The World Bank-organised US$100 million financial assistance for the education sector is aimed mainly at needy children in rural areas.
The project to provide funds for schools has already started and is due to run until the end of December 2018.
The WB’s resident representative in Myanmar said the project aims to nurture smart students who are needy children and lack of opportunities because they live in far-flung areas. The vision is mainly for national development and poverty alleviation. In recent years, the Myanmar government has sought to increase funding for education.
The organisations involved include government and monastic schools, plus ethnic education learning departments and non-government organisations now helping the education system to develop.
Currently, there are 35,500 primary and post-primary schools, 3,000 middle schools, plus 2,300 high schools in Myanmar.
They teach 5.2 million primary students, 2.3 million middle students and 0.7 million students in high schools.
There are 1,400 monastic schools but the number of students who attending them amount to just one per cent – far fewer compared to the number of students at government schools.
Students also attend schools in conflict regions which aren’t registered by the education department.
The number of students who study in private schools is five per cent of those who attend normal state schools.
The education programme funding is channeled through the World Bank’s Decentralising Funding to Schools Project. It is financed by an $80 million credit from the International Development Association and $20 million from the Government of Australia through a multi-donor trust fund. It will help to improve and expand the Myanmar’s Government School Grants Programme and Student Stipends Programme.
The education fund is on top of the $2 billion grants and loans to Myanmar, approved in January and announced when World Bank President Jim Yong Kim visited the country that month. These grants and loans run for a number of years and focus mainly on the energy and healthcare sectors.
About 8.2 million students in Myanmar will benefit from better-financed schools and more than 100,000 poor students will receive financial support to attend classes, thanks to the World Bank’s US$100 million programme to boost the country’s education sector.