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INEE Minimum Standards for Education Workshop Held in Kachin State Myanmar

Opening session of the workshop ©UNESCO

Participants working in groups ©UNESCO/ Myint Myint San

Presentation by a KIO education officer ©UNESCO/ Myint Myint San

06.05.2013

On 23-24 April 2013, in partnership with the Metta Development Foundation (MDF), UNESCO organized a workshop on the INEE Minimum Standards for Education:  Preparedness, Response and Recovery in Laiza, Kachin State. The workshop aimed to build the capacity of Kachin Independent Organization (KIO) education leaders to, during post-conflict recovery, improve the quality of education delivery and management in conflict-affected areas.

Situated on the border with China and under the administration of the KIO, Laiza has become synonymous with unrest and violence since a civil war broke out between the Myanmar Government Forces and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in June 2011, ending a 17-year-long ceasefire agreement. In March 2013, negotiations held in Ruili, China between the Myanmar Peace Committee and a KIO delegation resulted in the agreement to work on an overall framework for the de-escalation of the violent conflict in Kachin State and for monitoring of the process. The situation in Laiza highlights the importance of education in emergencies to ensure that all children can realize their right to access quality education, even in conflict-affected areas.

Thirty-one participants, representing the KIO Central Education Department and its North, East, South and West Division Officers, the KIO Central Health Department Officers, District Education Officers, School Principals and IDP school teachers, attended the two-day training. In his opening remarks, Deputy Education Officer U Khun Naung of the KIO Central Education Department gratefully acknowledged the support from UNESCO and MDF in making the workshop possible, despite difficulties in traveling to Laiza. U Khun Naung requested UNESCO’s continuing facilitation of activities like such as the workshop, which he stated, provide important opportunities for the KIO education staff to increase their knowledge about the delivery of quality education in emergencies.

During the workshop, UNESCO gave KIO education team copies of the Myanmar translation of the INEE Minimum Standards Handbook, which articulates the minimum level of educational quality and access in emergencies through to recovery and provides a first step to ensuring that education initiatives in emergencies offer a solid and sound basis for post-conflict and disaster reconstruction. Workshop activities encouraged participants to actively discuss the INEE Minimum Standards based on their experiences and local context. Many participants noted that the INEE Minimum Standards are a very useful tool, specifically stating the usefulness of the Foundational Standards regarding community participation and coordination. During the closing ceremonies, the Deputy Education Officer of KIO Central Education Department expressed the desire for UN agencies and NGO/INGOs to help provide further programmes for educational development in Kachin State.