Education is a child's right and a key to national growth and prosperity. Myanmar has made strong progress in increasing children’s access to education and improving the quality of education, yet many children remain out of school, and schools struggle to give young people the strongest start in life. Key challenges in Myanmar include limitations in the quality of education services at all levels of education and the number of qualified teachers, as well as weak school infrastructure and outdated teaching methods. In addition, protracted conflicts and emergencies are disrupting many children’s path to learning.
A child’s early years are vital to develop the skills and attributes
that prepare them for the future. Only 20 per cent of children in
Myanmar between ages 3 and 5 are attending an organized early childhood
education programme, according to a 2015 survey.
At primary school level, 81 per cent of children aged 6–10 years attend
school, the 2014 census found. This means that 1 in 5 children are not
attending, either because they never entered school or dropped out.
Fees related to education are one of the main causes for many children
to give up on schooling. Another main reason for children to drop out of
school is the limited quality and relevance of the education that is
offered. Economic hardships force many young children to give up
education in order to work.
Myanmar has made upgrading the national education system a priority,
and UNICEF supports the Government to implement the National Education
Strategic Plan 2016–2021, together with other partners. UNICEF also
supports the implementation of the National Early Childhood Care and
The goal is to ensure all children—especially the most
disadvantaged—are able to access inclusive and quality education
throughout the journey of childhood.
Bringing more children into education at an early age, and keeping
them in quality schools as they get older, requires action on multiple
fronts. Strengthening teaching and learning policies and systems,
improving learning environments and enhancing the capacity of
educational personnel, are vital. Targeting the specific and different
barriers children face in accessing inclusive and quality education is
Dr. Swan Aung
(certified as a Specialist in Addiction Medicine by UBC faculty of medicine), Vancouver, Canada. ACCME/CACME certified physician.
(Member of ASAM, PCSS and American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry)