สอนคิด คำนึงถึงความแตกต่าง: คุยกับครูบัว–บุณฑริก ซื่อสัตย์ โรงเรียนบ้านฮากฮาน จ.น่าน โรงเรียนสอนคิด เครื่องมือสอนคิด

Critical thinking, individual differences: what Khru Bua's small school fosters

After a successful recruitment procedure, Ms. Bua Buntharik Suesat or, as her students call her, Khru Bua (khru is Thai for teacher) had her first teaching job at Ban Si Wa Doe School in Sop Moei District, Mae Hong Son Province, teaching Karen children from remote communities four years before making her transfer to Nan.

Today Khru Bua is teaching sixth graders at Ban Hak Han School, located in Nan’s Wiang Sa District. The school is under the Nan Primary Educational Service Area Office 1 and, with it being a small school of only 57 students and much fewer teachers, Khru Bua has to teach every subject required by the curriculum.

What made Khru Bua who she is today traces back to her childhood: coming from a low-income family, she had received student aid over the years. Although her family faced financial challenges, her education wasn’t overlooked. At fifteen, Khru Bua had to make a choice between pursuing vocational training or a university education. Choosing to follow her childhood dream of becoming a teacher, she got a student loan and applied for various scholarships. Eventually, the then-high school senior Khru Bua secured her place in the Bachelor of Education Program in Elementary Education at Chiang Mai University.

The reason she wanted to be a primary school teacher stems from her own experience with a short-tempered teacher who tended to hit students. The disdain for this particular teacher made Khru Bua feign mild sickness many times in order to miss the teacher’s class. But skipping lessons took its toll when her own grades worsened. For future students to like their teacher and not be driven away from school, Khru Bua wanted to start with herself and become a teacher. “Primary school is too important,” she said. “Kids shouldn’t feel like fending off the very foundation of their education.”

Photo: Patchgorn Pattawipas/ActionAid

Before getting to know Thinking Tools, a set of innovative pedagogical tools that Ban Hak Han School has incorporated in their curriculum, Khru Bua was skeptical. But she took time to reflect, as a teacher, what resources could be leveraged to help students develop critical thinking skills. “I came around,” she said. “It would be useless if a teacher has their students repeat things after them. That's rote learning and it does very little to help them solve problems in real life.”

“It would be useless if a teacher has their students repeat things after them,
That's rote learning and it does very little to help them solve problems in real life.”

On classroom management, Khru Bua notes, “positive disciplinary behaviour development is crucial. The teacher has to provide understanding, guidance and warmth. There should be no punishment and violence. The classroom should be a safe, stress-free space where students can express themselves and their views, where they can also laugh and play. That’s the ideal classroom. Its size may be small and we may not be equipped with the latest technology – only old fans and worn wooden desks – but if the teacher and students understand each other, that’s what makes a happy classroom.”

“Personally, I think physical tools and resources are necessary, but no more so than a good teaching method and how the teacher is towards the students. Even though Ban Hak Han School is a small school with no abundance of resources, we will overcome any material challenges.”

Khru Bua’s ideal school is not different from what society expects: a sufficient number of adequate classrooms, structural durability, a bright and well-stocked library, a playground and other physical environments that enhance learning. However, there’s no denying that small schools, particularly those in remote areas or in the mountains such as Ban Hak Han, don’t have everything of the ideal. They still face limitations running on funding the central government has allocated.

In many ways, a public school teacher is a civil servant working according to their line of duty. On her specific line of duty, Khru Bua reflects, “Thailand’s education system is always changing. When the person at the top changes, the policy changes. The system never stays still, and teachers need to keep pace with it and be ready for change. At the same time, we teachers have to be firm in the goal of student development. Like bamboos bending with the wind, we’re firm on the ground, but we’re also malleable.”

"The Thai education system needs to do better in recognising individual differences.
Forcing a fish that swims well to compete with other animals at
climbing trees is impossible and of no use. It’s the same with students.
As long as we use the same set of academic standards to appraise them,
there will only be 'smart' and 'slow heads'.

Ban Hak Han School became a Thinking School after the teachers had taken a learning visit to Chiang Rai Provincial Administrative Organisation School (the first school in Thailand to adopt the Thinking School methodology). The trip was supported by ActionAid Thailand. "We learned from hands-on experience and came back inspired to put the Thinking Tools to practice," she called. "We met with positive results and were able to create a positive learning environment. We’ve been doing this for about three years now.”

