Opportunities and Limitations of Migrant Education in the Borderland of Thailand: Perspectives of Burmese Migrant Parents and Teachers

Takashi Miyajima

Abstract


For more than three decades, migrants from Myanmar have settled down in Mae Sot, so children’s education has become an important element in their life. For this reason, Burmese migrants send their children to school in Mae Sot, and there are many studies which mainly focus on the general characteristics of a schooling system about migrant education and the roles of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in migrant education. However, not many studies pay attention to Burmese migrant parents and teachers, particularly in the context of Mae Sot. This paper will focus on their perception with an aim to give an update on the situation and issues of migrant education in Mae Sot. This study adopts the qualitative methodology, by using in-depth interviews with Burmese migrant parents and teachers. Based on empirical data gathered from interviews, this paper argues that the motivation behind migrant parents and the idea of teacher illustrate the opportunities and limitations of migrant education in Mae Sot. Migrant children in Mae Sot have various opportunities for education such as Thai government schools (official school) and the Migrant Learning Centers (MLCs or non-official school), run by NGOs. However, Burmese migrant children still face uncertainty to access higher education in Thailand due to a lack of accreditation and Thai citizenship. Furthermore, the curriculum in Thai government schools is the core curriculum, so migrant students and teachers in the Thai government school face the difficulties of teaching and studying Thai class. In conclusion, by examining the perspectives from parents and teachers, migrant education in Mae Sot still requires further improvement, where Burmese migrants in Mae Sot have opportunities to study either at MLCs or at Thai government schools, and they are expected to contribute to both Thailand and Myanmar.


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References


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