Saturday, January 19, 2008

Thailand Teacher of the Year - Somprasong Mang-ana

Old Peace Corps buddy Jim Lehman sent me to Wednesday's Bangkok Post to this story on four Thai teachers who were honored on Teachers' Day as the Thai Teachers of the Year. One of them, Somprasong Mang-ana, was my student when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand in the late 1960s. We got to visit his school for a few days last March. I certainly was impressed and I'm delighted to see that more important people than me were also impressed. Here's a link to the five posts I have labeled Umphang. There are pictures of the school in the last three posts. From the Bangkok Post article:

Awards given to mark Teachers Day today


The Education Ministry has honoured four teachers for their teaching spirit and devotion to their work to mark Teachers Day today. The four are Somprasong Mang-ana, director of Umphang Witthayakhom school in Tak; Pol Sgt-Maj Sophon Ritthisarn, a teacher at Wat Chonglarp school in Ratchaburi; Banchong Sombat, a teacher at Nong Rua Witthaya school in Khon Kaen; and Suleela Chanthanu, director of Ban Samnak in Ranong.

Mr Somprasong has been praised for his campaign to provide education opportunities for marginalised children in Tak while Pol Sgt Maj Sophon developed a remote school into a quality one. . .

Mr Somprasong said he chose to work at Umphang Witthaya school in the remote district of Umphang on the Thai-Burmese border because he was determined to help tribal and marginalised children get access to basic education.

''When I first took up my job at the school, there were 398 students and only seven were tribal or stateless pupils,'' said Mr Somprasong.

''I thought those children deserved an education, so I decided to travel to remote villages to persuade parents to send their children to study at my school, which offers free education.

''Now, our school has a total of 845 students, of whom 284 are stateless hilltribe children.''

He donates his 5,600-baht monthly academic entitlement allowance to cover the expenses of poor students. . . .

Kasama Voravan na Ayudhaya, secretary-general of the Basic Education Commission, said the four teachers would each be granted a certificate of honour, a golden plaque, a golden pin and a 300,000 baht cash from Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont on Teachers Day today.


  1. You no doubt have other children/students who you have inspired. Mr. Somprasong is a wise and good man. I am happy thinking of him inspiring students as you do.


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