“Implementing the ten Thinking Tools in class has led to significant changes. Firstly, there’s change within the teachers – we’re more proactive, always learning. We make use of technology and don’t just recite books like before. I also personally see changes in the students. They’re more focused, responsive, expressive, and understanding of other people’s views. They’re able to communicate their thoughts more coherently, explain their reasons, make comparisons, summarise information, and make their own decisions.”

Cause and Effect, Compare and Contrast, and Mind Mapping are some of the Thinking Tools used at this school. Photo: Burassakorn Gitipotnopparat/ActionAid

For Khru Bua, the Thai education system needs to do better in recognising individual differences. “Forcing a fish that swims well to compete with other animals at climbing trees is impossible and of no use. It’s the same with students. As long as we use the same set of academic standards to appraise them, there will only be 'smart' and 'slow heads'. The current system takes teachers away from students. It takes away the students’ humanity and encourages them to be more like a machine."

Khru Bua is a notable example of a teacher who has adopted Thinking Tools. She has proven that an effective classroom doesn’t necessarily need to be equipped with abundant resources. This is because learning can take place in any circumstance, even in a Thai highlands community shared by various ethnic groups like Ban Hak Han. Today, Khru Bua remains committed to guiding and developing youth through innovative tools that not only teach them how to think, but how to exercise empathy – how to be human. She is an important player in the movement that’s bringing about change in the area and making an impact on many other schools in Nan and beyond.

EU สหภาพยุโรป สนับสนุนแอ็คชั่นเอดและภาคประชาสังคม เปิดตัวโครงการรับมือ-ฟื้นฟูผลกระทบโควิด-19 / European Union

EU announces support for ActionAid and civil society, launches COVID-19 impact mitigation programme

As part of the Team Europe response to the coronavirus pandemic globally, the European Union yesterday launched two projects under the EU COVID-19 Response and Recovery in Thailand programme with a total funding of about €2.6 million, or around 90 million baht. The programme aims to increase the capacity and participation of Thai civil society organisations (CSOs) in mitigating the health, social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the most vulnerable populations of the country and will be implemented over the next two years by two CSO consortiums.

The EU COVID-19 Response and Recovery in Thailand programme has three key components: immediate relief for households impacted by the outbreak; a sustainable social and economic recovery through the improvement of the livelihood of affected communities; and building the communities’ resilience so that they can thrive and withstand future challenges.

“The COVID-19 pandemic will have profound consequences, in the short, medium and long terms. These range from immediate health and humanitarian challenges to more profound structural socio-economic change, which cannot yet even be fully understood”, said H.E. Pirkka Tapiola, Ambassador of the European Union to Thailand. “It is clear that concerted efforts to deal with the fallout of the pandemic will be needed by all actors. As a long-standing development partner of the Kingdom of Thailand, the European Union is committed to supporting our CSO partners in their efforts to mitigate the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis, to ensure that no one is left behind. I am very pleased with our co-operating in ensuring effective implementation of a number of new projects, for the benefit of vulnerable communities all around the Kingdom.”

The programme’s nationwide project will be led by ActionAid Thailand in collaboration with the Chumchon Thai Foundation, the Foundation for Labour and Employment Promotion (HOMENET) and the BioThai Foundation. The intervention will cover almost 40 provinces in Thailand and work with affected sectors including migrant and informal workers, marginalised populations and children, about half of whom are women.

“We have come together to assist a range of communities in Thailand and respond to their specific needs, both during and after the crisis. This action is a multi-sector response that includes preparedness for the uncertainty of what’s to come, a socioeconomic recovery in the short-to-medium term, and resilience measures for the most vulnerable marginalised communities,” said Mr. Tauhid Ibne Farid, Country Director of ActionAid Thailand.

Save the Children in partnership with Prince of Songkla University and the Prince of Songkla University Alumni Association Volunteer will spearhead the intervention in the three southern border provinces, plus four districts in Songkhla. The project will work with the most vulnerable households, youth groups and migrant returnees with a focus on women.

“A lot of the poorest and most vulnerable families in Thailand are at risk and still struggling to get back on their feet,” added Mr. Prasert Tepanart, Save the Children’s National Director in Thailand. “We must ensure that these communities become resilient and that individuals are prepared and self-sufficient to withstand, mitigate and prevent the impact of future health, economic and social crises.”

About European Union

The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 Member States. Together, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedom. In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for advancing the causes of peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe. The EU is the largest trade block in the world, as well as the world's largest source and destination of foreign direct investment. Collectively, the EU and its Member States are the largest donor of Official Development Assistance (ODA), providing more than half of ODA globally.

