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
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
“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
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
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!)
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