Myanmar, the largest mainland country in Southeast Asia, is home to more than approximately 130 ethnic groups with distinct cultures and languages. The country has known periodic spells of armed conflict and inter-communal violence, particularly in border areas, which trigger flows of refugees and internal displacement. In addition, poverty is a formidable development challenge in Myanmar. According to the 2009-2010 Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey in Myanmar, 26 percent of the population lived below the national poverty line and poverty incidence was concentrated in Ayeyarwaddy, Chin, Rakhine, Shan and Tanintharyi.

source(s): UNESCO EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/14

Main Barriers to Education

  • Conflict & Internal Displacement
  • Poverty
  • 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

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Successfully Completed Project

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.

Inspire: A Programme to Motivate and Make Education Accessible through Monastic Schools

Successfully Completed Project

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.

Southeast Asia School Development Project for OOSC

Successfully Completed Project

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.

Strengthening Education System for Out of School Children

Successfully Completed Project

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.
Supporting 5,000+ At-Risk Children Project

Supporting 5,000+ At-Risk Children Project

Since 2016, EAC and United World Schools (UWS) have been working together to increase access to quality primary education to some of the most disadvantaged out of school children (OOSC) in Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal. By confronting poverty, lacking infrastructure and socio-cultural discrimination, EAC and UWS are collaborating again to help prevent 5,198 at-risk children from dropping out of primary education.


Korea International Cooperation Agency (co-Financing Partner)

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) was established as a government-funded agency dedicated to providing grant-aid programmes on the part of the Korean Government in 1991.

MEDG: Monastic Education Development Group

EAC and the Monastic Education Development group (MEDG) have come together to train teachers and increase education access to 72,220 out of school children (OOSC) throughout Myanmar.

Save the Children

Save the Children and Educate A Child have partnered in Côte d’Ivoire and Thailand/Myamar to help children affected by conflict to enrol and stay in school. In Ethiopia, the Save the Children and EAC partnership is working to reach the most marginalized children across five regions, three major cities, and two refugee camps with quality primary level education.


EAC partnered with UNESCO to help realise Sustainable Development Goal 4 (ensure inclusive and quality education for all), as well as the former Millennium Development Goal 2 (achieve universal primary education). To that end, the two have joined in partnership to implement education interventions in 11 countries to reach OOSC in Asia and the Middle East.

United World Schools

Through community consultation and ownership, EAC and United World Schools (UWS) are teaming up to build schools and enrol 33,830 out of school children (OOSC) across Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal.