You're never too old to learn

Rice farmer Boonruang Pohdaeng, 28, joined a Prathom 1 (first grade) class this year, so keen was she to learn what she missed out on as a child.

ALL TOGETHER NOW: Boonruang Pohdaeng, 28, concentrates on a lesson in Nongkatat school in Saraburi’s Nong Saeng district. PHOTO: CHUMPORN SANGVILERT

Ms Boonruang joined her six-year-old classmates, studying subjects such as Thai language and mathematics at Nongkatat school in Saraburi's Nong Saeng district.

Ms Boonruang said she always dreamed of returning to school after she was forced to quit kindergarten when she was four to take care of her mentally ill mother. Poverty also forced her out.

With the support and encouragement of her aunt, Ms Boonruang's dream came true in May, when she enrolled as a first-grader at the school.

She admitted it was hard to learn how to read, write and do maths at her age.

"However, life is more difficult if I am illiterate. I cannot go anywhere without someone accompanying me. I cannot read signs nor can I count money," she said.

She is so dedicated to learning that she does not feel shy about sitting in the classroom alongside children, as she practises writing Thai words and counting numbers.

Thailand has up to 18 million people who left school before Mathayom 6, with most of them aged above 40.

Among them, few people would be brave enough to go back to school with young children as Ms Boonruang did.

About the author

columnist
Writer: Lamphai Intathep
Position: Reporter