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Research Assistant

Research Assistant: Review of Migrant Education Pathways and Strategies for Sustainability

1. Background

Migrant Education in Thailand
Migrants from Myanmar have been present in Thailand in large numbers for many years due to the long-term conflict, poor economy and lack of educational opportunities and jobs in the country. As a result, approximately 2.5 million migrants from Myanmar live in Thailand, primarily in areas with large agricultural, fishing, food processing industries or other jobs involving manual labor, such as in Bangkok and Mae Sot, a key border transit and trade site. 
In order to provide an education for their children, migrant communities set up Migrant Learning Centers (MLCs) run by volunteers and community based organization such as Help without Frontiers (HWF) and Foundation for Rural Youth (FRY). In 2007, 88 MLCs were listed across Thailand with 55,858 students, although the actual total of MLCs and students is likely to be much higher .   MLCs have been acknowledged and “listed” by the Royal Thai Government (RTG) Ministry of Education (MoE). This acknowledgement provides the centers with the ability to operate without fear of closure or without migrant families fearing deportation. However these MLCs are not accredited monitored or supported by any formal education authority and as a result students receive no formal recognition of learning.   The MLCs most often end at the primary school level and children leave these centers to go into work. Leaving education at this age with no record of learning has serious consequences for the future opportunities of these children. 
In August 2005, Royal Thai Government adopted an "Education for All" policy, giving all children in Thailand equal access to schooling, regardless of national origin or identity documentation. While implementation of this law has been very slow and many regional education authorities and Thai schools have failed to implement it, in the past three to four years the numbers of migrant children enrolling in Thai schools has steadily risen. Whilst this is regarded as a positive trend by some, many challenges and complications still exist. Some Thai government schools are still not aware of or do not understand the law, or are unwilling to accept non-Thai students. Many migrant families are afraid to send children to school for fear of arrest, or cannot afford the extra costs for school uniforms, text books and transportation. 
Save the Children and World Education Research
Given the complexity of the challenges outlined above, there is a need to review the current needs and options for different migrant communities, and strengthen a coordinated, evidence-driven approach that will provide appropriate, high-quality and sustainable education pathways for migrant children. Save the Children is therefore going to collaborate with World Education to conduct a research into the migrant education sector in target areas of Mae Sot and Bangkok, including a i) situational analysis of migrant children’s educational access, needs, and options ii) case studies on best practice and challenges in migrant education programs.  World Education will be leading the situation analysis in Mae Sot, and through this consultancy Save the Children will conduct a similar situation analysis in target areas of Bangkok and case studies around HWF and FRY’s programs.

2. The purpose of this consultancy
The purpose of this consultancy is to assist the research into the migrant education sector research to be conducted in coordination with World Education (WE). The research will be focused on two areas- i) Situation analysis of migrant education in Bangkok ii) case studies of FRY and HWF work.

3. Overview of Research Component of this consultancy:
Situation analysis research focused on migrant communities in Bangkok
• Quantitative and Qualitative analysis of the access and opportunities which exist to provide a quality and recognized education for migrant children in Bangkok.
•  Analysis of needs, vision and ambitions of migrant parents, students and communities in target areas of Bangkok

4. Research approach and methods
• Desk-based secondary research (component 1)
• Primary field research and case studies (components 1, 2)
• Participatory action research (component 2)

5. Assistant’s responsibilities
I. Lead/support meetings and workshops with research partners (HWF FRY) as greed with the lead researcher
II. Gather, compile and analyze secondary information and data as agreed with the lead researcher
III. Conduct primary field research as agreed with the lead researcher (interviews, focus groups, surveys, reading assessments). 
IV. Produce reports for the situation analysis as agreed with the lead researcher
V. Gather information and documents for the case studies as agreed with lead researchers
VI. Implement field research for the case studies as greed with the lead researcher
VII. Produce documents and reports for the case studies as greed with the lead researcher

6. Timeframe
• The research assistant will be required to dedicate an estimated 20-25 days’ time to the research during August-October  period, subject to the requirements and agreements with the lead researcher

7. Researcher qualifications and profile
• Bachelor’s degree in education, research, social sciences or other related field
• Master’s degree education, research, social sciences or other related field preferred
• Ability to work closely with community based organizations
• Thai language proficiency
• Burmese proficiency desirable
• Demonstrated practical experience in conducting research amongst vulnerable groups
• Ability to write in English
• Knowledge and experience in the migrant education sector is desirable

8. Management of research
• The research assistant will respond to the instructions of the lead researcher contracted by Save the Children/World Education
• Save the Children will approve the research design and reports submitted
• The assistant will work in close cooperation with Save the Children and World Education and the Research Committee 
• The research will work alongside Help Without Frontiers and Foundation for Rural youth
• The researcher will report to the senior education specialist (Tim Murray) on the progress of the research
• The researcher will take responsibility for their life insurance, work permit, entry visa but Save the Children will provide documents to support application as appropriate

9. Name of Partners Involved
• Save the Children
• Help Without Frontiers
• Foundation for Rural Youth
• World Education
• The Ministry of Education – Thailand ( on World Education Research Committee)
• The Suwannamit Foundation (on World Education Research Committee)
• The Burmese Migrant Teachers’ Association (on World Education Research Committee)

10. Consultancy Fee
The fee of the assistant should be between $1,500-2,000 USD
The financial competitiveness of the fee will be considered in the selection process.
Costs involved in the research, such as materials and travel, will be covered by Save the Children.

11. Submissions for the consultancy
The submission must address the terms of reference and include:

• Name and contact details of the candidate
• The resume of the candidate
• A cover letter explaining the candidate’s interest and suitability
• A detailed fee in $US.

12. Close date for submissions:
August 4th 2014
Submissions should be addressed to: HR and Admin Manager, Save the Children Thailand

“We need to keep children safe so our selection process reflects our commitment to the protection of children from abuse.”


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