A local expat couple is so disillusioned with the international education in Chiang Mai that they have vowed to open a new school with the ‘needs of the children at its heart.’
Rachel and Chas Begley have lived in Chiang Mai for 16 years, and their three children were all born here. ‘We love Chiang Mai’ Rachel told us. ‘It’s our home, but as the kids get older, we’re struggling to find education options for their remaining school years.’
The couple’s children, currently aged six, nine, and eleven, have attended three different schools in the city. ‘I don’t want to give the impression the experience has been solely negative’, Rachel explained. ‘The children have had some inspirational teachers and made many friends, but after trying many different options, we are frustrated with the same ongoing issues at international schools. We meet parents and teachers experiencing similar problems.’
‘Many parents complain about seemingly arbitrary fee increases, poor communications and inadequate consultation. International school parents expect to pay fees but want more openness and transparency about financing. We don’t believe in making profits from schooling or that school governance should be impacted by issues outside education.
Ideally, we would like to establish a school that functions entirely as a non-profit foundation investing all revenue back into the school. An international school should belong to the community of families it serves. That’s what we want for our kids and what we are trying to build.’
A few weeks ago, to gauge reaction, the couple posted their idea of starting a school on their personal Facebook. They received an overwhelming number of responses from parents, teachers and others interested in the project and wanting to help.
‘We’ve had an incredibly positive response, so we are ready to take the next step, cast the net wider and go public. We are looking for other families in Chiang Mai interested in the idea and joining us on this journey.
Rachel and Chas will be holding an open public meeting to discuss their plans on Monday 30 May at 7.30pm. The venue will be announced when there is an indication of how many wish to attend.
If you would like to attend the meeting or are interested in this project, please fill in the form at this link.
You can read more about the project and contact them on their webpage.