On January 18, 2021, Mr. Grisada Boonrach, Director of the Thai Red Cross Chapters Administration Office, visited Narathiwat and Pattani provinces to follow up the progress and challenges of the Learning Promotion and Development for Students and Youths in Rural Areas Program. The office previously won approval from the Thai Red Cross Council to start and carry out the program according to a royal initiative of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, Executive Vice-President of the Thai Red Cross Society.
Findings from the follow-up are as follows:
- The selection of volunteer teachers from retired teachers and volunteers with teaching degrees and volunteer spirit in the areas is efficient because both volunteer teachers and students can meet near their homes. Therefore, there is no waste of time and travel expenses.
- To design the curriculum and the Thai language teaching methods according to students’ language problems, the Thai Red Cross Chapters Administration Office suggests the classification of the target students into three groups:
- Ethnic students who communicate with their family members using their local dialects almost 24 hours a day. Most of them live in remote rural areas without electricity and communication devices. They have noopportunity to hear Thai words from television and radio. These students use Thai language only when they go to school.
- Students who are from different cultures and use local dialects which are different from students in general. For example, students in the deep South of Thailand communicate with their family members using the Malay language when at home. Some of them are unable to go to school on a regular basis because they need to help their parents to do housework. However, these students still have opportunity to use the Thai language and learn Thai words from Thai media as well as nearby communities.
- Students who are illiterate because they either are unable to study full-time or have learning problems. In most cases, these students are from poor families and need to work to support their parents
The director of the Thai Red Cross Chapters Administration Office said the follow-up results will be applied as suggestions for provincial Red Cross chapters in recruiting volunteer teachers and improving Thai language teaching approaches and techniques in accordance with students’ problems.
In addition, provincial Red Cross chapters will be asked to give first priority to recruiting volunteer teachers from local people in the selected areas, such as retired teachers and those with teaching degrees and free time to volunteer.
According to Mr. Grisada, the provincial Red Cross chapters will be instructed to consult school headteachers and executives where the target students are studying as well as education district offices, non-formal education offices, provincial education offices, provincial private education offices, local universities, border patrol police units, and others. Among partners are Kasetsart University, Bang Khen Campus, the Equitable Education Fund, and the Society of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Awards Recipient Teachers.