develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. The emphasis is on encouraging students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people with their differences can also be right.”
How are these noble international ideals achieved? Each Diploma student must choose one subject from all of the 6 main areas of learning which are language, second language, individuals and societies, experimental sciences, mathematics and computer sciences, and the arts & electives. At least 3 of these and not more than 4 must be taken at a Higher Level.
This is a deliberate compromise between the depth of some national systems and the breadth of others. There are 3 additional requirements which make the IB Diploma different. All students must study the Theory of Knowledge (TOK), an interdisciplinary subject that unifies academic areas and promotes wide cultural appreciation by considering global issues through critical and compassionate thinking.
All students must also write a 4000 word extended essay in the subject of the student’s choice allowing in-depth exploration of the students’ ideas. This extended essay requires the students to utilize all the skills of research and writing expected at university. Finally students must participate for 150 hours in creative pursuits, physical activities and service projects. This is called the CAS requirement for the IB Diploma. This huge program is all done in 2 years.
Taken as a package, the IB Diploma Program has much to recommend it and has spread rapidly world wide and is being introduced within many of the national systems as an alternative. It combines serious scholarship at a high level with breadth and service and ensures all students have the necessary experience and commitment to handle university. It is significant that some of the best schools in the USA, Australia and the UK have introduced the IB.
So do IB students have any advantage in gaining entry to universities? A recent British study found that IB students compare favorably with A level students in the depth of what they study but their breadth gives them an advantage when taking combined degrees. IB students generally outperform A level students in critical thinking skills which the Theory of Knowledge course is based around.
97% of respondents from UK Universities were satisfied that the IB diploma prepares students well for University.
57% felt it gave them an advantage over A level students.
40% thought it gave them no advantage and 3% thought it disadvantaged them.
The conclusion is IB students are well received by British Universities.
What about the USA? There is no national body to make policy so each university has its own criteria. As an example, two Ivy League schools Stanford University and Princeton University give advanced credit for the IB diploma.
In Australia the IB is so well accepted the required score is in most handbooks. It is similarly accepted in Japan Canada, Singapore and Europe. IB students are therefore well received by all world University systems.
In conclusion why would a student want to do the IB Diploma?
1. It is a coherent program with a range of disciplines, all of which are experienced.
2. Its’ courses are divided into Higher and Standard levels allowing for different abilities.
3. It incorporates mind broadening and skill developing activities like TOK, CAS and extended essay.
4. The assessment strategies are many and varied and designed to test a range of skills
5. Students are studying a genuine international course which promotes international understanding in an ever increasing international world.
6. It is widely accepted as a College /University entrance criteria and preferred by some.
The IB diploma is therefore an interesting and different qualification for a secondary school student and worthy of careful consideration.



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