The Thai government is set to provide free education for children of Cambodian migrant workers, according to officials.
Sompong Sravaen, founder and director of Thailand’s Labour Rights Network Foundation, on Monday said that a new government policy in Thailand will provide free education to children of Cambodian migrant workers.
Mr Sravaen met with officials at the Interior Ministry to discuss the new policy.
“The Thai government will provide the opportunity for Cambodian children to get free education after the government observed that many Cambodian children did not receive any education and did not know their native language, since they had to follow their parents who have found work in Thailand,” Mr Sravaen told reporters through a translator.
He added that without education, children are prone to trafficking.
Mr Sravaen said that the Thai government will provide free education for students from the kindergarten level and up to high school.
He noted that the Thai government would provide free education to Cambodian children, as well as children of other foreign countries, whose parents are legal migrant workers in Thailand.
“We want to ensure that all children have the right to education and we also try to improve the protection and rights of workers and children in Thailand,” Mr Sravaen said. “The project, Education for All, is supported by two Thai ministries, namely the Education Ministry and the Interior Ministry, to ensure that all Cambodian children and other foreign children can receive free education.”
He continued that the education programme for foreign children in Thailand is in line with a Thai programme that provides Thai language education to children in the country.
In special cases, such as for schools located near the Cambodian-Thai border, the programme also provides education in Khmer language.
Chou Bun Eng, chairwoman of the National Committee for Anti-Human Trafficking, on Monday said that there are more than one million Cambodian people living in Thailand, with six to 10 percent among them who have brought their children with them.
Ms Bun Eng said she met with her Thai counterpart on Monday to address issues concerning migrant workers in Thailand, noting that most of the children who followed their parents do not know their native Khmer language.
“We are discussing with our Thai counterparts how to help the children who come along with their parents so that they can get an education, both in the Thai study programme and a Cambodian study programme which they can then continue when they come back to their hometown,” Ms Bun Eng said.