On 17 February 2017, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn visited Ban Pang Mahan School, Therd Thai sub-district, Mae Fah Luang district, Chiang Rai province, to chair a meeting of the working group on Thai language learning for children whose first language is not Thai.
The Thai language learning project was initiated by HRH Princess Sirindhorn during the 2016 board meeting of the Mae Fah Luang Foundation under Royal Patronage out of concern that children of hill tribes cannot read and write Thai.
Mah Fah Luang Foundation, together with the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC), Chiang Rai, and schools in the Doi Tung Development Project area, selected eight of 31 locals schools, namely Samakkhi Pattana School, Chao Phor Luang Uppatham School, Na Toh Border Patrol Police School, Ban Jati School, Ban Pang Mahan School, Huay Yuak Paso School, Ban Phaji School and Border Patrol Police 87 School, to participate in the pilot project, based on the potential of the school teachers and administrators, environment and community, as well as the low Thai language skills of the children.
The project targeted 746 children in Prathom 1-3, using the methodology developed and implemented successfully by the Doi Tung Development Project for its own community schools. After one year, aptitude tests show a marked increase in Thai language skills for the participants.
Training courses for teachers were also held by those at the Doi Tung Development Project schools. The project will now be expanded to neighbouring schools in the area.