Improving Learning Environment for Primary School Children in Myanmar

Yangon, March 29, 2013: A new school building for No.2 Basic Education Primary school was inaugurated today in Kasin village, Hlaingtharyar Township in Yangon.

The school constructions are part of a three year plan to build 30 new primary schools in Myanmar to promote access to school in remote areas especially in Ye and Kawkareik Townships, with funding support from AEON, a private company based in Japan, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and UNICEF. Primary schools with dilapidated facilities and lower indicators in enrolment and completion were prioritized for reconstruction. The 30 new schools are expected to improve learning environment for about 6,000 primary school children.

“I’m delighted that AEON and UNICEF are handing over the new school to improve the learning environment of children. I’d like to express my sincere thanks to all who have contributed to this great investment in the country’s human resources development. It also creates stronger bond between Myanmar and Japan,” said U Htay Oo, Vice Chairman of Union Solidarity and Development Party, at the inaugural ceremony.

The construction rolls out in three phases. Ten child friendly primary schools aiming to improve learning environment for primary school children are to be completed this year. The first one in Yangon’s Hlaingtharyar Township is completed; there are five more in Ye township of Mon State and four in Kawkareik Township in Karen State.

Major funding of the project is contributed by AEON of Japan complemented by SDC and UNICEF support.

“Our school construction projects in Asia are based on the sound principle: ‘Education is the key to building a peaceful world.’ Since 2000, we have supported this project in Cambodia, Nepal, Laos and Vietnam with great support of our customers in Japan and in collaboration with UNICEF. This is our first year in Myanmar,” said Mr. Naoki Hayashi, Chairman at AEON 1% Cub.

Construction of school facilities in Karen and Mon states, implemented by SDC, will start in June and are aimed for completion before the end of the year. The new school incorporates child-friendly features such as adequate toilet and clean water facilities, school furniture, basic school supplies, learning materials for children and a playground. It also includes training of teachers and Parent Teacher Associations.

“A strong and high quality education system would help achieve a successful social, economic and political transition to build a new Myanmar. Switzerland is happy to contribute to the education sector,” said H.E. Christoph Burgener, Ambassador of Switzerland at the inauguration ceremony.

More than 100 Japanese students have joined the ceremony as part of an exchange programme with Myanmar students in No. 2 and 37 Basic Education Primary School in Hlaingtharyar.

UNICEF Representative Bertrand Bainvel commended the partnership between the Ministry of Education, the Hlainthayar community, the Japan Committee for UNICEF, AEON, SDC, and UNICEF Myanmar, as he called for a wider national movement in support of the education reforms in Myanmar to give a chance to every child to enjoy their rights to quality education.

“Every child who misses school is not only denied the means to reach their full potential, but every left out child also means a missed opportunity for Myanmar’s stride toward modernization and equitable nation building,” said Mr. Bainvel.

The inauguration ceremony was also attended by senior officials of the Ministry of Education, representatives of AEON in Japan, the Japanese and Swiss embassies in Myanmar and UNICEF, joined by enthusiastic participation of students, parents and community members.

UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information about UNICEF Myanmar and its work visit:

For more information, please contact:

Zafrin Chowdhury, Chief, Programme Communication and Information Section, UNICEF Myanmar, Tel: +95-1-375527-32,

Sandar Linn, Communication Officer, Programme Communication and Information Section, UNICEF Myanmar, Tel: +95-1-375527-32,

Ye Lwin Oo, Communication Officer, Programme Communication and Information Section, UNICEF Myanmar, Tel: +95-1-375527-32,