สหภาพยุโรป สนับสนุนแอ็คชั่นเอดและภาคประชาสังคม เปิดตัวโครงการรับมือ-ฟื้นฟูผลกระทบโควิด-19 

จดหมายข่าว มูลนิธิแอ็คชั่นเอด ประเทศไทย (กรกฎาคม 2563) / ActionAid Thailand Newsletter (July 2020)

ActionAid Thailand Newsletter Issue 3/2020 (July 2020)

Stay connected to ActionAid Thailand through our latest e-newsletter!

In the past quarter, ActionAid Thailand directed its efforts to respond to the multidimensional impact of COVID-19. Our emergency appeal was able to provide food and non-food items for the most small school children. We also launched a civil society consortium project that will increase preparedness and resilience of vulnerable groups such as migrant workers and marginalised communities to mitigate the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic. In response to the surge of domestic violence in Thailand during lockdown, the Safe Cities for Women Network introduced #TeamPueakNeighborhood, an online campaign encouraging people to look out for each other despite the barrier of physical distancing. Also highlighted in this newsletter is how Thailand's indegineous networks in the north and south mobilised their resources to tackle food insecurity under the Rice for Fish exchange scheme.

Download the July 2020 issue of the newsletter

คุยกับ ผอ. ปรียานุช วงษ์แก้ว ผู้นำภารกิจส่งต่อน้ำใจถึงเด็กกลุ่มเปราะบางช่วง โควิด

Meet the school leader at the frontline of our COVID-19 efforts

As school director, Preeyanut Wongkaew acted as the main coordinator with ActionAid Thailand, working over the prolonged school break to identify how her students were impacted by the pandemic and who were in urgent need of support. We talked to Ms. Preeyanut, or Director Ying, on the day she and Ban Hak Han School (Wiang Sa District, Nan) teachers led a distribution of food and sanitation packages to their community’s most vulnerable families.

What is the general mood in the communities where you’re working during this pandemic? How are people feeling?

Everything has changed dramatically since the pandemic started. There is more social distance and much fewer interactions between people in our community. They’re doing everything at home and trying their best to protect themselves and take care of others.

How is the pandemic affecting your school and the children specifically?

It has a significant impact on our learning which asks a lot of our students. The process of learning is changed. The time of learning as well. Normally, the school’s already open by 16 May, but now the new school year begins on 1 July. This means that prior to July, we’re using online learning to prepare students for the new term. The first challenge is accessibility. In order to learn through Distance Learning Television (DLTV) students need to have access to a working television. What we’re seeing here is some families can’t get good reception, or their television doesn’t support the new digital top box. Some households don’t have access to electricity and some don’t own a television. 

While you have been doing this work, have you met any children who made a strong impression on you? Please tell us about them and their situation.

Dow is a Mlabri girl who has been coming to Ban Hak Han School after her mother moved here to work for an employer in the community. Her house is quite far from the school, almost on the edge of this village. There are three people in the family and they don’t have access to electricity. Now they’re suffering a severe food shortage due to the mother’s lack of income. Dow can’t access online learning because there isn’t any device at home. Besides the worry that Dow won’t be able to keep up with her classmates, her mother fears she won’t be able to financially support her daughter’s education after the pandemic. This is what the teachers and I remember vividly after visiting them at home. We had to check on each student in order to tailor “lockdown learning” to their respective needs. When visiting Dow, it wasn’t an easy journey. We may be in the same village but we’re separated by small hills and brooks. We witnessed the very difficult situation Dow’s family and her three neighbours were in and sought urgent support for them.

Photo: ActionAid Thailand

What do you find most challenging about this work?

To tell the truth, all of our students are facing the impact of the virus and we want every one of them to receive support. We don’t want to leave anyone behind. But due limited resources, we have to help those in most critical need of help first. This in itself is a challenge for us. We want all children to get support.

What is your biggest fear at the moment?

Since we don’t know when the pandemic will finally be over, items such as face masks, face shields and sanitiser gel will be essential items for a long while. The school has been fortunate to acquire them but only in a limited number. They’re even limited in the market. So we don’t think we’ll have enough for the whole school as time goes on. We’ve been given some cloth masks thanks to a local hospital, but the children’s family may not be able to help wash them properly every day so they’ll collect germs instead of reducing risks. Disposable masks may be a better choice for parents in this community so we’re trying to find support from different groups and state agencies in order to find enough masks for the children.

