Hsa Thoo Lei Learning Centre (Nursery, Primary and Secondary)
Date Established: 1999
Enrolment 2021-2022: 755
Grade Levels: Nursery,KG1,G1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,Post Ten Year -1
Director: Mrs. Phori Rattanachiruedi
Head teacher: Naw Hsa Eh
Students (Male): 360
Students (Female): 395
Total number of teachers: 42
Hsa Thoo Lei school was founded by Naw Paw Ray in 1999 with 25 children. It has now developed into one of the biggest learning centres in the Mae Sot area, with about 750 children enrolled in the 2021-2022 academic year between nursery, primary and high grades. It used to be a Karen school; however over the years it has become a school that offers comprehensive quality education in Burmese language, while also teaching Karen and Thai languages. An important number of parents in the area, as well as in refugee camps, would like to send their children in this school, because the quality of the education is renowned.
Hsa Thoo Lei Nursery
The nursery is situated at the back of Hsa Thoo Lei’s school grounds and is sheltered by palm trees. A small stream runs behind the playground, with a bridge connecting the nursery to other school buildings. There is a large play equipment area for children, and the teachers understand the importance of imaginative play and developing social skills.
The aim is for the small children to feel happy, safe and to develop a sense of belonging. It is the responsibility of teachers to care for students’ welfare and well-being while they are at school. Throughout the morning nursery teachers read stories, recite poems, play games, and sing songs to engage with younger students. Children more than 4 years begin to learn basic reading and writing skills. They study 4 languages: Burmese, English, Thai and Karen. Teachers use flashcards of four alphabets to help the children learn. Everyday lunch is provided for all children.
Hsa Thoo Lei Primary
At Hsa Thoo Lei Primary, some grades have more than one class, because of the large number of students. Students learn 4 languages; Burmese, Karen, Thai and English, as well as Mathematics, Social Studies, Science and Geography. Hsa Thoo Lei is fortunate to have a computer lab and library.
It also benefits from a strong school community, with some parents living and working around the school grounds. The parents are generally active members within the school and have helped it to remain open with their donations in times when no funding was available. Teachers are proud to teach at this school and because of their strong sense of belonging, they have continued teaching even though the salary is oftentimes very low. In terms of transportation, three school vans collect students who live in further parts of the town.
Hsa Thoo Lei often holds sports days because of the importance it places on a child’s development and motivation. The learning environment at Hsa Thoo Lei is positive, and students are committed to make the most of this opportunity.
Hsa Thoo Lei Secondary
Hsa Thoo Lei Secondary is the only high school run by BMWEC and therefore is extremely important to all feeder schools in the area. There are only 3 migrant high schools in the Mae Sot area, including Hsa Thoo Lei, making it a valued and significant learning centre. In grades 7-10, students are taught Burmese, Karen, English, Thai, Social Studies, Science and Mathematics. Once students progress to the post-10 program, all subjects are taught in English, and students study, Mathematics, Social Studies, English and Science which is divided into Chemistry, Physics and Biology.
As Hsa Thoo Lei has a wide range of feeder schools, the school community is quite diverse and students sometimes come from great distances. This means that Hsa Thoo Lei high school has students from an array of cultural backgrounds and situations, making it a culturally tolerant learning environment. A number of high school students board at Hsa Thoo Lei, as that is the only way they can attend high school.
Students from BMWEC are now officially allowed to take the Burmese Matriculation Exam (grade 10). This is an important step toward a brighter future, because it provides students with a greater range of options once they finish school. Students from other migrant high schools can also attend the matriculation class (after they have passed the screening exam) in preparation for the exam. A special classroom has been established for these students; preparation is the only key to success as the test is very challenging.