Education of migrant children: Fighting child labour in Thailand

Education of migrant children: Fighting child labour in Thailand

Children of migrant workers attend a lecture by volunteer Pairoj Chantharawong at a construction site in Chatuchak district of Bangkok. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Children of migrant workers attend a lecture by volunteer Pairoj Chantharawong at a construction site in Chatuchak district of Bangkok. (Bangkok Post file photo)

If migrant children are not in schools, they will work as illegal child labour in Thai factories helping their parents, so their education is important.


Education of migrant children: Fighting child labour in Thailand

Thai law allows labourers' children to attend local schools
Penchan Charoensuthipan

Children of migrant labourers are slowly becoming aware of the opportunity of receiving an education in Thailand.

"My life has changed. I was able to leave a construction site to learn in Thailand," said Aung Chan, a 20-year-old Myanmar man who is the son of migrant workers in Thailand.

He expressed his gratitude for the Thai education law that allows children of migrant workers to study in state schools with financial support, the same as Thai children.


Aung Chan said he initially enrolled in a preparatory course provided by the Labour Rights Promotion Network (LPN), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that assists migrant workers in Thailand.

Then he completed his elementary school education at Wat Bang Ya Praek School.

He later finished his secondary school education outside of government schools.

"I have a better life than my parents as I don't have to toil at a construction site," he said.

Aung Chan works today as a maintenance worker at a condominium and a clerical officer at a construction company.


He said most migrant workers' children his age did not have the opportunity to pursue an education, including many in the local fishery industry.

"I visited my school to attend the annual wai kru ceremony. The number of migrant children there has increased recently because of the government's policy," said Aung Chan.

Not many migrant workers are aware of their right to send their children to Thai schools so they don't take advantage of it, he said.


LPN is working to educate and encourage migrant workers to send their children to school.

The NGO LPN is also working on such a campaign to prevent child labour.

This is according to Sompong Srakaew, director of LPN, speaking during a seminar on child labour in the Thai fishery industry to mark World Day Against Child Labour on Monday.

LPN numbers show that 2,564 migrant children have been rescued from the fishery industry in Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan, Ratchaburi, Rayong and Trat over the past decade.

In 2015, 37 migrant children forced into labour were rescued from a shrimp processing factory in Samut Sakhon.

Of that number, 18 were aged under 18.

A number of them have enrolled in informal education systems with help from LPN and related state and private agencies.


Mr Sompong said the Thai government is focused on child labour, passing a law banning children under 18 from working in fisheries.

A cabinet resolution in 2005 states every child in Thailand has the right to receive a secondary school level education, said Surapong Kongchantuk, an activist and lawyer.

Mr Sompong said crackdowns on child labour have mostly centred on large-scale fisheries in Samut Sakhon and Songkhla that export their products.


The problem cannot be solved if suppression only targets large businesses because child labour exists in eastern provinces too such as Rayong and Trat where Cambodian children work on primary seafood processing to help their families, he said.

A number of Cambodian children work in fisheries in Trat, Chanthaburi, Rayong, Chon Buri and Samut Prakan, but the parents do not hold documents confirming their identity and nationality, which are required for school enrolment, according to Dawan Khonthong, coordinator of Stopping Exploitation through Accessible Services.

The Labour Ministry reports 22,807 migrants under 18 from Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia were registered last year.

