The Mae Tao Clinic’s own school, The Children’s Development Centre, began as a small facility for the children of staff, and now has over 1000 pupils and several boarding houses.
Like the other migrant workers in the Mae Sot area who were settling and starting families, by 1995 the staff of MTC also found themselves needing day-care services for their own children. As a solution the MTC Nursery Care program was started, initially caring for approximately 20 children. The next logical step was a primary school and so the Children’s Development Centre was established in 1997, with 5 staff members. This was located in a house across the highway from the clinic, providing more space for both work and play for the students. Although not officially, the CDC was already acting as a boarding facility as well, caring for 10 children by 1999.
The next major challenge came as these children completed primary level schooling, thus a separate high school was established in 2005, with 2009 seeing the first grade 12 graduating class. In 2009, a new school facility was inaugurated with all the children from primary to grade 12 in the same facility.
We now have over 1,000 students enrolled at the CDC, with approximately 50% being cared for in boarding facilities. Between the school and the boarding facilities there are over 80 staff members performing all duties. Currently the CDC offers a wide variety of classes including: Thai, Burmese, English, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Economics, Geography, History, Social Studies, Community Development and Computer Skills.
UN Declaration of Human Rights
Under the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the children accompanying their parents across the border as well as those born stateless in Thailand have a universal right to education. In 2005 the Thai government passed a resolution, stating that all children living in Thailand should have access to education regardless of race, nationality or legal status. The Thai Ministry of Education have been working with the International Labour Organisation to improve access to education for Burmese children, establishing a school-mapping system to better understand the demographics of these children, as well as working on tools for better integration of these students through curriculum development.