By SAOWANEE NIMPAN-|PAYUNGWONG
SOME 500,000 offspring of migrant workers - 50,000 of whom live in dire conditions at construction sites across Bangkok - need proper education, Wallop Tangkhananurak, a former senator and secretary of a children's foundation, said yesterday.
He also called on the authorities to introduce a proactive policy to educate these children before the Asean Economic Community opens the door to free trade and labour flow.
Wallop said the legalisation of migrant workers and their families saw the number of registered migrant workers rising to 700,000. However, he said, this also meant that there were just as many illegal migrants, which means there must be at least 500,000 children, both registered and otherwise, living with their parents in Thailand.
Explaining that his foundation can only cover about 0.001 per cent of the migrant children, he called on the government to set up centres offering education to migrant children. Wallop’s foundation is located on Udom Suk Soi 60.
He went on to say that getting these children properly registered would also be a good long-term solution.
Thongpoon Buasri, who works as a teacher for the foundation, said the centre provided basic education as well as lunch to migrant children aged 3 to 9. Each day the centre has some 20 children to look after before they move on to other job sites with their parents.
Since there are at least 400 more construction projects planned for Bangkok, the foundation hopes the construction companies will lend a hand and help set up education centres so these children can be given a brighter future and stopped from becoming social problems.