Supporting ethnic education has the potential to reach many of the most disadvantaged girls and boys in Myanmar, including those at risk of dropout. These systems primarily serve children who don’t speak Myanmar as their first language, offering instruction in their mother-tongue; through support from MEC over the past phase, these systems are improving their approaches to mother-tongue based, multilingual education (MTB-MLE) to be in line with international best practices in supporting learning. There are also strong peace-building arguments for supporting ethnic education, especially given historical grievances relating to language and culture in education. Additionally, ethnic education systems operate in an environment where financing sources are very limited. Ethnic schools are managed by Ethnic Basic Education Providers (EBEPs) and usually isolated from the formal system, therefore often lack adequate resources. Education provided via EBEPs is not formally recognized, limiting opportunities for students to access higher education and employment.
Thus, weighting resources towards ethnic education systems is necessary considering their current status and needs, the specific challenges of implementing effective education in remote and dispersed communities and limitations in their ability to access other forms of financial support.