Eastern Burma Community Schooling Enabling Ethnic Engagement in Education

Summer Vacation Training for teachers.

In under-served and conflict-affected areas of Southeast Burma, communities have developed local level education systems for their children. However, challenges remain for community teachers in obtaining adequate in-service and professional development support, and for community-based actors to engage in national level education planning.

The Karen Teachers Working Group (KTWG) works to increase access to education for vulnerable populations in the region. Through the Project for Local Empowerment they provide training and support to teachers in schools with the Mobile Teacher Training (MTT) program. KTWG’s MTTs been providing in service training for Karen teachers since 2001. MTT’s visit teachers in their schools, observe their classroom practices and provide support and feedback. Short teacher training sessions are also organized during the school year.

The major training is Summer Vacation Training, an intensive four week training for teachers during the school summer break. This provides much needed support and training for teachers who are often isolated in their communities. Even as the conflict in many Karen areas has recently subsided, the remoteness of many communities and long travel times involved in Karen areas, mean that it is difficult for teachers to assemble outside their communities to attend training, without significantly disrupting student learning.

With PLE support, the Eastern Burma Community Schooling (EBCS) project replicates the KTWG MTT model and expands it across Southeastern Burma to provide in-service teacher support to remote and rural community teachers in under-served, conflict or post-conflict communities.

As well as expanding the provision of teacher education support to under served teachers, through the Eastern Burma Community Schooling project, dialogue amongst education actors is promoted.  EBCS creates opportunities for these actors to learn from each other, to identify common education messages for engagement in national-level policy dialogue, to share examples of best practice, and to develop further systems for the monitoring and promotion of quality in community education. For example, in February 2014, EBCS leadership supported 22 organizations from 12 ethnic groups to engage in a cross-ethnic platform to discuss future co-ordination and cooperation on issues of language and education

“When I visited some ethnic groups in Burma, I realized that their feelings, challenges and behavior were the same as the Karen. I see many ethnic groups and I see how their lives are different to us Karen, but the situation for them is the same, they have similar issues in education” -Naw Aye Thida, Eastern Burma Community Schooling Project Officer

KTWG support teachers working in South East Burma.

Mission/Vision: To improve the quality of and access to education for Karen and other indigenous children in Burma.

Link to PLE Strategy: KTWG promotes increased access to education services for vulnerable populations in South East Burma. KTWG provides training and support to teachers in schools through the Mobile Teacher Training (MTT) program and summer vacation teacher trainings. In this final year of PLE we have supported teacher education and management through the Eastern Burma Community Schooling network of Mobile Teacher Trainers in Shan State, the provision of Summer Vacation Trainings in Karen state, as well as pre-service programming through the Karen Teacher Training Colleges.

Partnership period: 1st December 2011 – 31st July 2017

Project location(s): Mon, Karen, Kayah & Shan States

Project beneficiaries (direct & indirect): Children attending community schools in Southeast Burma

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