IDP students cut off from higher education


YANGON — The government needs to create a pathway for young people living in IDP camps on the Thai border to study at universities in Myanmar, civil society groups say.

The call was made by three groups — Burma Link, the Karen Student Network Group (KSNG) and the Karen Youth Organization (KYO) — at the launch of a documentary, “Unrecognized Leaders, Tomorrow’s Hope: Raising the Voices of Forgotten Youth”, in Yangon on Wednesday.

Shot from September 2016 to January 2017, the documentary highlights the difficulties that the estimated 20,000 students in IDP camps face in accessing education.

KSNG president Saw Htoo Htoo Stin said the government’s refusal to recognise certificates issued by schools within the camps meant students there had lost hope of furthering their education.

Support more independent journalism like this. Sign up to be a Frontier member.

“Most of youths there know that they do not have any hope for their future,” he said.

“I would like to urge the government to recognise the certificates that young people in IDP camps have,” he said.

Saw Myo Min Thu, executive director of Thabyay Education Foundation, said it was important that all young people were given a chance to contribute to the country’s development.

“If those youth [in IDP camps] are neglected by the government, it will be a cause of concern over the next five years,” he said.

More broadly, he said that ethnic youth organisations had been frozen out of both the peace process and the formal education sector.

“If the government does not have a definite role in the education for those people devastated by the war, then the policy will not be adequate and could have bad effects.”

He said the education policy being proposed for next five years is better than in the past but still has many weaknesses. He said it could be improved through greater consultation with non-profit education organisations.

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.

Support our independent journalism and get exclusive behind-the-scenes content and analysis

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters.

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar