12 million school aged children in Myanmar currently face a learning crisis. A combination of both COVID-19 and the miliary takeover have led to recent improvements in education outcomes being lost.
The outbreak of COVID-19 resulted in prolonged school closures, with children’s learning being greatly disrupted. The military takeover of the country in February 2021 has also impacted children’s education. Following the takeover, 125,000 basic education teachers (31%) were suspended.
Displacement and insecurity caused by the conflict has contributed to low enrollment and attendance figures, with violence occurring near schools and some premises being taken over for military purposes.
Unique challenges in accessing education are also faced by Rohingya children, with many of those in IDP camps struggling to access education, particularly post-primary. To date, violence is continuing in Myanmar, including in areas that previously did not have active conflict, and UNOCHA estimates that over 240,000 displaced people are in camps or camp-like situations.
Despite the clear need for educational reform, the political environment means that it is very challenging for education partners to intervene and support education improvements within Myanmar.
The Myanmar Joint Response Framework for the Education Sector 2022-2025 therefore functions as a tool for coordination between national and international stakeholders and partners working on supporting the education sector. Within the Framework, 3 main programming areas are identified:
- Ensuring safe and equitable access to learning for all children and youth in Myanmar
- Ensuring quality teaching/learning for all children and youth in Myanmar by strengthening the capacities of education staff and fostering context-responsive equity-focused learning resources and modalities adapted to the evolving situation
- Ensuring systems strengthening, management, coordination and monitoring.
The framework also notes equity and inclusion as priorities, which cut across all three programming areas. In particular, focus is placed upon children with disabilities, as well as the importance of using a gendered approach to ensure that the varying needs of girls and boys are met.