The Mechai Pattana School is for the rural poor of Thailand. The Pattana School aims to keep those children at home who migrate to the cities for better education from their rural schools. The school’s mission is to create a generation of honest leaders who will improve rural Thailand. They try to achieve their mission by promoting the values like environmental protection, education, poverty extermination, patronage, integrity, democracy and gender inequality. This motive is achieved by motivating creativity and imagination of a person which develops the intellectualize as well as whole individual.
This school is a lifelong learning center for members of the community and not only for the children. The community members can also use the school to improve their knowledge of agriculture, business and vocational skills.
In every step of the student’s education, the Mechai Pattana School encourages their interaction and involvement. A unique way the students are involved is that they have to earn their lunches and tuition. The students earn their tuition and lunches by community service as one lunch equals one hour of community service and to pay for tuition the students and parents must plant 400 trees and do 400 hours of community service. The teacher selection is also a part of the student activities by participating in the interview and helps make final decisions. Students in the eighth and ninth grade decide on the incoming seventh graders to involve themselves in the student selection process. The school auditing and purchasing committees are also run by the students by being in the school board. Mechai believes that these experiences help illustrate real world situations and interactions provide an exceptional experience of responsibility and leadership to the students.
It is surprising to know that during the student’s education, the students have to operate their own businesses and also to decide what they want to learn. In return to this, they get the profit of scholarships for needy children in other rural villages, and also provide tutoring and mentoring to these children. By running a business, they learn to earn money and a sense of social entrepreneurship.
This unusual school represents a unique vision for the future of education – a center of learning that teaches 21st century skills, knowledge and opportunity to a community that needs them the most.