September 9, 2023 September 10, 2023 Go Further, Towards a Better Future Thailand faces complex education challenges, and to address them, we need individuals from all sectors who understand and have firsthand experience with these issues. But what's more important is the shared belief that every child has the potential to shape their future through quality education. September 9, 2023 เวอร์ชั่นภาษาไทย Thailand faces complex education challenges, and to address them, we need individuals from all sectors who understand and have firsthand experience with these issues. But what’s more important is the shared belief that every child has the potential to shape their future through quality education. “We believe in every child’s ability to succeed.” Teach For Thailand’s founder and CEO, Ta Vichitapol Pholpoke, has carried this belief since the organization’s inception. The ‘sense of possibility’ is deeply embedded in Teach For Thailand’s DNA. Thailand has many children with potential, yet too many are left out of the education system or receive unfair education. Economic status, inequalities, learning environments, and educational policies all contribute to their underperformance. But here’s the truth: every child has the power to grow and succeed. “They can go further” – Even Ta himself established this organization based on this belief. “I had the opportunity for a good education, studying in the United States. When I was close to graduating, the professor asked the class what we wanted to do. Many of my classmates wanted to work with Teach For America,” Ta recounted, “But I couldn’t apply because I wasn’t American.” For many, that response alone might close doors of opportunity, but Ta saw it as a new doorway that would lead him to do what he believed in. Back in 2009, Ta’s dream of establishing Teach For Thailand began. It took four more years before officially launching in 2013. While we receive support from the Teach For All network, Teach For Thailand is an independent organization. We work tirelessly within our foundation, brainstorming, seeking funding, and managing everything ourselves. Now, after more than a decade, Teach For Thailand has created numerous individuals making a difference in education. It all started with Ta’s own rejection and a steadfast belief in the potential for change. We believe in people and empowering them to address the complexities of Thailand’s education system. In fact, Teach For Thailand is not about any one person, but a collective effort to build a brighter future for Thai education. The “Fellowship Program” is the heart of Teach For Thailand. It sends individuals from various professions and backgrounds to teach for two years in high-need schools. The goal is for them to understand the educational challenges faced by students, teachers, and communities so they can help solve these problems, both within and outside the education system. “In simple terms, we create leaders for society through teaching. And when our alumni graduate from the Program, they apply their understanding and knowledge of education issues to drive change across various sectors in society,” the founder explained. “More than 50% of our alumni continue to work in the education sector after completing the 2-year Program,” he added. The path of a fellow is like climbing a tall mountain. It requires thorough preparation and perseverance. Challenges may discourage them along the way, but Teach For Thailand remains believing in its mission. “At the beginning of the establishment, if we approached 50 people, we’d probably be rejected by 40,” one of the co-founders shared. “But we didn’t give up. We remained steadfast in our goals.” The Fellowship Program reflects this journey. Fellows explore different ways to find effective solutions. “We provide a space for young people to engage with real problems, and they learn that education issues are more profound than just structural or environmental concerns. Schools reflect the problems of society,” Ta described their approach. “Once they’ve seen the real problems, they realize that there are solutions. After this realization, they take their newfound knowledge to work on systemic solutions.” Solving educational problems, especially inequity, is not easy. But Teach For Thailand believes in investing in people and building a network of capable leaders who understand these issues. “Education is an investment that takes time. Imagine investing in something and it might take up to 12 years, which is basically a person’s lifetime, before seeing the results,” Ta emphasized. “It’s not like you invest and get results in two months or see immediate effects, like enforcing certain policies.” “Our people go into the field and see the actual situation, even if they can’t solve all the problems, become leaders who truly understand the issues,” he concluded. Ta also emphasized that Teach For Thailand acts as a bridge that enables people to truly understand the problems. Then strategies can be aligned with action, resulting in more effective problem-solving. This is because both the strategy and the execution need to go hand in hand. “The challenge is how to create students who have a genuine desire to learn and become owners of their own learning, those who want to continuously develop themselves.” For Teach For Thailand, this journey is a long-term commitment that requires constant self-improvement. Every experience and obstacle contributes to our learning and drives us forward. We strive for better education, to weave a brighter future for all children in Thailand.