In the border town of Mae Sot, the delivery of education to children of migrant parents varies significantly. While some children attend Royal Thai Government schools, many encounter barriers enrolling and continuing their education, such as language difficulties and lack of documentation. Instead, many migrant children on the border obtain education from migrant learning centers, which are often unable to be recognized by the Thai government, resulting in academic and professional constraints (Save the Children International & World Education, 2015).
In 2016, Burma Border Projects (BBP) has committed to support local partners on the Thai/Burma border in the area of education resource development and program implementation.
English Language Learner (ELL) Programs
English education is central to the work of BBP. Becoming proficient in English is perhaps the single most important means to greatly expand opportunities for children living in a global society. Having English language skills can significantly enhance a young person’s prospects for future academic and career advancement. BBP’s English program is offered with the expectation that having a command of the English language will make it possible for these young people to lead more productive and satisfying lives. BBP provides English classes to children and youth at boarding houses and migrant schools at basic and vocational levels.
BBP’s English language development programs:
- English Language Learner (ELL) program for children and youth
- Capacity training for English teachers working in partnering boarding homes and migrant schools
- Vocational English classes for youth
- English Summer Camps
ELL Program: BBP offers English Language classes to children and youth at Overseas Irrawaddy Association (OIA) boarding house and New Wave School (NWS). BBP’s vision is to support both OIA and NWS in their commitment to providing educational support and personal growth to migrant children on the Thai-Burma border. The English program is offered in hopes that having command of the English language will open the doors to enhance educational and economic opportunities of migrant children.
Vocational English Classes: Fluency in English is often sought as an occupational qualification and it is recognized as a universal language that significantly expands educational and professional opportunities. In Southeast Asia, it allows a person to work in a variety of occupations, particularly in the growing hospitality and tourism industry, thereby making it far less likely of their being forced into exploitative work. Along the border, BBP provides vocational English along with computer classes to children and youth with the goal of expanding employment and educational opportunities.
English Language Capacity Training: “Most of the students of the primary schools in rural areas are weak in English language due to lack of skilled and trained teachers who are familiar to the modern methods and approaches of teaching and lack of materials for teaching in the classroom” (Hossain, 2016). With the vision of delivering effective and sustainable English language courses within the community, BBP offers English language capacity training to teachers at partnering boarding houses and migrant schools.
English Camps: Burma Border Projects (BBP) organizes English Camps for migrant children residing in local safe houses along the border. The ESL Camps are implemented to offer children a weeklong English emersion program. The curriculum merges English learning with instructional and recreational activities. We provide a fun space for children to become confident early learners of a foreign language by helping them to understand and respond to basic play instructions.
BBP is committed to the ongoing development of new educational and vocational programs for migrant children and youth.