Thailand – Supporting Education
As in many developing countries, great efforts are being made in Thailand to improve general levels of education.
The duration of compulsory schooling was recently raised from six to nine years. But many workers at the Lampang ball clay unit (Minerals for Ceramics) have had little or no schooling. This ceramics production center is located in the relatively undeveloped North of the country, where older personnel often have low key life skills.
On the initiative of operations manager Payap Moolwaeng, the MRD-ECC unit site (Imerys subsidiary) set up a program in 2006 to give employees access to basic education. Participants attend classes with teachers from the Office of Non-Formal Education for two hours a week during working hours. For the sake of efficiency, lessons take place on the company’s premises during maintenance operations. Transport is provided to Lampang town twice a year for exams. Both direct employees, who are mostly machine operators, and contractors in unskilled positions such as packing have access to the program.
The course covers three types of instruction: fundamental subjects including Thai, mathematics and science; practical skills such as crafts and making clothes; and activities designed to improve quality of life.