Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia. In the villages we visit, classrooms are over-crowded. Sanitation is dire. The buildings are in disrepair. And, like parents everywhere, the villagers want their children to be well educated.
According to the World Bank, 32.7% of the population of Myanmar lives below the poverty line of $1.25 per day. Despite rich natural and human resources, Myanmar ranks only 149 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index. With a population of over 60 million, Myanmar has severe economic challenges and its education system is strained beyond capacity. Children’s access to a decent education is threatened throughout the country.
Furthermore, according to Unicef data for 2008-12, approximately 90 percent of children ages 6 to 10 in Myanmar attend primary school. But attendance plummets in secondary school, where just 58 percent of adolescent boys and girls still go to school.