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  • according to (prep): as stated or reported by somebody/something - ตามคำบอกเล่า, ตามรายงาน
  • activist: someone who takes part in activities that are intended to achieve political or social change, especially someone who is a member of an organisation - นักกิจกรรม
  • agency (noun): a government department that provides a particular service - หน่วยงานราชการ
  • annual: happening every year - ทุกๆปีด, ประจำปี
  • attend: to go to an event, such as a meeting, a show, a sports competition, etc. - เข้าร่วม (ในการประชุม, งานต่าง)
  • aware (adj): knowing that something exists, or to have knowledge or experience of a particular thing - ทราบ, รับรู้
  • ban: officially not allowed to do something - การห้ามอย่างเป็นทางการ
  • cabinet: the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy - คณะรัฐมนตรี
  • campaign (noun): a planned series of activities designed to persuade voters to vote for a particular candidate or political party - การรณรงค์หาเสียง
  • centre (verb): to be or make somebody/something become the person or thing around which most activity, etc. takes place - มุ่งความสนใจไปยัง
  • ceremony (noun): a formal public event - งานพิธี
  • clerical: related to the work of clerks, a person whose job is to keep the records or accounts in an office, shop/store etc เสมียน -
  • complete (verb): to finish something; to bring some project to an end after having done everything successfully - ทำเสร็จ, ทำให้สมบูรณ์
  • condominium (noun): an apartment building or group of houses in which each flat/apartment/house is owned by the person living in it but the shared areas are owned by everyone together - คอนโดมิเนียม
  • construction: the work of building or making something, especially buildings, bridges, etc. - การก่อสร้าง
  • crackdown: strong action that someone in authority takes to stop a particular activity - การใช้กำลังเข้าปราบปรามของเจ้าหน้าที่
  • decade: a period of ten years - ทศวรรษ
  • educate (noun): to teach people about something - สอน, ให้การศึกษา
  • elementary school: a school for children between the ages of about 6 and 11 or 12 - โรงเรียนประถม
  • encourage: to cause someone to be more likely to happy - กระตุ้น
  • enroll (verb): to put someone onto the official list of members of a course or college - ลงทะเบียน
  • exploitation: unfair treatment of someone, or the use of a situation in a way that is wrong - การใช้หาประโยชน์อย่างไม่ถูกต้อง
  • export (noun): something sold and transported to another country - สินค้าออก
  • express: to tell someone about a feeling, opinion, or aim by speaking or writing about it - แสดงออก (ทางความคิดหรือความรู้สึก) โดยใช้คำพูดหรือการเขียน, พูดออกมา
  • financial support: help with money - ความช่วยเหลือทางการเงิน
  • fishery: an area of water where fish are caught so they can be sold - พื้นที่ในการจับปลา
  • focus: to give attention, effort, etc. to one particular subject, situation or person rather than another - เพ่งความสนใจ
  • gratitude: a feeling of being grateful to someone because they have given you something or have done something for you - ความรู้สึกขอบคุณ
  • industry: the people and activities involved in producing a particular thing, or in providing a particular service; the production of goods from raw materials, especially in factories - อุตสาหกรรม
  • informal (adj.): not official or recognized by government; lacking formal organization - ไม่เป็นทางการ
  • initially: at first - ในเบื้องต้น
  • labour: work, especially hard physical work - งานที่ใช้พละกำลัง
  • lawyer: an attorney - ทนาย
  • level: a position or rank in a scale of size or importance - ระดับ
  • local (adjective): in this country (Thailand) -
  • maintenance: the act of keeping something in good condition by checking or repairing it regularly - การซ่อมบำรุง
  • migrant labourer: someone who travels to another place or country in order to find work - คนงานต่างถิ่น
  • migrant worker: someone who travels to another place or country in order to find work - คนงานต่างถิ่น
  • NGO: non-governmental organization (a charity, association, etc. that is independent of government and business) - เอ็นจีโอ, องค์การนอกภาครัฐ
  • opportunity (noun): a chance to do something, or a situation in which it is easy for you to do something - โอกาส
  • passing a law: when most of parliament votes for a proposed law (bill) and makes it into a law -
  • policy (noun): a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group - นโยบาย
  • prevent (verb): to stop somebody from doing something; to stop something from happening - ขัดขวาง, ป้องกัน, กัน, กีดขวาง
  • primary: main; most important; basic - อันดับแรก
  • private: involving groups, businesses or industries that are not owned or controlled by the government - เอกชน
  • process: a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result - แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
  • province: one of many divisions of the government of a country into smaller parts - จังหวัด
  • pursue: to try to achieve something - ดำเนินตาม, พยายามเพื่อให้ได้มาซึ่ง
  • recently (adverb): not long ago - เมื่อไม่นานมานี้, เมื่อเร็วๆ นี้
  • registered (adj): to be on an official list; to be on an official list of names of people who are allowed to do something, e.g., vote, study, sell something, stay in a hotel etc - ซึ่งลงทะเบียนไว้
  • related (adj): connected with something/somebody; referring to something/somebody - เชื่อมโยงกับ
  • rescue: saving a person or animal from a dangerous or unpleasant situation - การช่วยชีวิต
  • resolution: an official decision that is made after a group or organisation have voted - มติ
  • secondary school: a school for young people, usually between the ages of 11 and 16 or 18 - ชั้นมัธยมศึกษา
  • seminar: a meeting for discussion or training - การสัมมนา
  • site: a place where something is located - สถานที่
  • state: government - รัฐบาล
  • suppression: stopping an activity from happening, in this case, criminal activity  - การปราบปราม
  • take advantage of (verb): to use something to get some benefit or "advantage" from - ใช้เป็นประโยชน์
  • target: something you want to achieve; a particular number or amount that you want to achieve - เป้าหมาย
  • toil: to work very hard and/or for a long time, usually doing hard physical work - ทำงานหนัก
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