Education initiative reaches over 300,000 disadvantaged children in Rakhine and Chin States

Education Post Flood Response

05 February 2020
UNICEF Myanmar/2020/Nyan Zay Htet

SITTWE, 4 February 2020 – A high-level Government ceremony in Sittwe, Rakhine State, marked the end of the Education Post Flood Response which ran for four years following Cyclone Komen in 2015. Led by the Ministry of Education with the support of the Government of Japan and UNICEF, the programme benefitted over 300,000 children in Rakhine and Chin states, reaching some for the first time.

A major achievement of the programme was the construction, repair and rehabilitation of 78 schools in Rakhine State with a provision of 37,350 roofing sheets to a further 263 schools in both Rakhine and Chin States. In addition, over 11,000 teachers were provided with training on a more inclusive approach to teaching and learning in the classrooms in both states. This included volunteer teachers from camps for the Internally Displaced Persons receiving for the first time the government-led Child Friendly School teacher training, bringing benefits to children’s learning at temporary learning classrooms in IDP camps.

The Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP) has inclusion and equity as one of the cross-cutting issues, and education is one of the priority areas. “Strong long-term partnership between the Ministry of Education and UNICEF, with both soft and hardware interventions, result in a holistic child friendly environment which goes far beyond just the construction of schools,” said the Director General of the Department of Basic Education, U Ko Lay Win. “The Rakhine State Government guidance and support to the Ministry of Education has ensured the safety and access of Government staff, UNICEF staff, and contractors involved in construction, monitoring and training activities, even in conflict afflicted areas.”

The half-day closing ceremony took place at Hsattyoeka A Post Primary School, constructed in December 2017, and was one of the 78 schools constructed, repaired or rehabilitated under this programme. The school building is flood and earthquake resistant, as are all the new school buildings built under the programme, reducing the risk of disaster in flood prone areas. This includes the upgrading of the main school building structure, toilet facilities and water supplies.  All 78 schools are provided with high quality furniture.

At the event, delegates had the opportunity to interact with students, parents and the community at the school and learn more about the benefits of the programme. H.E. Ichiro Maruyama, Japan’s Ambassador to Myanmar said, "I just observed the classrooms reconstructed by UNICEF with support from the Government of Japan, and saw students learning using textbooks provided through JICA with Japan’s support. This is a good example of UNICEF and Japanese Government collaboration in Myanmar, which I hope will continue in the future.”

On his part, the Planning and Finance Minister of Rakhine State, U Kyaw Aye Thein said, “Investing in children’s education helps break the cycle that traps children in the same poverty their parent’s experience and create a better future for children. Children, teachers, and parents will all use the newly constructed schools and support the creation of enabling environments that are conducive to learning for all.”

“Under our overarching goal of ensuring that ‘every child learns’, this programme has enabled us to reach children affected by floods and in some cases by conflict,” said UNICEF Representative to Myanmar, June Kunugi.  She added that the achievement is to be celebrated, “not just because education is the right of all children, but also having a safe and inclusive environment, gives children a sense of stability where they can thrive and be given a chance to develop to their full potential, bringing hope and a strong foundation for a capable and peaceful new generation.”

In addition to 21,000 children learning in newly constructed, rehabilitated or repaired schools, and 59,000 children learning in classrooms reinforced by roofing sheets, the following achievements were made under the Education Post Flood Response programme:

  • Over 31,000 students in 252 schools (198 in Rakhine and 54 in Chin) received flooded-school kits and essential learning packages containing stationary and learning materials, so they could continue their education after the floods.
  • Over 372,000 children are studying in schools where teachers have benefitted from more inclusive, child friendly schools training and head teachers have broadened their knowledge and skills in education planning and management and community involvement.

UNICEF in Myanmar  

UNICEF has been working with the Government and the people of Myanmar since 1950. In partnership with the Government and the civil society, UNICEF’s current focus of work aims at reducing child mortality, improving access and quality of education and protecting children from violence, abuse and exploitation. 

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