Ensuring all children learn and develop their full potential
Prolonged lack of access to learning jeopardizes children’s futures. Childhood passes quickly and the opportunity to learn is short. Many who miss out on education will struggle to catch up and, in fact, may never have a second chance to learn.
Safe, continuous learning is every child’s right
Children need to learn, and they have the right, not only to an education, but to learn in a place that makes them feel safe. In Myanmar, students, teachers, volunteer teachers and facilitators and staff must be respected and consulted, and able to learn and work on their own terms, and with dignity.
Long-standing threats to learning
Even before the COVID-19 and the current crisis began after February 2021, children in Myanmar already faced huge barriers to learning.
- One in 10 children between the ages of six and nine were not going to school
- By age 15, just 7 in 10 children were still in school.
COVID-19 pandemic and social crisis
Across the country, children’s learning is being hampered by conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the social and political crisis which has displaced more than 200,000 adults and children.
As a result, almost 12 million school aged children and young people have had their education disrupted.
The consequences of missed learning for their development, mental health and future prospects are profound and growing. Meanwhile the health risks associated with COVID-19 remain high.
The provision of safe and continuous learning opportunities is still threatened. Reports continue of attacks on places of learning and their staff, and military use of education facilities.
Flexibility is needed to counter the threat to children’s learning in Myanmar posed by the global pandemic, and the current crisis.
UNICEF delivers support nationwide but with special focus on Chin, Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Mon, Rakhine and Shan States and Yangon Region, where the challenges are most acute.
We aim to deliver good quality flexible learning opportunities for children, making the most of the resources available to us and our partners.
Developing and maintaining learning opportunities
With non-governmental partner organizations, UNICEF is focused on reaching the most vulnerable. The aim is to put the opportunity to learn within the reach of the poorest children in cities and rural areas, children living in camps for displaced people and those in hard-to-reach locations.
- UNICEF aims to support early childhood care and development for 700,000 children between the ages of three and five.
- It also aims to support learning opportunities for one million children aged 6 to 15.
- Non-formal education is targeted at a further 8,000 children, most of them adolescents who have been excluded from organized learning opportunities.
- Learning materials are being provided for primary and middle-school-age children.
- Partners are also being trained to assist children’s learning and language development, and to support their mental health and psychosocial well-being.
- UNICEF is also supporting training for ethnic language teachers and the distribution of storybooks in local languages.
Progress so far
UNICEF, the co-lead of the Education in Emergencies sector, is supporting basic learning opportunities and getting teaching materials to the children most acutely affected by conflict and crisis, particularly those displaced and living in camps.
In May 2021, UNICEF and partners began giving additional learning support to more than 25,500 children aged 3 to 17 in Kayin and Kayah States and the regions of Ayeyarwaddy, Bago and Tanintharyi.
It is also working to help educate more than 16,000 displaced children in central Rakhine State, more than 12,000 children in Kachin State, and 4,600 children in northern Shan State.
We are expanding our reach and adapting our programmes quickly to help children caught up in the country’s rapidly evolving humanitarian challenges.
In all its efforts, UNICEF draws upon its 70-year track record in Myanmar. Throughout, support has been delivered even during times of conflict and crisis.
 Myanmar, Department of Population, Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, ‘Provisional Results of 2019 Inter-Censal Survey, 31 August 2020