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

Takashi Miyajima


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.

Full Text:



Fraser, C.E. (2016). “Education Opportunities for Burmese Migrant Students in Takua Pa District”. Master Thesis, Chulalongkorn University

Kuncoro, W. (2014). “Burmese-Muslim Social Networks in the Borderland: A case Study of Islam Bomroong Muslim Community in Mae Sot, Tak Province Thailand”, MasterThesis, Chiang Mai University.

Kunnawut, B. (2016). “Newly-Arriving Rohingya Integrating into Cross-Border”, in Samak Kosem (eds.) Border Twists and Burma Trajectories: Perceptions, Reforms, and Adaptations (pp.245-266). Center for ASEAN Studies, Chiang Mai University: Chiang Mai.

Lee, S.K. (2007). “Integrating Others: A Study of Border Social System in the Thailand-Burma Borderland”, Ph.D. Thesis, National University of Singapore.

(2013) “Migrant School in the Thai-Burma Borderland: from the Informal to Formal”, Asia Pacific Journal of Education 34(1): 125-138.

Nobpaon,R. and Hayami, Y. (2013) “Seeking Haven and Seeking Job: Migrant Worker’s Networks in Two Thai Locales” Southeast Asian Studies, 2(2): 243-283.

Nongyao, N. (2012) “Schooling and Activism in a Zone of Exception: Migrant Learning Centers on The Thai-Burma Border”, Deterritorializing Thai-Burma Borderlands (pp.117-157). Chiang Mai: Faculty of Social Science, Chiang Mai University Press.

(2012) “Thailand Education Policy For Migrant Children From Burma” Procedia-Social and Behavioral Science, 47: 956-961

Paritta, W. (2016) “Looking Across the River Towards a Better Future” (Bangkok Post, Spectrum) 10th April 2016 (Online) https://www.bangkokpost.com/print/928241/ (Accessed 2017,

October, 7)

Pearson, R and Kusakabe, K (2012) “Burmese Migrant Women Factory Workers Thailand’s Hidden Workforce”, London:Zed Books

Premjai, V. (2011) “The Challenge of Education Policy for Migrant Children in Thailand from Security Standpoints”, Kyoto Working Papers on Area Studies No.107 (Online) https://edit.cseas.kyoto-u.ac.jp/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/107_premjai.pdf (Accessed 2017, Oct.9).

Shimizu, Y. (2016) “Learning Centers for Myanmar Migrant Children Face Crisis” (Nikkei Asian Review) 20th December 2016. (Online) https://asia.nikkei.com/Life-

Arts/Life/Learning-centers-for-Myanmar-migrant-children-face-crisis (Accessed 2017,Nov.26).

Thu, Z. (2006) “Migrant Children’s Access to Education in Thailand: A Case Study of Myanmar Children in Samut Sakorn Province” Master Thesis Chulalongkorn University


  • There are currently no refbacks.