Meet the school leader at the frontline of our COVID-19 efforts
Photo: ActionAid Thailand

As of the date of this interview, we still need support in order to reach as many vulnerable small schools children as we can. Please consider donating today - 31 July 2020 via our website (click "donate once") or bank transfer to: 

ActionAid International (Thailand)
Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) / Phaholyothin branch
Account number 014 306145 2

Don’t cut women’s lifelines, warns ActionAid, as gender-based violence surges worldwide during COVID-19

Don’t cut women’s lifelines, warns ActionAid as gender-based violence surges worldwide during COVID-19

Global lockdowns and coronavirus restrictions have unleashed a shocking surge in gender-based violence (GBV) in countries across Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, as women’s shelters are shut down and countries divert funding to battle the pandemic.

New research by ActionAid, based on surveys of local support services and women’s movements worldwide, also found that domestic violence survivors with live legal cases were increasingly being forced to settle out of court, due to COVID-related court closures. This is increasing community tensions and damaging survivors’ ability to rebuild their lives.

ActionAid’s Country Director in Nigeria, Ene Obi, says: “We have never been more alarmed about the violence unleashed on women and girls than in recent times.

“Girls, women, young and old, are living in fear as they don’t even feel safe in their own homes. Due to the pandemic, arrest is no longer enough to serve as a deterrent, as most of these cases are being settled out of court. This means there is no real justice for the survivors and their families.”

Key findings from the report, Surviving COVID-19: A Women-Led Response show that:

    • In Bangladesh, ActionAid’s network of support services, including in the Rohingya refugee camps, found a tenfold (983%) increase in sexual and domestic violence this April to May, compared to the same period last year.
    • In Brazil, 143 women were killed across 12 states in March and April this year and had a 22% increase in femicide compared to last year, according to data from security agencies. In the Northern State, Acre, femicide is up 300%.
    • In Uganda, ActionAid was forced to temporarily shut down 10 of its shelters due to lockdown restrictions, even though the caseloads doubled in March and April 2020 during the outbreak, compared to the prior year.
    • In the Gaza Strip, an ActionAid partner organisation reports supporting 700% more survivors of GBV through its counselling services this April-May than in 2019.
    • In Italy, a review of more than 228 shelters saw the number of women who asked for support through the government’s anti-violence hotline increase by 59%.
    • In Nigeria, where the government has declared a state of emergency following a sharp spike in cases of femicide and rape, one women’s shelter reported a 700% increase in cases of violence since lockdown. ActionAid is calling for a ban on bail and out of court settlements for these brutal cases, following 253 harrowing attacks documented since lockdown.

The persistent, yet predicable increased rape and murder of women, which happens in any emergency, remains the most ignored and underfunded part of the UN’s Global Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for COVID-19. Less than 0.3% of the funding needed to protect women from violence has been committed.

Four years ago, at the inaugural World Humanitarian Summit, the world promised that 25% of humanitarian funding would go directly to local organisations, such as the women’s shelters featured in ActionAid’s new report. But the UN’s global plan for COVID-19 is way off track, with just 0.1% of funding going to local organisations.

Julia Sánchez, Secretary General of ActionAid International, said:

“COVID-19 is a health and economic crisis which has also unleashed a horrifying surge in femicide, rape and violence against women and girls. Our research shows this is a worldwide phenomenon, played out with shocking regularity and predictability, and is clearly under-reported.

“Governments, charities and donors worldwide must respond urgently, to scale up the pitiful levels of funding for women’s protection services and local organisations working on the frontline of the COVID–19 pandemic and indeed in all humanitarian crises and disasters.

“Two thirds of the world’s health workers are women, yet only a quarter of decision-making bodies for the pandemic are female .This explains why health research doesn’t monitor women’s specific needs and decisions are being made without women in mind, despite women bearing the brunt of the fallout.”

ActionAid’s report warns that the world is "sleepwalking into the shadow pandemic of global femicide". The organisation is calling for GBV services like women’s shelters and referral pathways to be classified as essential in all countries.

ActionAid is responding to the COVID-19 crisis in 40 countries around the world. Its frontline, women-led services have all reported increases in violence against women and girls since the start of the pandemic. More than 60% of its humanitarian funding goes to local organisations, the majority to women’s organisations.

Download the report Surviving COVID-19: A Women-Led Response

Small school children are being impacted by COVID-19. Here's how you can help

Small school children are being impacted by COVID-19. Here's how you can help

In the confined months of COVID-19, nearly 21,000 children face food insecurity. 

Their families lost their jobs and income. For them, hunger may be more frightening than the virus. 

Meanwhile, their communities are not equipped to provide basic health care supplies to protect them against a major pandemic. 

Your support is urgently needed.

