OUR GOAL is that young people experience improved educational prospects, long-term socio-economic wellbeing and are proactively contributing towards the development of their local comunity.
The education system in Myanmar currently excludes rural ethnic minority children due to reasons such as their remote locations, the language barriers, poverty, and curriculum content. Pre-school coverage in Chin State is severely limited and the levels of supervision and quality of teaching vary widely. Children aged from three up to five years often receiving no teaching in their ethnic language. These problems continue into primary school and, combined with high levels of household poverty, contribute to a school drop out rate of 18% by 11 years of age.
In rural areas, the high poverty levels, combined with lack of access to educational services, and exams often set in non-ethnic languages, contribute to only 8% of children passing their final exams at age 15, compared to 17.8% in urban areas. Specifically, in March 2017, under 2% of students passed the year 10 exams in Lailenpi town in western Chin State where Health & Hope Myanmar’s work is based. This dismal pass rate has contributed to weaknesses in local drivers for change, as only students who matriculate from year 10 are able to secure formal employment or go on to further education.
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This project was launched in June 2019 and is along sought-after education initiative aimed at tackling the Year 10 pass rate among ‘repeater students’, those who have attempted to take the exam and failed. The project will work with 100 of these students, providing them with 10 months of full-time education to enable them to complete this qualification.
Children in Chin State live in a neglected and impoverished region of Myanmar and face a myriad of challenges in their attempts to seek a basic education. The education system in Myanmar currently excludes rural ethnic minority children due to reasons such as their remote locations, the language barriers, poverty, and curriculum content. This has led to dismal pass rates of only 1.6% for Year 10 high school students in some rural areas.
The Education for All project launched in June 2019, providing full-time education to around 100 students, with the aim of a significant increase in the Year 10 matriculation rate over the next 12 months. The project will provide:
- a safe place to study after school
- daily supplementary food for undernourished children
- a library of educational materials to support their studies
- a range of well-equipped tutors for out-of-school study support
In June, the first students arrived in Lailenpi from surrounding villages, and have signed up to receive tutoring for the next ten months at the recently built Health & Hope Training Centre. The project was piloted in 2018, supporting 202 students part-time, who were studying in two schools in Lailenpi town. The team focused on providing additional tutoring in English, Maths, Physics and Biology. The Year 10 exam results are just out and there was a significant improvement.
As a result of the pilot project, 24% of students passed their exams compared to under 10% two years ago.
The 2019 result means that an additional 21 students passed the Year 10 exam in comparison to 2018 at a cost of £182 per student.
Whilst the pass rate in Chin State continued to be the lowest for the whole country, students in Lailenpi achieved a 4% higher pass rate than the state average (20%), with the highest state in the country achieving 37%. For a remote rural town, this is a significant achievement, almost matching the pass rate of students from the state capital, Hakha.
Imagine doing 5 of your GCSEs in your third language, and you really don’t have a grasp of that language! Well that’s what it’s like for the Y10 students in Lailenpi! I visited in January 2019, and rather than being surprised at how few students pass these all-important Y10 exams, I was amazed that any had passed at all. And yet some of the 2% who did pass a few years ago, went on to complete degrees and have since returned to support and transform their community.
Education is valued and prized in Lailenpi, so much so, that even years after failing to pass their Y10 exams they have become part of the 100 “Repeater Students” now taught by Health & Hope staff. The team have taken on the challenging task of giving these “Repeater Students” another chance. Their relentless hard work, patience and willingness is sure to reap rewards. Suppose a far greater percentage pass this year, go on to do extra study and then return to Lailenpi - think of the further transformation that will take place! Wow!