Supporting education in Myanmar
10 June, 2012
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr visiting a kindergarten in Kunyangon run by the non-governmental organisation Save the Children. The kindergarten is a recipient of financial aid from AusAID. Photo: Christopher Davy
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Watch this video on YouTube
A new Australian education package for Myanmar will give millions of children the opportunity to finish primary school and more than double tertiary scholarships by 2015.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced Australia’s four-year package will train more teachers, supply textbooks and provide nutritious meals to children who attend school.
Australia will also lift tertiary scholarships from 20 next year to 50 by 2015.
Senator Carr announced the $80 million package on a visit to an Australian-supported primary school in the Irrawaddy Delta, south-west of Yangon.
Senator Carr said millions of children in Myanmar risk missing out on the basic right to an education.
Less than half of Myanmar’s five million children complete the full five grades. Only 57 per cent of teachers are properly qualified and in some monastic and community schools less than half of teachers are trained.
‘A generation of children in Myanmar may become the first in the country’s history with a lower level of education than their parents,’ Senator Carr said.
‘Australia is determined to try and prevent this from happening. Education is the flagship of our aid program in Myanmar.
‘Our focus is on the Millennium Development Goal for Education—ensuring children will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling. Education is a basic human right that the people of Myanmar should enjoy.
‘This program supports the basic rights of the poorest children in the country—the right to education, the right to learn in a safe environment, and the right to clean water and sanitation.’
Australia will work with partners to give Myanmar’s children the opportunity to have a full five years of high quality primary education by:
- providing essential school supplies including textbooks to 1.1 million children, training 20,500 teachers and supporting at least 85,000 children to access early childhood education
- improving enrolment and education quality in monastic and community schools, which operate in some of the poorest and remote areas of the country, through work including teacher training and providing water and sanitation facilities to stop children getting sick
- providing take-home meals for 1.3 million children who enter school and stay there for a whole year. When a child is fed each day at school and given rice to bring home to the family every month, this provides parents an incentive to send their children to school. In the poorest parts of the world, school meal programs can double primary enrolment in one year.
‘The activities we fund will build capacity in teachers and local administrators to deliver quality education services,’ Senator Carr said.
Australia will support Myanmar to undertake a comprehensive education sector review to guide the Government of Myanmar and donors’ future investments in education.
‘We support sustainable change through public sector governance, and supporting civil society’s role in demanding transparency and accountability of service delivery,’ Senator Carr said.
Australia will also help drive sustainable development by increasing scholarships for government and civil society leaders to study at Australia’s world-class universities in fields important to Myanmar’s development, such as education and health.
How Australia is working with Myanmar
Media Release: Australian support for education in Myanmar [external website]
Transcript: Press conference with Foreign Minister Bob Carr [external website]
Last Reviewed: 10 June, 2012