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Vol. XIII No.5 - Sunday March 9, 2014 - Saturday March 22, 2014


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Update by Saichon Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Education
 

British boarding schools instill important values

UK Honorary Consul Ben Svasti Thomson joined representatives from St. Edmunds College, Windermere School, Dean Close, and Warminster School at Le Meridien Hotel on February 19, 2014

By Shana Kongmun
A recent visit to Chiang Mai by representatives from several British boarding schools introduced the concept to students in Chiang Mai at a meeting held at Le Meridien Chiang Mai. One school, Windermere School in the Lake District, offers summer school boarding options for students who want an introduction to the school and immersion in English language. Other schools offer the more traditional notion of British boarding schools such as St. Edmund’s College, Warminster School and Dean Close. Although the British Honorary Consul Ben Svasti Thomson, himself an alumnus of boarding schools, did note that times had changed since he was in school saying with a laugh that now they have hot water.
He added that attending a British boarding school allows the student to retain their Thainess but learn a new value system that promotes democracy, fairness, service to community and a abhorrence of corruption. He pointed out that King Rama V educated many of his children in the United Kingdom including King Rama VI who was educated Eton. The principles that students learn in schools in the British boarding system allow Thai students to become more competitive in the modern world and instill modern principles.


Graduation Day at Saraphi Technical College

These hill tribe kids are from the Saraphi Technical School in Saraphi. Some of them have been studying accounting and some took computer business classes. They recently completed a 3 month English course where they studied with a volunteer teacher, they learned such things like basic introductions and conversation, food and how to order food and ask questions in restaurants, school, what they study and what they want to do when they finish school and many other basics. Every class was full of enthusiastic questions and they even asked to give them homework. When they finished their last class, Arjan Jo and Stuart, with some donations from www.stuandthekids.org, took the kids to a hotel for a very nice buffet lunch. After graduation they enjoyed karaoke before entering the work world with educational qualifications.


Sidewalk classroom for Burma’s street children

The Platform Classroom educates poor Burmese children in Mandalay.

Democratic Voice of Burma, Chiang Mai, Thailand
For thousands of poor and homeless children in Myanmar, education is a distant dream, but one man in the city of Mandalay is trying to change that with a makeshift night school. Every evening a stretch of pavement by the railway is crammed full of children, their exercise books and bags scattered over the floor. Most of the students have to work to survive and because they can’t afford to go to school, many are stuck in a life of poverty.
“Most of their parents do menial jobs such as porters, cart drivers and janitors,” says Sein Win, who set up Platform Classroom five years ago, “Many others are single parents, usually mothers.”
For forty of Mandalay’s poorest street kids, it’s their only chance to get an education. Sein Win desperately wants to move the classroom into an apartment. The biggest challenge is the weather, he says, because classes are halted when it rains.
“I think it would be impossible to rent a place because apartment rental fees around here are between US$500 and $800 per month and we don’t have that budget,” he says, “If it keeps raining, we must send the kids home and call a substitute class later.”
There are seven teachers who work at the makeshift school as volunteers. The classes depend on donations – for school entrance fees for older students and learning materials for the younger ones.
“I am happy to be able to use my knowledge to help the children,” says one Burmese volunteer.
The children don’t care that it’s on the pavement – for them an education is a way out of poverty. Tenth-grader Maung Maung San says he is aiming for a distinction in English and economics, but the biggest challenge he faces is rain. Many of the students have faced hardships in their lives and rely on the Platform Classroom. It’s run at night so the students can still earn money during the day.
“My father passed away and my mother survives doing odd jobs,” says one female student, “My brother runs a motorbike taxi and my sister works at a store.”
Media attention in the past few months has also attracted some donors.
“I read about this class in a news journal and wanted to make a contribution,” says one Burmese donor, “The classes were closed during the SEA Games, so I just offered something now.”
Every year more and more kids come to learn at the Platform Classroom. Sein Win hopes that soon they will be able to afford to rent a flat so they can continue teaching, even when it rains.
This article was first broadcast on Asia Calling, a regional current affairs radio program produced by Indonesia’s independent radio news agency KBR68H and broadcast in local languages in 10 countries across Asia in conjunction with the Faculty of Mass Communications of Chiang Mai University. You can find more stories from Asia Calling at www.portalkbr.com/asiacalling.


Donation for autistic kids

Frank & Vanita Sethi from Fashion King donated 72,000 baht to the North Eastern Center for Autistic Children on March 1, 2014, here they were joined by students from the school, teachers, administrators and supporters. Frank and Vanita held their second annual popular Bollywood Masala Night held on October 4, 2013 at the Empress Hotel. (Photo courtesy of CityNow!)
 


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story] :

British boarding schools instill important values

Graduation Day at Saraphi Technical College

Sidewalk classroom for Burma’s street children

Donation for autistic kids

 


 



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