Pattaya officials reacted coolly to an invitation from the Mechai Viravaidya Foundation to bring city teachers up to international standards.
The private Mechai Viravaidya Foundation last year launched an 18-month campaign to train 546 educators in 16 provinces in seven international disciplines. With its large international base, Pattaya was a natural choice to join the program, foundation President Mechai Viravaidya said.
Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome said he was open to the idea; however, noted an experimental curriculum focusing on teaching English, Chinese and Russian has already been instituted at Pattaya School No. 11 and that Pattaya’s participation in his program will need to be discussed further in future meetings.
Mechai Viravaidya (center left) listens as Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome (center) gives his views on the Mechai Viravaidya Foundation proposal.
In his presentation to the mayor and 20 teachers and students, Mechai noted that national standardized testing scores for sixth-grade students continue to fall. But students at Mechai Pattana School build upon the traditional Thai curriculum by promoting environmental protection, education, poverty eradication, philanthropy, integrity, democracy and gender equality.
Backed by Themasek Foundation of Singapore, Toshiba Thailand, Microsoft Thailand and other sponsors, the school also trains teachers. The school’s website says it functions as a base for “21st century teacher training” encouraging teachers to foster a child’s creativity and imagination, as opposed to teaching by rote memorization.