The Committee of the Prince Maha Chakri Award Foundation has announced its approval of the teachers nominated for the 5th Prince Maha Chakri Award in 2023. “Kru Niwat” from Thailand has been named for the award in recognition of his pioneering work in teaching and development in the hill area.

On April 17, 2023, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presided over the 2023 Annual General Meeting of the Committee of the Princess Maha Chakri Award Foundation. The list of teachers nominated for the 5th Prince Maha Chakri Award was the meeting’s key agenda item.

The Princess Maha Chakri Award is an international award conferred every two years on 11 teachers who make a difference in the lives of their students and contribute to the education circle in ASEAN countries, including Timor-Leste. The 5th HRH Princess Maha Chakri Award Ceremony was held on October 17, 2022. The awarded teachers from 11 countries were named, including Teacher Mohammad Amir Irvan Bin Hachimukkhsin from Negara Brunei Darussalam; Teacher He Chakriya from the Kingdom of Cambodia; Teacher Haris Dayani from the Republic of Indonesia; Teacher Kim Phuong Heungmany from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Teacher Sai Fulnisan Che Ismail from Malaysia; Teacher Daw E Soo Win from the Republic of the Union of Myanmar; Teacher Jerwin O. Valencia from the Republic of the Philippines; Teacher Chong Kuan Penny from the Republic of Singapore; Teacher Filomena Da Costa from the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste; Teacher Nguyen Man Hung from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

For Thailand, the Princess Maha Chakri Award Foundation, in collaboration with education agencies, selected a teacher who deserves the Princess Maha Chakri Award between 2022 and 2023 by the provincial and Bangkok selection committees from 77 provinces and 7 organizations with national awards credentials. Eventually, Teacher Niwat Ngoen Ngam Meesuk from the “Mae Fah Luang” Hill Area Community Learning Center (HACLC), Ban Moko Kee, Tha Song Yang District, Tak Province, was selected for this year’s award. Teacher Niwat also serves as a supervisor in five learning centers and a branch classroom at Ban Morko Mai, Tha Song Yang District, providing education to people of all ages in the community, including basic education to promote literacy, career development, quality of life, and environmental protection. Using the village forum, he fosters learning in the neighborhood that aids in addressing drug issues, reducing monoculture farming and deforestation, promoting integrated coffee cultivation and eco-tourism, and imparting critical life skills. For more than 21 years, Teacher Niwat has dedicated his life to teaching in the hills. He is the founder of five “Mae Fah Luang” hill tribe community learning centers, which are spaced 7–10 kilometers apart from one another. He pledged, “I wish I could give my students the knowledge they could use for life as a way to pay back the motherland.”

The Princess Maha Chakri Award Foundation also considered giving two Kunakorn Awards: one to Teacher Udon Saising, a beloved and revered teacher among his students, their parents, and the community at Ban Kota Baru School, Raman District, Yala Province, and another to Teacher Somkiat Saeteng, a new generation teacher who fosters quality education emphasizing community affection, the creation of identity, and the personal achievement of each child. He is currently working at the Khao Noi Wittayakhom School in Trat Province’s Muang District.

In addition, the meeting has added three more countries to the list of those eligible to nominate teachers for the 6th Prince Maha Chakri Award in 2025. These countries are Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Mongolia, all of which have benefited from educational projects initiated by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Over the past year, the Foundation and its network partners, both domestically and internationally, have worked to support the exchange of knowledge among the awarded teacher network. For instance, they have launched a project to promote and develop spelling, speaking, reading, and writing skills in Thai for children in remote areas. This project was initiated by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and implemented in cooperation with the Thai Red Cross Society, Kasetsart University, the Education Equity Fund, and higher education institutions. The project aims to support Thai language teachers in schools where the majority of students are ethnic groups through the village education volunteer system, the use of media, and local-level support mechanisms. Currently, this project has empowered teachers and volunteers in 14 provinces to pilot 1,619 target schools.