Project information

Burma/Thai Border Mobile Teacher Trainer Programme

Mobile Teacher Units will provide professional training for unskilled teachers in communities displaced by war, poverty and oppression. Building partnerships with local teachers at ‘grassroots’ level will develop both English and teaching skills, leading to sustainable improvement in education.

September 2011 - April 2014

Charity information: Burma Education Partnership

Burma Education Partnership logo
  • Need


    War, political repression and economic instability have given rise to much social turmoil in Burma. On the Burma/Thai border 130,000 refugees are in camps; 250,000 migrants are in scattered communities. There are about 70 migrant schools near the border in Mae Sot serving 10,000 children. Levels of English among teachers and standards of teaching both tend to be low. A second target group, the refugee community, suffers from similar problems and also needs English textbooks updating.


    For the migrant schools, we will provide an annual 6-month teacher training programme to include a BEP Teacher Training Award and Cambridge exam courses in English language resulting in formal accreditation. Over 3 years, this will build a cadre of skilled Burmese teachers and influence the education of many children. Also, for the 7 refugee camps on the Burma/Thai border, we will write and support the implementation of new textbooks for the English curriculum for all primary school grades.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Develop the use and understanding of spoken/written English for approximately 200 teachers


    » We will provide 2 x 3hr English language classes for each cohort of teachers per week over 6 months in preparation for Cambridge PET and KET exams.
    » An International School in Bangkok will administer and monitor the PET and KET exams at the end of the 6-month course.

    What success will look like

    Success will be at least 80% of Burmese/Thai teachers achieving the Cambridge PET or KET certificate each year.

    Aim 2

    Develop English teaching skills for approximately 200 teachers


    » Mobile trainers to coach Burmese/Thai teachers in the classroom: planning, developing materials and appropriate teaching strategies.
    » Mobile trainers to provide weekly in-service training sessions for Burmese/Thai teachers on interactive and communicative teaching methods.

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated through lesson observations, photos/film and questionnaires showing pupils actively engaged in their learning and using higher levels of English.

    Aim 3

    Develop new English language curriculum textbooks designed for use in refugee camp primary schools


    » BEP will continue to develop textbooks for the English Language Curriculum in Primary Schools with all key stage 1 texts to be completed by 2014.
    » Textbooks will be printed and distributed to all primary schools in 7 refugee camps.
    » Implementation of textbooks will be supported by mobile trainers coaching teachers in the camps.

    What success will look like

    Success will mean new English textbooks being written, produced and distributed to 10,000 primary pupils in refugee schools, and these being used effectively by teachers.

    Aim 4

    Improve pupils’ English skills and their engagement, involvement and ownership of their own learning


    » Mobile trainers will work in tandem with teachers to develop communicative techniques which engage pupils and improve learning and language skills.
    » Mobile trainers to provide monthly in-service training sessions for Burmese/Thai teachers on interactive and communicative teaching methods.

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated through observations, photos/film and pupils' responses showing them actively engaged in their learning and using higher levels of English.

  • Impact


    The project will improve teachers’ skills and English proficiency, and create a cadre of skilled practitioners, some of whom will train and support colleagues’ professional development in the coming years. We will demonstrate the success of this project by observing and recording well-planned, interactive lessons, in which pupils enjoy their learning and the level of their English is higher. We will continue to work with teachers to maintain and develop skills in subsequent years.


    1} Burmese/Thai teachers’ commitment; 2} British teacher trainers' skill level; 3} difficulty in introducing new techniques into the classroom; 4) uncertain political situation in Burma and Thai government policy. We now have formal applications and expectations are shared with teachers and heads; we have a rigorous trainer selection and induction process, an ELT expert in the UK and team leaders on the ground to support; we have piloted the programme and tailor it to individual teacher needs.


    Donors will receive a quarterly newsletter by email which will outline ongoing and forthcoming activities, using reports, stories and photos provided by participants in the project. Any necessary changes to the project will be addressed in these newsletters.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £103,650

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      Amount Heading Description
      £55,800 Volunteer expenses Accommodation/Living for 8 volunteers a year
      £6,900 Exams/Materials Teaching materials; exam fees
      £8,400 Transport Pick-up truck to and from camps
      £9,000 Monitoring/Evaluation Visits; reports by outside agencies
      £7,140 Recruitment/Training/Visas Adverts, interviews, induction, training, visas
      £5,200 5% Contingency/Inflation Contingency and inflation
      £11,210 Admin, legal, insurance Office, legal advice, insurance policies

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Durham Uni. Charities K. £8,000 Guaranteed £10,000 Guaranteed
    N. & A. Ferguson Trust £10,000 Guaranteed
    BEP £20,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    This project is aimed at improving education in two of the most disadvantaged communities in South East Asia: the Burmese migrant community in Mae Sot and the Burmese refugee community in camps along the Burma/Thai border. War, political repression and economic instability in Burma have resulted in thousands of Burmese fleeing the country to neighbouring Thailand to find refuge and/or work. These communities are marginalised, vulnerable and open to many forms of exploitation.


    1] The teachers in the migrant and refugee schools - there is a need for both training in teaching methods and better use/understanding of English if standards of education are to improve. 2] The pupils in the migrant and refugee schools - levels of English are low and students are not involved or engaged in their own learning. The ability to communicate in English is a major advantage to young people as English is the ‘lingua franca’ of South East Asia.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Over three phases beginning in 2008, BEP has built up experience of using mobile units of professional trainers in these marginalised communities on the Burma/Thai border. We have successfully piloted the Cambridge PET/KET courses achieving a very high success rate. We have strong links with local NGOs, CBOs and the Thai MoE. BEP has strong leadership and management and skilled volunteers with the capacity to deliver this project. has adopted BEP as its Charity of the Year 2011.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Bob Anderson

    As project director, Bob leads the team with deep local knowledge, a wide network of contacts built up over 15 years and expertise in English teaching

    Clive Taylor

    Clive is project advisor. He uses his SE Asian British Council leadership experience in ELT to support the Board in the UK and the team on the border.

    Karen Waterston

    Karen is an ELT specialist and is team leader in the migrant schools. She has wide local knowledge and experience in managing the programme.

    Katharine May

    Katharine is also an ELT specialist and is team leader in the refugee schools. She has wide local knowledge and experience in curriculum development.