After the survey among our students on adding a new program (the Chinese class) to our Youth Center curriculum in the previous month, we found that many of them were very interested in it and kept asking for the start of the class. Although there are some limitations and challenges we have to face, whether it’s the difficulty of finding an appropriate volunteer teacher to join our organization which is very hard during the Covid-19 pandemic, or the selection of suitable with high standard Chinese textbooks among thousands of book where both good and poor contents are presented in the market. Or the obstacle of managing our little space to be fit for one more class as well as rescheduling the learning sessions not to overlap with other classes. Those obstacles may delay us for some time but can never stop us from bringing or providing better educational opportunities to our disenfranchised and vulnerable stateless students. We are always aware that the future of our students is more important and cannot be delayed so we decided to start the Chinese class for them in late February without hesitation even though our readiness is not there. Fortunately, we are able to experience a satisfactory result after finishing the first week of teaching Chinese and we will continue working hard on it in order to provide the best result to the students.
The reasons why we provide Chinese class to our students are because nowadays Chinese language become more and more necessary and accepted especially in the labor market of Thailand. It’s obvious that the investment and businesses from Chinese investors have greatly expanded to Thailand in several sectors in recent years. For our students and some other children who were born to uneducated migrant parents where many of them have not received Thai citizenship because their parents in the past couldn’t enter Thailand legally. Even worse, many scholarships for middle and high school students provided by government organizations are eligible for those who have Thai nationality only. As a result, they hardly have the opportunity to officially study other foreign languages as they can’t apply for the scholarship and their families can’t support them to go to good private schools while the government schools can only teach them English. Under these circumstances, the students might not be aware of its importance and the impact on their future life because of their youthfulness, knowledge, and education which possibly reduces their opportunities and competitive abilities in the labor market after their graduation.
With our Chinese class, the students will have more opportunities to study the Chinese language which can help them reach the Chinese HSK level 4 during their study in Thai middle and high school and is qualified to apply for a scholarship to study in China for half a year. After reaching HSK4 they will then be able to confidently work on their own to reach HSK level 5 which is eligible for those who want to apply for a full scholarship to study higher education in China. Not only it will benefit their educational opportunities but also help increase the chance of their future employment without a degree for those who can’t continue their higher education for whatever reason. To ensure more disenfranchised and vulnerable students get access to our Youth Center programs, we have planned to expand our classes to a larger range via online platforms and will publicly announce them on our social media once they become available.