On Saturday, 25 June 2016, ActionAid Thailand invited kind donors and supporters to visit Baan Khao Nang Sang Hua School in Kanchanaburi Province, one of ActionAid Thailand’s small school projects.
The group set off the journey from ActionAid Thailand’s office at 8.30am and arrived at the school which is located in Lao Kwan District, Kanchanaburi Province with a warm welcome from Pattaranan Permpoon, the Director of the school, teachers and students who performed a Thai traditional Drum Dance for us. The Director introduced us the school, their curriculum, how they operate and let our donors ask questions.
Baan Khao Nang Sang Hua School is located in Lao Kwan District, Kanchanaburi Province. It is a small school with only 45 students, 4 registered teachers, 1 supervising teacher, 1 part-time teacher and volunteer wisdom teachers for agriculture and farming. It is also known as a pilot school due to the concept of community involvement.
According to the closure of small school policy of the Ministry of Education enforced since 2011, Baan Khao Nang Sang Hua was also struggling to keep the school open. Director Pattaranan insisted in keeping it open and worked on how to integrate the resources that the school and community have for the sake of their children.
Following, Director Pattaranan took everyone on a tour around the school. The school encourages their students to learn from doing. They have raised cows, goats, catfish and grown vegetables which are brought back to the school kitchen for their lunch. They have integrated local wisdom into the curriculum so that the students learn how to live and eventually develop their own community. Across the school yard, there is Mae Nang Sang Hua Shrine that is revered by the students and local communities. After the walk, the school had prepared a delicious lunch cooked from their own products for everyone.
After the power lunch, the donors, supporters, together with the students were ready to get in action to grow vegetables including eggplants, basils, sweet basils, papayas, cassavas, bananas and vetivers. Then some of us took turn to paint a bicycle as a symbol of the visit. Despite the scorching sun, everyone was enjoying and helping each other.
Subsequently, the group gathered at the multi-purpose hall. The students had prepared baskets of eggs, fruits and vegetables grown at the school for all donors, supporters and ActionAid team as souvenir to bring back home. Our kind donors and supporter also brought some stationaries, books, snacks and toys for the students. Some donated more fund to the school as well.
After the heart-warming giving, Chokdee Smithkitipol, Youth and Education Officer wrapped up and provided more information about education and how ActionAid Thailand works on education issues in Thailand and Marie Ann Fernandez, acting Country Director of ActionAid Thailand thanked the donors for their kind support and the school for the hearty welcome. Late afternoon, the group travelled back to Bangkok with the smile on their face.
ActionAid Thailand has been working to improve the quality of education in small schools and capacity of teachers. We work closely with the Small School Network, which Baan Khao Nang Sang Hua School is a member of, to develop a small school model that focuses on participation of communities in school management developing a curriculum tailored to small schools, and training on budget tracking to develop appropriate financial model for small schools. In addition, we are developing a ‘Small School Book’ to share experiences and disseminate the model for further replication.
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