So begins the days of a new adventure, certainly ones we are familiar with from our days of education with new buzz words, and practices, such as: social distancing, face masks, washing of hands, sanitizer gel. Normally a new term means preparation of curriculum, study documents, handouts and visual aids, but, oh no, now the school has to plan for smaller classes together with on-line schooling, with the latter needing special skills. It's a whole new world for teachers, students; a social learning curve for all.
This intake of students will not include students living in Myanmar as the international borders are closed, with the added burden of 14-day quarantine requirement to enter Thailand.
Students will comprise of those already living in the Thailand in areas such as Mae Sot (which is a district in western Thailand that shares a border with Myanmar to the west. It is notable as a trade hub). Some students will come from Chiang Mai itself. The most likely number of students for this intake will be 12 – 15; on-line studying will boost the numbers.
From the Beatles' song “Hello, Good-bye” their famous saying was “you say goodbye and I say hello”, so we bid farewell to the students of 2019 -2020. The results in passing their GED exams filled those students with joy, while others are still completing the final exams. Here are some of their stories:
Saw Zaw Win Htoo: (nick name Win Htoo ). GED total sore was 607 and has been accepted to study Social Science, Chiang Mai University (Awarded IIE Scholarship, and had Child's Dream Scholarship Interview [on 19 June 2020])
Susanee Maneephonchai (left): (nick name: Su). GED total score was 631 and has applied for Mae Fah Luang University.
Naw Eh Thamoht Min (second from right) (nickname Moht Moht). GED total sore was 630. Has been accepted to Rangsit University. (Awarded IIE Scholarship and Zomia loan)
Myo Hlang Htway (nick name: TJ, second from left). GED total score was 621. Got accepted at Mae Fah Luang University. Still looking for financial support.
"My name is NAW MEE KO PHAW from Karen State, Myanmar (right). My parents are illiterate farmers who grow rice in Karen State to support our basic sustenance. I finished my General Educational Development at BEAM Education Foundation in 2019-20. Right now, I am doing my internship at Shade Tree Foundation (Non-Governmental Organization) which is located in Mae Sot, Tak, Thailand while waiting for a scholarship to further my education at an international university.
"Moreover, I sit at the office only two days a week. There are three programs that I patriciate at my workplace. They are Family Engagement (FEN), Family Education (FED), Family Enterprise(FEP). I follow FEP’s team every Tuesday to learn how the team helps them to manage their income and expense. Besides I go with FEN’s team every Wednesday and leave the office around nine to distribute the nutrition foods to families who are in poverty. We traveled around in Mae Sot area to offer the energetic food at each house. Our team does not only provide foodstuffs but also encourages or empowers as comforting them or making them feel that someone is handing a helping hand when they are in trouble. Moreover, I joined the FED team on Friday to give training about how to have an effective relationship between parents and children. Also, I translate English into my native language (Karen language). Overall, these are all my daily routine to gain more experience at the foundation." Seventeen students finished all the GED exams so far and more students are on their way. The GED testing centre in Mae Sot will be closed in July and August so many of our students need to wait until the testing centre is open in September. Five students from last year's cohort are planning to go to university and three students are still looking for the financial opportunity to further their studies. The photos of Su and TJ are so typical of them, their smiles were a ray of light in the class room. The student chart below is a work in progress which will be complete in the coming days as the final results are recorded.