Education Leadership for Refugees

Young student leaders walk to their school in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border.

Refugee communities face on-going uncertainty about the future and the education of their children and youth amid the rapid pace of political and social change in Burma. Community-led planning initiatives help to ensure effective solutions in this uncertain climate.

With the support of the USAID-funded Project for Local Empowerment (PLE), the Karen Refugee Committee- Education Entity’s  (KRCEE) Department of Higher Education has been able to foster effective solutions by bringing together border and education stakeholders to create community-led preparations for return of refugees and refugee education back to Burma. Through PLE technical and financial support, KRCEE has facilitated cross-border exploratory visits and piloted the moving of one individual school back to Burma as well as leading the transition planning for post-ten (post secondary/higher education) camp-based schools to be moved from the camps into Karen State.

A final transition plan was developed with KRCEE and the Karen Education Department (KED) to provide guidance and structure for principals, teachers, and students considering the future return of their schools and programs to Burma. This planning represents a major milestone in addressing support for refugee communities as they determine whether to remain in Thailand or return to Burma.

Mission/Vision of the KRCEE: To serve and represent the Karen refugees temporarily sheltered along the Thai-Burma border by providing basic education and tertiary education to refugee students and children. To build a true lasting peace and justice by producing graduates who are critical and creative thinkers, competent leaders, and good citizens who are proud of their identity.

The Higher Education Head speaks to students, parents and families during the 2013 Graduation Ceremony.

Link to PLE Strategy: KRCEE promotes improved access to quality education services for refugees from Burma. KRCEE administers both basic education (separately funded) and higher education, through the Institute for Higher Education (IHE) in six of the nine camps. In the the final year of the project, through close collaboration with KED, KRCEE is preparing for convergence and the transfer of higher education programs into Karen State, based on the camp-based IHE system and following the successful transition of the English Immersion Program (EIP) school in 2015.

Partnership period: 1st April 2014 – 31st July 2017

Project location(s): Thai- Burma Border

Project beneficiaries (direct & indirect): Youth Leaders and post-secondary students

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