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Posted: January 24th, 2020

A key strategic partner of the Karen Education System with the mandate of ‘systems strengthening’ suddenly cuts funding by 80% compromising the education of over 160,000 ethic children and risking the collapse of the Karen Education System.

For 25 years we have seen the steady development, expansion and refinement of the Karen Education System across Southeast Burma/Myanmar.  In 2017, a new partner with significant funding from international development partners sought a partnership with Karen Teacher Working Group (KTWG) and the Karen Education and Cultural Department (KECD) with the expressed intention of supporting ‘systems strengthening’ until at least December 2020.

Despite this commitment, in December 2019, the KTWG was informed that an 80% funding cut would be made starting 1 June 2020.  The funding cut will decimate support and quality improvements putting at risk almost all essential elements of the Karen Education System, including:

  1. Teacher Subsidies
  2. Teaching and Learning Materials
  3. Pre-service teacher training (Karen Teacher Training Colleges)
  4. In-service Teacher Training (Mobile Teacher Training)
  5. School Management Committees and Parent Teacher Associations
  6. Education System Advocacy and Governance

While donors claim this 80% funding cut is for a 9-month bridging period, there is no guarantee that funding will return to existing levels.  With little time to prepare for this significant reduction in funding the Karen Education System will face an unprecedented challenge in maintaining Myanmar’s largest and strongest Indigenous led education systems and ensuring that the education rights of ethnic minority children throughout southeast Myanmar’s are upheld.

We urgently call on international partners to reconsider funding cuts and to standby the Karen Education System.

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The Karen Teacher Working Group (KTWG) is a community-based organization working to improve access to and quality of basic education for ethnic Karen children in Karen areas of Eastern Burma since 1997.
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