Inclusive and quality basic education
All children need to access the benefits of learning
In the first few years of their lives at school, children develop key cognitive, social, emotional, cultural and physical skills that help them in their future career in education and beyond. Many children of primary school age in Myanmar miss out on this opportunity. Nearly 1 in 5 children (881,000) are not attending school, the national census of 2014 found. Many have dropped out in order to do work to help support their families.
Extremely poor families struggle to afford the costs of sending their children to school. Although there are no fees for primary education, associated charges and costs of school attendance are beyond the reach of many. Additional barriers and discouragements for children include the high rate of exam failure, corporal punishment, being unable to access primary education in their mother tongue, and having to travel long distances between home and school.
Children from families where the head of household is not literate are more likely to be out of school, and children from some regions are more likely to attend than those from other areas. Children in rural areas are less likely to be enrolled in school at all levels of education, and they are more likely to drop out.
UNICEF is working with Government and partners across the education system—who are also reaching out to parents and communities—to make primary and secondary schools more inclusive, resilient and relevant, so more children can stay in school. We support the development of key national guidelines and standards that improve children’s experience of learning, as well as national guidelines on water, sanitation and hygiene that are making schools safer and better places to be in.
Child-Friendly Schools training and School-Based In-Service Education for teachers, supported by UNICEF, are directly helping children’s learning.
Teachers and education officials are at the frontline of service delivery. Our support for the capacity development of head teachers and other education officers to plan, manage, and evaluate education activities is helping to ensure schools provide children with the education and services they need. Teachers supported with continuous professional development opportunities are also better able to help the children in their classrooms.
UNICEF’s support for improvements to student assessment and examinations is also aimed at helping reduce student drop-out rates. And with UNICEF support, student clubs and councils are helping increase student participation in school-based activities, and to promote positive discipline in schools.
Many children from ethnic groups struggle in classes if they cannot access learning in their mother tongue.
In support of the national curriculum reforms, UNICEF supports states and regions to develop a Local Curriculum—a new subject that allows each child to learn important local knowledge and languages that are relevant to them. This approach helps ensure that children’s learning experience is not hindered by language barriers during their early learning years.
Evidence-based research is a crucial part of ensuring that the education system is boosted in the right ways. UNICEF supports research to advocate for policies that address key challenges, including out-of-school children, the transition from primary to secondary school, and education for children with disabilities.
We also work to ensure wide participation by civil society and other actors in education policy and dialogue. This includes providing support to bring education provision by the Government and non-state actors together, in order to facilitate pathways between the different systems, and ensure more inclusion in quality education for all children.