Myanmar children at risk of learning losses: World Bank

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Yangon, 27 October

Myanmar’s education sector has been disrupted by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2021 military coup, and children are at risk of learning losses, according to the World Bank.

The World Bank conducted a phone survey of 8,500 households covering 306 of the 330 townships and released a report on Myanmar’s education sector on October 24.

The report said public schools in Myanmar were closed for a staggering 532 days between February 2020 and February 2022, making it the country with the longest school closures in the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region.

The military authorities directed the reopening of public schools in November 2021 after seizing power, but roughly 30 percent of the teaching workforce joined the civil disobedience movement (CDM).

Myanmar, on the other hand, has seen the number of 6- to 22-year-olds enrolled in schools and colleges and universities fall from 69.2 percent in 2017 to 56.8 percent in 2023, said the report. The largest drop in enrollment was among high school students, with rural and urban students in this age range experiencing drops of 17 and 31 percentage points, respectively.

A CDM teacher at a public-based school in upper Myanmar said, “We can open public-based schools in accessible areas and keep the children, but the school enrollment rate in urban areas is low because the students do not want to attend the schools opened by the military council.”

The military council announced on June 2 that there are up to 6.5 million students enrolled in basic education schools, private schools, and monastic schools nationwide in the 2023–2024 academic year.

According to the World Bank, it is difficult to figure out because it cannot collect reliable data at the national level on students’ enrollment and education.

According to a person offering educational support to children of families fleeing the conflict in Sagaing, “Many children in the rural areas are no longer able to go to school due to the fighting and attacks on schools during the coup.”

The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) reported on September 9 that Myanmar was among the top countries in the world where the education sector was attacked under the military regime.

Last year, more than 6,700 students and teachers were arrested, and some were injured and killed.

Both the governmental armed groups and non-governmental armed groups have attacked schools as military targets, and there have been more than 500 such incidents, according to the statement.

The Education Cannot Wait (ECW-ECW), an educational watchdog, also reported earlier this year that 17 million children in Myanmar are losing their access to education due to the consequences of the armed conflict caused by the military coup.

News – Than Lwin Times

Photo- MOI

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