“One, S̄xng, Tre, Fyra, Viisi, Seks”. Childrens brought up in Thailand with Scandinavian roots have a lot of languages to deal with. In the streets they speak Thai, in School it’s English and at home it might be Swedish, Danish, Norwegian or Finnish. So what are the opportunities to maintain or develop the children’s mother tongue? ScandAsia portrays the situation.
The privileged Swedes
Swedes are by far the most privileged when it comes to school options for their kids. Swedish schools are found in many parts of Thailand counting Bangkok, Hua Hin, Koh Lanta, Huay Yang and Phuket.
Sanuk, Svenska Skolan Thailand, runs three Swedish schools around the Krabi area in Hua Hin, Koh Lanta and Huay Yang, they established the first Swedish school in Thailand at Koh Lanta in 2004. Sanuk offers preschool and primary school classes from 1th to 9th grade. Classes normally consist of small groups of 10 students. They follow Swedish curriculum and classes are conducted in Swedish. Prices differs but it’s around 120.000 baht a year per student for the preschool and 90.000 baht a year for primary school.
West to Sanuk in Kamala, Phuket, Quality Swedish School, QSS, is found. It opened in August 2010 and was the first School officially licensed by Thai authorities to operate as a Swedish primary school in Thailand. The licens naturally means that they follow the Swedish curriculum and spoken language is Swedish. QSS provides preschool and primary school teaching. Preschool covers the ages from 2 to 5 years. Primary school is divided into two groups covering 1th to 3th graders and 4th to 9th graders. Prices depends on grades and the length of the stay but normal price for preschool is 130.000 baht a year per children and primary school is 150.000 baht.
If centered in Bangkok you have a different branch of possibilities but there are no all Swedish day schools. The Swedish School Association offers weekly Swedish courses on different levels three days a week. On Mondays they host a class from 6 to 12 year-olds at ISB, on Fridays they teach 9 to 12 year-olds at KIS and Saturdays 3 to 14 year-olds can take lectures at NIST. One course counts 15 lectures and is priced at 3000 baht per child and it follwos International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, but the content is almost the same and all the material we use is developed from the latest Swedish curriculum.
There’s also the opportunity to list your kids for distance learning in Swedish that the parents can arrange by themselves and do in their own home. This is offered by the Svenska Distans from the age 3-13 Sofia Distans from the age 6-16.
It differs from each municipality whether you’re able to carry your Swedish school money with you to Thailand. So check with the municipality that you’re attached to.
Fair options for Finns
Finns may not be as privileged as Swedes when it comes to Schooling opportunities, but they have fairly good options to keep the Suomi smooth. There are two Finnish schools in Thailand, one in Bangkok and one in Pattaya.
Finnish School Banksu in Bangkok was established in 1997. The school is meant for children who at least use Finnish as their second language at home. Lessons are one hour and are held once a week after normal school days in the premises of the international schools. Lessons are divided into three different age groups and are conducted by Finnish teachers with education background.
In Pattaya the all day Finnish school Pattaya Suomalainen Koulu is run by the couple Tiiti and Tommi Mäkelä. It opened in the autumn of 2010 and counts 30 pupils spread in 7 classes ranging from 6 to 16 year-olds. The school follows a normal school week with lessons everyday from around 9 am to 3 pm. Tiiti and Tommi teachs themselve and the curriculum is almost as in Finland. Price is 195.000 baht a year per pupil.
Exciting initiative coming up for Denmark
Currently there are no Danish Schools in Thailand and moreover there are no International Schools offering Danish as a second language additional course, which should be common for a bigger expat group like the Danish. So the situation is quite unclear.
However things are developing. A group of Danes in Thailand have taken initiative to start a Danish course with help from the Danes Worldwide organization. On the terms of gathering a minimum of 4 students the Danes Worldwide provides group lessons to Danish children around the world. A group of Danish parents have engaged in this prospect and already have an agreement with NIST to host this. A pre meeting was held in October 2015 where interest was shown from parents to around 60 children. The price is not settled, but it could be around 2-3000 DKK a year plus a membership at Danes Worldwide for 650 DKK a year. The project is not officially announced yet, but iniativetaker, Mai Ellegaard, tells that they hope for this to start in the coming summer. So stay tuned.
While waiting for that, Danes Worldwide offers online courses which is the same material that the group lessons consist of. With a helping hand from a Danish-speaking parent this is a good alternative. Right now more than 20 children in Thailand are attending this. Prices range from 6.690 DKK to 9.190 DKK depending on membership, levels and number of kids.
Asking the Danish Embassy their best recommendation at the moment is to make a private arrangement. There are lots of qualified Danes around, educated and uneducated teachers, just screen the internet or make an inquire at the expat community. Moreover they recommend the Danes Worldwide summer school taking place in Denmark, offering Danish lectures and learning about Danish culture. The summer school runs from 3. juli to 21. juli and consists of 75 lectures.
No Schools for Norwegians
Thailand is barren land for Norwegian language. There are now Norwegian schools in Thailand and no courses on international schools that teach Norwegian. So what to do?
The Norwegian Embassy mentions Globalskolen as the best alternative, an online school used by 53 Norwegian children in Thailand at the moment. It is partly financed by the Norwegian Government and partly by the users. The teaching is based on Kunnskapsløftet, the Norwegians educational reform, and follows the Norwegian curriculum. It provides material from 1th to 10th grade for 3 different groups; mother tongued Norwegians, multilinguals that are well-versed in Norwegian but not good enough to follow the curriculum as well as children who are very basic in Norwegian language and needs assistance from their parents.
However your child have to fulfill some minimum terms to attend Globalskolen. Firstly your child has to have a Norwegian personal number, the stay abroad have to be at least one year, your child must attend a local or international school in Thailand and your child must participate in all 15 lectures that forms each semester. Prices are as follows; 1 child is 1000 NOK per semester, 2 children’s is 750 NOK each, 3 children’s is 500 NOK each and 4 or more children is free.