Fri 29 Feb 2008
Filed under: News,On The Border
Thai police on Thursday raided an unregistered school for Burmese migrant workers in Chiang Mai, offering courses in languages and computer skills, according to school staff.
Thein Lwin, an organizer of the school, known as the Chiang Mai Learning Center, told The Irrawaddy on Friday that Thai police inspected the school for one and half hours and seized six motorbikes own by students.
One student, Sai Lu, was arrested.
About 300 students-many without migrant registration documents-currently attend the school, including a number of Thai students.
During the raid, some students without legal documents or a work permit tried to flee, fearing arrest and deportation.
Thein Lwin said, â€œThey [police] arrested a student who tried to escape, and they took away six motorbikes that didn’t have proper papers.â€
Thai police didn’t demand the closure of the school during the raid, said Thein Lwin, and the motorcycles will be returned after a fine is paid.
The school has operated with the knowledge of Thai authorities since 2005, providing free education courses in Thai, English and Burmese, plus computer training. The school has about 10 teachers.
Sayar Sai, a teacher, said: â€œSo long as we run our school without registration, we will face such actions. But, we are trying to register as a formal school.â€
The school is financially supported by donors and non-governmental organizations and operates on a budget of about US $1,500 per month.
The goal is to provide an opportunity for students to broaden work skills and to study languages, said Thein Lwin.
The school offers two sessions each morning and evening, with two levels available in all subjects. A computer class is offered at night. A three-month course of study is offered.