Education at risk: A generation of children in Myanmar must have safe, appropriate and inclusive opportunities to continue their learning
A joint statement by Save the Children, UNESCO and UNICEF
BANGKOK, 20 May 2021: Over 12 million children and young people in Myanmar have not had access to organised learning for more than a year. The consequences for their education, personal development, psychological wellbeing and future opportunities are already profound and will continue to grow. Children in the poorest and most remote communities will likely be most affected.
All children and young people have the right to access education and parents have a right to choose the kind of education their children will receive. Children’s best interests must be central to decision-making about education. And it is essential to ensure that students, teachers and staff are consulted, respected and safe to learn and teach on their own terms, and with dignity.
Attacks on places of learning and education staff and the occupation of education facilities are unacceptable. They must be protected from conflict and unrest – these are places where children should be safe and empowered to learn and develop.
In the era of COVID-19, keeping places of learning safe also requires the rigorous application of prevention and control measures. The risks associated with COVID-19 are still high, and it is important to do everything possible to prevent further spread of the disease. Providing psychosocial support and care will be essential if students and teachers are to be able to focus on learning. Teaching and learning will need to be adapted to compensate for the extended period of lost learning and there will be an ongoing need for supplementary and flexible learning approaches.
Keeping places of learning safe at all times, and ensuring continuity of learning, must be a priority for Myanmar. The lack of access to a safe, quality education threatens to create an entire generation in Myanmar which will miss out on the opportunity to learn. This is something which we cannot and must not accept.
For further information, please contact:
Shima Islam, UNICEF East Asia and Pacific, Bangkok, firstname.lastname@example.org
UNESCO Regional Bureau, Bangkok, email@example.com
Charlotte Rose, firstname.lastname@example.org
Save the Children Asia Regional Office (available during BST office hours)