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Turning High Schools into Lifelong Learning Centers - breeding leaders & entrepreneurs through school-based businesses and internships

The Mechai Pattana School (or Bamboo School) gives rural Thai kids meaningful learning (customized curriculum), real skills (instead of theoretical projects, the students run businesses & make decisions as the administrative board), and access to further growth opportunities (graduating from the Bamboo School counts as 1st year of college at some universities, internships in hospitality / resort management, study abroad with hands on learning) while engaging their entire families (events, co-running businesses). This model can be replicated among (1) open-minded school boards willing to adjust their curriculum and (2) a network of businesses + universities willing to offer jobs & scholarships to students in this type of program

Photo of Angela Noronha
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http://www.mechaifoundation.org/school.asp

I love the way it integrates existing people/entities and strengths, so it's very doable! The fun, meaningful, hands-on curriculum would be the easiest thing to spread. What takes more work is establishing a healthy ecosystem: where the school based businesses are appropriate and truly income-accretive for the community they are in, where parents and community leaders buy into the curriculum and support activities, where businesses believe in the model enough to give these students a chance at decent jobs come graduation. I think there are enough business owners around willing to give this a shot, and it's now someone's job just to string together that network and make something happen. :)

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Photo of Emilia Lucy Nogueira Marinho

Angela Noronha, thank you for sharing this noteworth project with us. I also believe that by transmiting and teaching values is the right way to teach children how to change the world. But few questions come into my mind while I was reading, such as: How the local community figure out this learning-concept? How this project was implemented? When it started? Did it have to be approved by the government to be legally recognized? Thank you for your attention.

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