Credit for Work Done
Approximately 20,000 Myanmar children are studying in 126 migrant learning centers spread across Thailand. The political changes in Myanmar and Thailand in the last few years mean that many migrants and refugees will return to Myanmar, whether by choice or forced repatriation. Currently, there is no system in place to enable migrant students to transition to schools in their home country, leaving thousands of youth at a severe disadvantage.
The Migrant Education Integration Initiative (MEII) formed in 2013 to respond to this growing crisis. MEII is an alliance of migrant learning centers, local community-based organizations, NGOs and INGOs. Their goal is to create a migrant education system that provides accreditation recognized by Myanmar, Thailand, and ASEAN.
During the last three years, tremendous efforts have been made to collaborate with the Myanmar and Thai governments. In the past, migrant education was dismissed by both countries and was seen as inferior schooling. Now, through MEII efforts, dialogue and attitudes are beginning shift. Some students are graduating from migrant learning centers with certificates recognized by Myanmar’s Ministry of Education.
MEII’s hard work to reform education has been a gradual process with amazing results. Before 2013, migrant learning centers were acting in isolation, independently operated with no consistent teaching practices. Now, through MEII’s coordination efforts, many migrant learning centers across Thailand are using a standardized curriculum and system of monitoring and evaluation. With their voices united, migrant learning centers’ call for accreditation is being heard by governments.
For the next three years, the MEII committee will continue to drive efforts to reform the international migrant education system. Within that timeframe, they hope to have in place a migrant education system that provides accreditation recognized by Myanmar, Thailand, and ASEAN.