Multi-Donor Education Fund
UNICEF and Multi-Donor Education Fund partners - AusAID, European Union, DFID (UK Aid), Denmark, and Norway - came together with the Ministry of Education on 26 April 2013 at the MiCasa Hotel, Yangon, to review their joint achievements in delivering quality education for children in 2012, the first year of the Programme. The Annual Review Meeting, chaired by His Excellency U Aye Kyu, Deputy Minister of Education, highlighted how the Quality Basic Education Programme (QBEP) (20012-2015), valued at USD 86 million, is already improving education prospects for one and a half million girls and boys in 35 townships around the country.
The meeting heard that as a result of the QBEP programme:
• Over 20,000 children are now accessing quality services to promote early childhood development, boosting their readiness for school and long-term chances of academic success
• Over 700,000 primary school girls and boys, including children in hard-to-reach areas affected by conflict, are also able to learn more effectively thanks to the attractive learning materials and higher quality teaching provided through QBEP.
• The QBEP programme also reaches out to children who are unable to attend formal school due to poverty and other barriers, with over 42,000 school-aged children benefiting from non-formal learning programmes.
The Deputy-Minister congratulated the teams responsible for these achievements, noting that the Ministry of Education is pushing ahead with its reform efforts, especially through the Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR) process, which was launched in October 2012, supported by UNICEF, MDEF donors, and many other development partners. ‘The Ministry has provided free textbooks to all primary children in 2012, and we are also rolling out the ‘child centred approach’, to promote critical thinking and better learning. These and other initiatives are improving the quality of education for the children of Myanmar’, the Deputy-Minister said
As Co-Chair of the meeting, Mr Bertrand Bainvel, Representative of UNICEF in Myanmar, praised the strength of the partnership, which had delivered such significant results. ‘These achievements can only be sustained through long-term system reform, so our continuing support for the CESR and policy development through the QBEP programme is critical for lasting success’, Mr Bainvel said. At the same time as building for the future, the UNICEF Representative also emphasised that ‘QBEP is already delivering ‘quick wins’, to make sure that families and children benefit right now as well’.
Also Co-Chairing the meeting, Mr Michael Hassett, Head of Development Cooperation at the Australian Embassy in Myanmar, highlighted that a commitment to education is a driver for development across the world. ‘No country has elevated its economy without a commitment to education’, Mr Hassett said. He also emphasised the importance of the MoE-UNICEF-MDEF partnership as a model for coordination to achieve results for children, noting that ‘Collective action produces most impact’. ‘We want to work with Myanmar to improve opportunities for everyone’, Mr Hassett said.
Dr Maung Maung Wint, Honourable Member of the Pyithu Hluttaw and Secretary of the Committee for Assessment of Reforms, Development and Progress, also updated the meeting on current parliamentary work related to education, including increased budget reallocations to support education programmes, and drafting of education legislation.
Also attending the meeting were other representatives from the Ministry of Education, Department of Social Welfare, UNICEF and MDEF staff, as well as NGO implementing partners.