Main Barriers to Education
- Conflict & Internal Displacement
- Low-Quality Education
The Myanmar Government has earmarked education as a key policy priority in an attempt to realise EFA. Tellingly, education expenditures trebled from 0.7 to 2.1 percent of GDP between 2010 and 2013. Furthermore, in fiscal year 2013-2014 roughly two-thirds of all education expenditures went to primary education and the government elaborated a basic educational structural reform plan in 2015 to improve education quality.
However, despite government support and investment into the education sector, Myanmar is still troubled by low net-enrolment rates and a fledging quality education control system. Also, poverty, a lack of school facilities and trained teachers and language diversity amongst the country’s various ethnic groups continue to create access barriers to education.
In the face these challenges, EAC has locked arms with the Monastic Education Development Group (MEDG), Save the Children, UNESCO Asia and United World Schools (UWS). Specific project interventions include: non-formal education and teacher training; financial support to teachers and parents; research and policy advocacy; and school construction and global education partnerships.
source: EAC Project Documentation
With EAC support, Save the Children (STC) is implementing the ACCESS project in Eastern Myanmar and Thailand. The project aims to address key barriers to education in three communities: eastern Myanmar; refugee camps in Thailand; and migrant communities in Bangkok and Mae Sot, Thailand.
A vastly diverse country with an estimated total of 135 distinct ethnic groups, Myanmar has at times struggled to unify its people under the banner of the nation. Ethnic strife and violent conflict are not unknown in Myanmar and have resulted in large-scale internal displacement and refugee flows into neighbouring countries. Furthermore, the Myanmar government has grappled with providing quality basic education, as well as affording different linguistic modes of instruction, which would be more accessible to the country’s diverse ethnic populations. Although education data is scarce in Myanmar, some figures indicate a net primary-enrolment rate of 84 percent; however, 10 percent of these enrolled children will not endure to class 5. According to a Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), as of 2010 there were at least 1 million OOSC in the country.
Across remote rural communities in Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal, access to quality primary education is inhibited for myriad diverse factors. In the Ratanakiri and Stung Treng Provinces of Cambodia, stigmatisation and discrimination against ethnic minority communities have pushed indigenous peoples outside the reach of the public education system. According to UNESCO, Myanmar allocated just 1.6 percent of its GDP to education in 2010, which had been indicative of generations of underinvestment in the country’s education systems. To date, the Myanmar government does not have the capacity or the infrastructure to reach the most remote communities in rural areas. As for Nepal, scant government investment in education and where schools exist, mismanagement, teacher absenteeism, a lack of parental commitment and the high-cost of school fees, coalesce to put education out of bounds for the most disparate members of society.
The Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, and East Timor continue to face challenges in reaching and educating out of school children (OOSC). The EAC-UNESCO Asia Pacific Regional Bureau for Education Strengthening Education Systems for Out of School Children project seeks to enrol and retain 50,000 out of school children in quality primary education programs in the sub-region.