Parkhet village clings to the side of a remote mountain about 3 hours drive by four wheel drive track east of Hopone, Southern Shan State. The villagers are Pa-o and gather forest products and farm the steep sided mountains. The village and the school are supplied with gravity fed piped water.
Fifty seven students attend this lively kindergarten and primary school (up to grade 5), squeezed into the side of a hill above the soccer field. The headmistress and three teachers are very active in promoting an engaged learning environment. In a first phase, BSB will work with Naung Taung Monastic School in Hopone and the Parkhet school committee to improve the existing school by installing new clerestory windows to improve lighting, build additional furniture, install walls between classrooms to reduce noise and distraction, and to build new sanitary toilets.
A former student of BSB’s executive director, Robert Cornwell, grew up in this village and attended Parkhet School. Bob’s former student, Khun Aung Aung, now a teaching leader at Naung Taung Monastic School in Hopone, asked BSB to help improve the learning environment for the students. He will help lead the school improvement project.
The villagers and the school committee would like to make Parkhet a middle school, as there is no middle school nearby, obliging students to board away from home to learn beyond the 5th grade. If the local government township education office agrees to cooperate and supply teachers, a second phase in 2020 or 2021 would be to add a 3 room building for a middle school next to the soccer field.
Construction began in early 2020, starting with renovations to the existing building.