Yangon, Bangkok, 22nd June 2015- Myanmar Education Consortium and Save the Children International are to hold the media event on “Opportunities and Challenges for refugee students and teachers returning from Thailand to Myanmar” on 26th June 2015 at Monsoon Restaurant, Yangon, Myanmar.

Approximately 30,000 refugee children are at risk of missing out on essential education in Myanmar, as political changes spur speculation that large scale organized voluntary repatriation of refugees may be possible in the short to medium term. Education services provided by groups in the refugee camps over the past few decades have not been aligned to the education systems of either Thailand or Myanmar, leaving students with difficulties in accreditation of their knowledge with any education system because of differences in the subjects taught, the language of instruction used and the curricula followed.

In addition, the qualifications of 1,500 teachers are not recognized or accredited either within Myanmar, Thailand or by bodies that perform this function internationally. If accredited within Myanmar, these teachers could make significant contributions to educating ethnic minority children living close to Thai-Myanmar border, assisting the children to learn better through multilingual instruction.

“There is a huge opportunity here for us to ensure that we capture the talents of those who are voluntarily returning to Myanmar, so they may contribute positively to the country’s development and growth,” said Craig Nightingale, Director of Myanmar Education Consortium. “As shown in Save the Children’s latest film and report, children and teachers living in the camps just across the border in Thailand have dreams to further their education and to continue teaching. We urge all civil society organizations and education actors to come together for this discussion, and to discuss ways we can support the educational dreams of returning refugees.”

At the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015, Save the Children Thailand produced a short film “Recognize our education, realize our dreams” together with “Beyond Access: Refugee Students’ Experiences of Myanmar State Education” that raises the voices of refugee children and teacher to highlight the need for clear policies to be established to ensure everyone has rights to education. Information on the refugee camp education systems will be shared by the panelist which highlights these challenges and opportunities for returnee students and teachers’ transition to Myanmar at the event.