Learning in the local language

Knowledge of the indigenous population

In Thailand’s remote mountain villages, children speak a different language to their teachers, who are dispatched to the villages by the central government. The children are therefore unable to follow the subjects being taught effectively. This can be changed by teaching them in the local language with an approach called Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education.


Knowledge transfer by the population

A group of children standing in a forest listen intently to the village elder, who is telling them about medicinal plants. Afterwards, the children search for plants on their own. They keep returning to the teacher to proudly present what they have found. In northern Thailand, near the border with Myanmar/Burma, this type of teaching is the exception rather than the rule. The centralised school system is adapted to urban circumstances. 

Teaching traditional handicrafts

The Life Skills Development Foundation, a partner organisation of the Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation, has developed an education programme that involves the residents of small villages. As well as learning to read and write, the children also acquire indigenous knowledge such as traditional handicrafts or interaction with their natural surroundings. Teaching is often given by villagers instead of the official teacher. As a result, the parents also see the benefits of school education and support their children's attendance at school over keeping them at home to work. Child-friendly, fun teaching helps the children enjoy the learning process while also safeguarding the continued existence of their culture.

«Thanks to the projects, the children can attend school, and the indigenous culture and knowledge are taught to indigenous children in schools.»

Suraporn Suriyamonton
Country Representative of Thailand

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