August 19, 2016

Non-Formal Primary Education (NFPE)


Non-Formal Primary Education (NFPE) programmes being implemented and gradually expanded in the Republic of the Union Myanmar received greater international/national recognition, credibility and appreciation. For such great achievement, we can all be proud. All leaders and facilitators from the Myanmar Literacy Resource Center (MLRC)/Ministry of Education and the partner individual well-wishers/donors, UNICEF and International NGOs and partner local NGOs/CSOs in Myanmar and participating youth are greatly and wholeheartedly honoured for their initiatives, innovative approaches and active participation.
In fact, everyone has the right to education. As spelled out in the three separate paragraphs of Article 26, the right to education has several different facets, both quantitative and qualitative. Moreover, questions concerning its implementation are to a considerable extent bound up with questions of interpretation. ‘Everyone has the right to education’, the Declaration proclaims. But
what does this mean? The right to any kind of education? At any time? Who shall provide it? That these questions are not easy to answer is in part a measure of the changed circumstances in which the right to education has come to be applied. When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drawn up, only a minority of the world’s young people had access to any kind of formal education, let alone a choice among different kinds, and little more than half of the world’s adults could read and write a simple passage about their everyday lives. For those who drew up and adopted the Declaration, it was vital to ensure first that access to and participation in education should be universal: ‘Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages’, and ‘Elementary education shall be compulsory’. At the same time, ‘Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit’.
Educational opportunities have greatly increased in the years since the Declaration was proclaimed. A majority of the world’s young people now go to school, and participation informal education beyond the elementary and fundamental stages has expanded. Four out of five adults in the world today are estimated to have at least some simple literacy skills. Although the absolute number of illiterate adults in the world is larger than it was in 1948, it is now estimated to be falling, and the percentage of illiterate adults in every region of the world has significantly declined. Yet, despite these advances, it is uncertain how much real progress has been made.
Realize that the problem is not just one of assessing trends in opportunities for access to education. The right to education was conceived from the beginning as having a qualitative as well as a quantitative aspect. ‘Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms’, proclaims the second paragraph of Article 26. ‘It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace’. How well have these purposes been fulfilled? Are people’s literacy skills, for example, whether in industrial or developing countries, adequate to enable them to participate fully in the political, economic, social and cultural life of their society? And what of tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups’?
In this regard appropriate mechanisms and conditions for the choice need to be established.  There remains too the question of choice: by whom, and how, are the purposes and contents of education to be decided? ‘Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children’, proclaims the third paragraph of Article 26. While this of course was never intended to imply the right to choose an education that would be inconsistent with the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights itself, since Article 2 of the Declaration proclaims that ‘Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration’, it nonetheless recognizes that within the broad limits of Article 2, and of Article 26 itself, there can be different approaches to the purposes and contents of education. How widely today, though, have appropriate mechanisms and conditions for the exercise of such choice been established?
Lifelong learning is important so that all mankind should have easy access to learn knowledge and skills required to raise and improve the quality of their lives. There is the question of education’s boundaries, indeed, the meaning of the notion of ‘education’ itself. If it is the case that ‘the time to learn is now the whole lifetime’, and that education is a ‘continuum, coextensive with life’, as suggested for example by the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century, then ‘education’ cannot be taken to mean just ‘schooling’. While not denying the importance of schooling, the World Conference on Education for All (Jomtien, Thailand, 1990) essentially defined ‘basic education’ as action designed to meet ‘basic learning needs’. Yet, beyond the satisfaction of such ‘needs’, what is it that everyone has the right to? Any and all action designed to meet ‘learning needs’? Equal opportunity to learn? Equal educational opportunity? Education throughout life? Learning throughout life? All such possibilities? These and other related questions have all been raised at one time or another over the past half century since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed, as will be seen later in this report. They cannot really be avoided if the basic principle of ‘Everyone has the right to education’ is accepted. By considering the extent to which the worldwide expansion of education over the past half century, and successive stated commitments by the international community to ensure the implementation of the various aspects of the right to education, the progress towards the realization of this right needs to be emphasized.
Promote peoples’ participation in education for all programmes is of useful and supportive.  Every person – child, youth and adult – shall be able to benefit from educational opportunities designed to meet their basic learning needs. These needs comprise both essential learning tools (such as literacy, oral expression, numeracy, and problem-solving) and the basic learning content (such as knowledge, skills, values and attitudes) required by human beings to be able to survive, to develop their full capacities, to live and work in dignity, to participate fully in development, to improve the quality of their lives, to make informed decisions, and to continue learning. The scope of basic learning needs and how they should be met varies with individual countries and cultures, and inevitably, changes with the passage of time.
Responsibility to respect is important element for sustainable education development. The satisfaction of these needs empowers individuals in any society and confers upon them a responsibility to respect and build upon their collective cultural, linguistic and spiritual heritage, to promote the education of others, to further the cause of social justice, to achieve environmental protection, to be tolerant towards social, political and religious systems which differ from their own, ensuring that commonly accepted humanistic values and human rights are upheld, and to work for international peace and solidarity in an interdependent world.
It is noteworthy that another and no less fundamental aim of educational development is the transmission and enrichment of common cultural and moral values. It is in these values that the individual and society find their identity and worth.
Myanmar Quality Basic Education Programme (QBEP), representing the second phase of MDEF, builds upon its predecessor to address the urgent need for sustainable improvements in access, equity, quality and management in Myanmar’s basic education sector in order to accelerate progress towards achieving Millennium Development Goal Two: “Ensure that children everywhere, girls and boys alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.” Special emphasis will be placed on ensuring children from vulnerable and marginalized areas of basic education, and to ensure that children who drop out of primary schools have a minimum education though alternative learning opportunities. In achieving the right of all children to primary education of good quality, there will be strong economic returns for individuals, their families and the wider community as well as progress in all aspects of human development, poverty reduction and towards the realisation of the full range of children’s rights, thus I have learned.


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