Ethnic education systems strengthening includes the systems established by civilian administrations associated with Ethnic Armed Organisations (EAO) and networks of community-run schools supported by civil society organisations in ethnic areas.
These have evolved where government schools have not been available, or have been unable to provide acceptable, relevant quality education; factors that have of themselves contributed to the economic disparity and social exclusion that have been key drivers of conflict.
Ethnic schools have many strengths arising from their being embedded within local communities, especially being able to deliver a locally-relevant curriculum in children’s mother tongues. However, many ethnic schools have been isolated from resources and technical support and further constrained by aspects of the policy and institutional environment. The learning achievements of students in ethnic schools are not recognised nationally. This limits their opportunities for employment, or transfer to government schools for further education.
National education laws have long restricted children from ethnic areas being taught in their mother tongue resulting in lower learning outcomes and reducing the appropriateness and relevance of government schools to these communities. Changes made to the National Education Law in 2015 and progress in the development of national language policy principles represents considerable progress. However, substantial support will be required to implement reforms in practice.
To achieve progress across the four complementary education systems in Year 3, MEC will continue to work with key partners, as follows:
Karen Education Systems Strengthening (KESS)
Project areas: Kayin, Mon, Bago East and Tannitharyi.
MEC will support the strengthening of the Karen complementary education system through the provision of technical and financial support to the Karen Teachers Working Group (KTWG) as the main recipient, and to the Karen Education Department (KED) as a sub-recipient. Formed in 1998, the Karen Teachers Working Group provides pre- and in-service professional development support to teachers in Karen areas; Kayin state; Mon state; Bago Division (East) and Tannitharyi Division; through its Mobile Teacher Training (MTT) model, Summer Vacation Trainings (SVTs) and the Karen Teacher Training Colleges (KTTC).
Formed in 1947, the Karen Education Department administers the Karen education system under the Karen National Union structures at district, township and village tract level in both KNU-administered areas and in areas of mixed-government and KNU-administration. Working in collaboration, the KTWG and KED manage the Karen State Education Assistance Group (KSEAG), providing teaching and learning materials and teacher stipends to community and mixed schools. In Year 3, with MEC support, the KESS will provide education services to 161, 382 students, support to 5,800 teachers on MTB-MLE, across 1469 schools.
The Kachin Education Consortium (KEC)
Project areas: Kachin State
The Kachin Education Consortium (KEC) members are represented by the Education Department of KIO (KIO-ED); the Kachin Education Foundation (KEF); the Northern Shan State Kachin Baptist Union Church Based Education (lead role in curriculum development); the Metta Development Foundation (lead role in OD); and the Nyein Foundation (overall project lead).
It aims to promote collaboration among Kachin ethnic education service providers in Kachin and Northern Shan states to enhance mother tongue-based quality education and a locally contextualised education policy system and curriculum development. In Year 3, with MEC support, the KEC will provide education services to 20,772 students and 1989 teachers across 190 schools.
Mon National Education Committee (MNEC)
Project areas: Mon State
Mon National Education Department: Founded in 1992, the Mon National Education Committee (MNEC) administers the Mon National Education Department’s network of Mon National Schools under the New Mon State Party (NMSP), providing education in Mon mother tongue across Mon state, southern Kayin state and Thanintharyi Division.
In Year 3, with MEC support, the MNEC will provide education services to 27,412 students across 225 schools (132 community school and 93 mixed schools), providing trainings to 399 teachers.