Currently, Thailand still has some schools in rural areas that are unable to be merged with other schools in other areas. Therefore, it is necessary to be supervised in such areas for educational opportunities of local children. The number of these schools is around 2000 schools throughout Thailand and they often encounter with the problem on shortage of teachers. Therefore, Protected School/Standalone Project was established by Equitable Education Fund (EEF) for giving scholarships to students in rural areas who lack of opportunities to study in participated universities for becoming the teachers in rural areas that are their domiciles based on requirements of Thai government. This project has been operated not less than 6 years.
Protected School/Standalone Project was established to solve the problem on shortage of teachers in rural areas and the problem on mobility of teachers causing educational quality of students. Therefore, the principle on producing teachers from local people is applied. Children with the shortage of fund or poor children will be selected to study for becoming teachers. When they graduate, they are able to become teachers in the target schools immediately. This is considered as the appropriate way to produce quality teachers for providing quality education to their children at their hometowns. In Academic Year of 2020, it was considered as the first year of this project with the goal to produce 5 classes of teachers with 300 teachers per class. It is expected that teachers will be produced sufficiently for demands in rural areas within 10 years.
In the areas of southern border provinces, Yala Rajabhat University is another institute that has been accepted on producing teachers for long period. This university has produced quality teachers to be distributed to several educational organizations throughout Thailand and be one of universities cooperating with EEF under Protected School/Standalone Project since the first class (2019) to the second class in 2020. Students who pass selection will continue their study in the Faculty of Education of Yala Rajabhat University with emphasis on building teacher quality on instruction and teacher’s spirit for communities by considering on demands of local schools that are multicultural society.
In special areas with diversity of culture, races, and religions plus with the perspective on the problem on insurgency that has been occurred for a long period, teachers in 3 southern border provinces must be reinforced on appropriate and sufficient guidelines for problems in different areas. Therefore, Yala Rajabhat University creates some special activities besides normal instruction of basic courses. Student teachers must pass a special program for teacher development called Extra Time which 30 teacher students in Primary Department have to stay together in a dormitory with extra time for reinforcing specific knowledge, building teacher’s spirit, and developing potential in all dimensions fully. Such extra time is during 07:00 p.m. – 09:00 p.m. on weekdays, weekends, and university holidays for adding things that must be learned by teacher students. After finishing curriculum, all students will have extra time with the duration of 1,800 hours per student.
Extra time of Extra Time Program will reinforce knowledge on local context or basic Islam teaching (Tadika). For Buddhist students, they will be reinforced on Buddhist. In addition, there are also some trainings on instructional techniques that are deeper in community context than general curriculum through Community Development Program for enhancing bilingual and multi-culture because most communities mainly use Malay language for communication. Consequently, Malay language is added in the program under the research mutually conducted with Mahidol University on Learning Management of Primary Education in Local Areas Using Different Languages. Consequently, instruction will have quality and ability to respond to demands of children in the areas of southern border provinces. Importantly, teacher students must know that teachers and schools do not have the duty to teach students only but they must be the center of local development and problem solving.
Besides curriculum for incubating students, another important mission that will change roles and duties of university from waiting to accept students to participating in searching for students under discretion of teachers of Faculty of Education, Yala Rajabhat University, the university has to visit the local areas to screen students with EEF, community and the destination schools that will accept students. These students are prepared before learning in the form of Pre-Teacher Course Camp that is considered as the history that can indicate that all parties including universities, communities, and local schools will cooperate in looking after local children in order to develop them as human resources that can change their local areas.
During 4 years of Protected School/Standalone Program, students who pass recruitment process of each community will be fostered on developer teacher through joining some activities with communities and the destination schools that they will become the teachers there after graduating. Students must communicate and do activities with communities in order to perceive movement all the times with village headmen, village chefs, principals, and teachers of the destination schools as the mentors to make them see problems or in-depth community plans of the communities that they will participate in the future enabling them to know the demands of such local areas. Finally, they will be able to discover innovations for developing their local areas. All students under Protected School/Standalone Project in southern border provinces confirm that they have no idea to teach in other areas and they are also confident that they will be happy with teaching their juniors and children in their communities.