The custom made vehicle functions both as a library and a classroom, and is equipped with books and variety of learning materials not readily available in schools and rural communities.
Starting this June, “Fully Booked!” will travel to target schools, setting a pop-up classroom on the grounds to provide schoolchildren with access to materials that are crucial for learning, but are very expensive and unaffordable to many rural schools and families. It is hoped that this will reduce the literacy gap between urban and rural schools.
The Centre will help inspire younger schoolchildren to develop interest with books and help improve their literacy through assisted reading. As part of the long-term plan, the Centre will also work with rural parents to teach them how to read ‘to’ and ‘with’ their children to encourage the learning process.
During first semester of 2014, the Centre will service 580 students in 3 pilot schools in Phuket including Baan Don Child Centre (50 students, pre-school level), Wat Thep Kasattri School (450 students, K1-K3 and G1-G6), and Baan Cherng Talay School (80 students, G5-G6), visiting these schools a total of 3 full days per week for the entire semester. Each week, students will be encouraged to borrow at least 1 book home for leisure reading.
A qualified librarian cum teacher will be employed to manage the Centre and ensure the programme runs efficiently and learning progresses are in line with the national curriculum and will keep the programme relevant, fresh and engaging, covering topics such as the environment and English language skills.
The project is one of many initiatives set up by Laguna Phuket to support its wider strategic goal on social & educational development, which aims to build capacities of local communities through socially benefiting projects, adequate educational support, and access to quality educational services.
“Today, I have the pleasure of introducing all of you to our brand new CSR initiative that has been 2 years in the making,” said Mr. Ravi Chandran, Managing Director of Laguna Phuket in his speech.
“We believe that quality education helps build quality people. So for 2 years our team has been committed to developing an initiative together with local schools to bring quality books, learning materials, and learning opportunities to students to help encourage them to read more.”
Since the project initiation 2 years ago, more than 2.2 million Baht was fundraised for the Centre through the generous support of Laguna Phuket triathletes, marathoners, associates, and community members. A matching fund of 2.2 million Baht was made by Banyan Tree Global Foundation to purchase and outfit the mobile vehicle, along with an additional 500,000 Baht for purchase of books and learning materials.
The funding is enough to operate the Centre for 5 academic years, starting from June 2014. Laguna Phuket will continue to fundraise for the Centre to keep providing the service to underprivileged schools even after this initial period.
The Centre’s operation launch will take place in June this year. Guests staying at any Laguna Phuket hotels will be invited to visit the Mobile Learning Centre at schools and join the teachers through interactive involvement by reading and playing interactive learning games with the children.