How the coronavirus impacts small school children

Small schools have limited resources to offer preventive supplies to children, personnel and their community. Although the government provides support, it is not sufficient for responding to the pressing crisis. Many schools remain in need of support before reopening in July 2020.

Students from the most vulnerable backgrounds are malnourished during prolonged school closures. Their families, who shoulder heavier financial hardships due to unemployment and lockdowns, are unable to put enough food and essential nutrition on the table.

What ActionAid Thailand is doing

ActionAid Thailand has been working with small schools to ensure that every child, regardless of their background, is able to access quality education. But the COVID-19 pandemic has posed an unprecedented global and national health emergency. We urgently need your support and appeal for 6.5 million baht to support the COVID-19 relief response.

Essential supplies: We are distributing preventive supplies e.g. liquid soap, hand sanitisers, cloth masks, cleaning supplies to 80 small schools to help them meet health standards and be able to conduct classes when the new term begins.

Food security: We are setting up community kitchens at 80 small schools to provide 20,761 children and their family members with nutritious meals.

With your support, ActionAid Thailand will be able to immediately help the most vulnerable children in 80 communities who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please donate to us today until 30 June 2020. As soon as your support is received, we will begin sending food packages to those most in need and ensure the schools have essential health supplies ready.

ActionAid volunteers in Palestine are getting cleaning supplies and food items ready for distribution. Your support can help us do the same in Thailand. Photo by Rushdi Saraj/ActionAid

How to donate

1. Donate through a secure online channel: https://actionaid.or.th/donate

      • Choose to “donate once” and the amount you would like to give (300 baht minimum)
      • Fill in necessary information
      • Receive a payment confirmation email


2. Make a bank transfer to:

ActionAid International (Thailand)
Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) / Phaholyothin branch
Account number 014 306145 2

Send your donation details, name and address to retention.thailand@actionaid.org (Ms. Phatcharaphon Paitafong) for donation receipt issuing.

ActionAid International (Thailand) Foundation will issue a receipt to your address within 7-10 days after the donation is made. The receipt cannot be used to claim a tax deduction. For inquiries, please contact us at 02-279-6601 or retention.thailand@actionaid.org.

ActionAid Thailand Newsletter Issue 2/2020 (April 2020)

ActionAid Thailand Newsletter Issue 2/2020 (April 2020)

Stay connected to ActionAid Thailand through our latest e-newsletter!

In this issue, catch highlights from our work in the first quarter of 2020, from ActionAid Federation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the new education project funded by the European Union that aims to build capacity and engage civil society organisations in taking active roles in school governance, to how ActionAid celebrated and honoured International Women's Day (8 March) around the world.

We also talked to "Khru Bua" or Ms. Buntharik Suesat, a small school teacher from Nan Province on being part of a local education reform, transforming her school int a Thinking School, proving that a quality classroom can be provided without an abundance of resources.

Download the April 2020 issue of the newsletter

ActionAid International’s chair joins IMF advisory group

ActionAid International’s chair joins IMF advisory group

ActionAid International chair Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda will bring a global south perspective to a new external advisory group set up by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The 12-strong group announced on 10 April 2020 by Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF, was brought together to provide different perspectives from around the globe on key development and policy issues, including how to respond to the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

At the group’s first meeting that same day, Nyaradzayi raised ActionAid’s concerns about the crippling affect that the new debt crisis is having on Africa. As cases of coronavirus increase across the continent, health systems are vastly underfunded and ill-prepared for the pandemic.

On 14 April, ActionAid launched a series of recommendations ahead of the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings, aimed at securing a cash injection to avert the looming threat of a health and economic emergency posed by COVID-19.

The members of the Managing Director’s External Advisory Group are:

Ms. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Finance Minister of Nigeria

Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister of Singapore and Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore

Ms. Kristin Forbes, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Mr. Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia

Lord Mark Malloch Brown, former United Nations Deputy Secretary-General

Mr. Feike Sijbesma, former Chief Executive Officer, Royal DSM

Mr. Raghuram Rajan, Professor, University of Chicago

Ms. Ana Botín, Group Executive Chairman, Santander

Ms. Carmen Reinhart, Professor, Harvard University

Mr. Mohamed A. El-Erian, Chief Economic Adviser, Allianz

Mr. Scott Minerd, Chief Investment Officer, Guggenheim Investments

Ms. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, Board Chair, ActionAid International.

Kristalina Georgieva’s announcement can be read in full on the IMF website.


For more information contact Jenna Pudelek in the ActionAid press office on +44(0)7795642990 or email jenna.pudelek@actionaid.org.