EU support to Myanmar's education sector enters the next level

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The Quality Basic Education Programme helped thousands of kids across Myanmar access quality education. New EU programmes and an EUR 221 million budget support for the education sector are now taking the European Union's support for the education of children in Myanmar to the next level.

Sittwe, 5 November 2019

“Education is both necessary for Myanmar's development, as well as a fundamental right for all human beings, regardless of their nation, language, ethnic origin, religion or any other status,“ said EU Ambassador Kristian Schmidt at the closing ceremony of the Building on Quality Basic Education Programme in Rakhine State. The Quality Basic Education Programme started in 2012 and was one of the EU's first programmes in the education sector in Myanmar.

Education is one of the European Union’s key areas of support to Myanmar. The EU launched its first ever budget support programme in Myanmar with the Ministry of Education in March 2019. Led by the Ministry of Education and funded by the EU, Denmark and UNICEF, the Building on Quality Basic Education Programme (BoQBEP, 2016-2019) worked to achieve an inclusive education for all children in Rakhine State irrespective of religion, ethnicity, race, gender or citizenship status, in line with the Rakhine Advisory Commission’s recommendations. It has built on the results of the Quality Basic Education Programme (2012-2016), which delivered education services to children in 34 disadvantaged townships throughout the country.

QBEP helped improve access to quality education, but also define new education policies. The National Education Strategic Plan was developed under QBEP. As such, QBEP also helped lay the policy foundation for the EU's first ever budget support package in Myanmar – the Education Sector Reform Contract (ESRC) with a total value of EUR 221 million. With that, the European Union has expanded its support from primary education to secondary education, TVET and public finance management.

In addition to the EUR 221 million education sector support, the EU continues to invest in improved access to quality education in ethnic areas, including in Rakhine State, in collaboration with the government and civil society organisations. "Education is crucial to enhance understanding between diverse ethnicities and cultures, to foster tolerance and peace. Myanmar needs an educated and skilled population, which benefits everyone in Myanmar," concluded EU Ambassador Kristian Schmidt. "For the EU, the closure of QBEP and BoQBEP certainly is not the end, but rather a transition to significantly scaled-up EU support for education nation-wide."

BoQBEP results in numbers:

300,000+ children received supplementary reading materials to enhance their reading skills 16,000+ displaced and conflict affected children continued to have access to learning opportunities 12,000+ children benefited from 38 schools being repaired or reconstructed 2,000+ teachers, including both Muslim and Rakhine teachers, received trainings 1,000+ adolescents in IDP camps and host communities were reached by Non-Formal Primary Education