Thursday, April 2, 2015

Children Catch-Up with their Education Rights

By Anne-Cecile Vialle and U Thet Naing, UNICEF Field Office for the South-East of Myanmar.
Khaing Khiang Hnin with her teacher Nyein Nyein Khaing (left) and Regional NFPE Monitor Than Nyunt (right)
Dawei Township, Tanintharyi Region, March 2015: Khaing Khaing Hnin, 16 years old, had to leave the regular primary school she attended in Saw Wa village seven years ago when she was just in Grade 3. “My mother has psychological health problems and my parents divorced. Then my father migrated to Thailand”, said Khaing Khaing Hnin. In fact, in Dawei, migration for work and child labour are common, and dozens of students drop out of primary school each year.

“I noticed Khaing Khaing Hnin's vulnerability at that time and I looked for ways to reintegrate her into the education system”, revealed Khaing Khaing’s teacher, Nyein Nyein Khaing. With the support of the Quality Basic Education Programme’s Non-Formal Primary Education (NFPE) equivalency programme, Nyein Nyein Ei established a NFPE centre in Saw Wa primary school in 2011, and her former student Khaing Khaing became one of the most active attendees.

The NFPE equivalency program is focused on supporting children who are out of school to complete primary level education so that they can re-join the formal school system. The programme provides an accelerated catch-up with lessons in Myanmar language, mathematics, sciences and life-skills. During the 2014-2015 school year, 21 children in Dawei Township were reintegrated into middle school thanks to NFPE.

Khaing Khaing completed both Level 1 and Level 2 of the NFPE programme in 2013 and is now learning in Grade 7 at Dawei Zayar Bumi Monastic Middle school, which shelters girls in difficult situations and provides education for free. 

Khaing Khaing only has words of gratitude for the NFPE programme “I like it. I am so happy to learn again”. Khaing Khaing explains that without NFPE she would most likely be working on a farm with her father in Thailand, or doing domestic work in her village. “Thanks to this programme I will be able to realise my ambition of becoming a teacher”. With the financial and moral support of her monastic host community, Khaing Khaing’s next goal is to pass the national Grade 11 matriculation exam in 4 years’ time.

The Quality Basic Education Programme (QBEP) aims to support the Government of Myanmar to improve access to, and quality of, school readiness and primary level education for all children. QBEP is supported by the Multi Donor Education Fund (MDEF), comprising Australia, Denmark, the European Union, Norway and the United Kingdom, and by UNICEF, which is the implementing agency for the programme.

“QBEP supports salaries for NFPE facilitators and monitors, provides school supplies such as textbooks and provides some nutritional products to the children enrolled in the NFPE programme”, explained Than Nyunt, NFPE monitor for the entire Tanintharyi Region. Dawei currently counts 7 NFPE centres and a total of 200 students have graduated from NFPE since 2011.

“Last year an impressive 72% of NFPE students graduating from 6 of the centres reintegrated into regular secondary school”, he assured.

Going forward, a key aim is to advocate for the mainstreaming of the NFPE programme by the Ministry of Education and local education authorities, in order to promote sustainability of the programme in the long term. 

1 comment:

  1. I would like to say thanks for your sharing this useful information. Nice post keep it up. Hope to see you next post again soon.
    With Regards,
    Clinical Psychologist | Clinical Psychologist in Sydney