To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking in Myanmar to (a) facilitate access to education and (b) tackle barriers to educational access, including (i) early marriage, (ii) exploitation and (iii) sexual and physical violence.
21 June 2021
Long term conflict, displacement and economic hardship are major barriers to education in Myanmar. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of most schools in March 2020, with limited home-based learning opportunities. The February 2021 military coup caused violence and poverty, and although the regime ordered schools to reopen in June 2021, across most of the country students and teachers have not returned, for fear of violence, COVID-19, or legitimating the regime. Data from 2017 suggests around 16% of girls in Myanmar are married before they are 18. This is linked to school drop-out and often means the end to a girl's formal education.
The UK remains committed to ensure disadvantaged children can still access learning. For example, through the Myanmar Education Consortium, the UK is supporting 167,000 children in ethnic basic education provider (EBEP) run school systems to overcome barriers to access and quality or to study at home. Around half of these children are girls. The UK promotes gender equality across its work in Myanmar, this includes our support to women's rights organisations who challenge norms around violence and discrimination against children and women. We are also working with international partners to ensure continuity of education across the country, as far as possible.