Society Matters | Volume 32 No. 1 | Autumn 2022

5 Volume 32 No. 1 | Autumn 2022 Society Matters “This investment in education directly impacts the livelihood of young people and opens up more opportunities for them in the future.” Fr Truong said demand for the course has grown since the opening of the smart classroom with technological resources. “Within a month of using the smart classroom (OctoberNovember), students showed tremendous strides in computer skills, mainly typing, and English language learning,” he said. “The typing lessons were received overwhelmingly well. The 10 students that make up the bulk of the class (1014 years of age) were competent with typing skills within three weeks. To further their development, I gave them time to write journals, which in turn helped them with Thai language learning. “The computers and laptops have been invaluable resources to aid with English language learning. Students were more engaged and active in the learning process with supplemental instructions from online English programs like Duolingo. It offers games and practice lessons which I was not equipped with before. “Within months of opening the smart classroom, I see the possibilities to further help young people in the village of Sangkhomphatthana. English language learning can continue with the expansion of the curriculum. The computer lessons can bolster students’ learning capacity with Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and other essential programs. The impact is far-reaching.” Fr Truong said the educational opportunities would not be possible without the funding from the SVD Generalate, including support from the AUS Province. “The financing of the project has a 5-fold direct impact within a year. To put this on monetary terms (for the purpose of measuring impact), a native English speaker with certification will earn 500-1000 Baht per hour in Bangkok,” he said. “The availability of proficient English teachers diminishes moving from the urban to rural context. Learning in an air-conditioned room with technological resources and a native speaker with a certificate will go at a minimum of 500 baht an hour. I’m currently teaching 10 students with five hours of instruction each week. So, within a year, that comes out to be 1,200,000 Baht -a five-fold direct impact from the initial 240,000 baht funding. “Of course, I’m offering the course free of charge. But the measurable impact shows that the project is worthwhile and will improve the livelihood of the young people and their families in the village of Sankhomphatthana.”