This paper provides an account of the changing education environment for children in Karen ethnic communities in Myanmar, drawing on data collected through the implementation of a child protection project. Due to more than 60 years of armed conflict and displacement in Karen State, education services for children are seriously fragmented. There are various types of education services in ethnic armed group-controlled areas, including those run by the central government and also others run by the Karen National Union (KNU). A substantial number of children cross the border into Thailand where they attend schools in Karen refugee camps, Migrant Learning Centres, and even Thai state schools. Since the 2012 ceasefire agreement between the Myanmar central government and the KNU, the former’s influence over education in Karen state has been increasing. Although a democratisation process is taking place in Myanmar, consensus about the provision of education for ethnic minority children has yet to emerge.
Background paper prepared for the 2019 Global education monitoring report: Migration, displacement and education: building bridges, not walls