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3rd EBCSP ethnic leaders meeting to share, discuss, learn and work together

3rd EBCSP ethnic leaders meeting to share, discuss, learn and work together

For the third leaders meeting, ethnic leaders who are members of the Eastern Burma Community Schooling Project (EBCSP) gathered together at the Teacher Preparation Course in Mae Sot. The leaders discussed, shared and learned about each ethnic group’s situation and education system. The meeting ran from 6th to 8th October.
One area of real progress from the meeting last year was that more ethnic community based organizations (CBOs) joined EBCSP to co-operate together in order to enhance their respective education systems in the ethnic areas. These new members of EBCSP include Mon, Naga, Kachin and Pa-Oh ethnic CBOs. Thus, there are now nine ethnic groups represented: Kayan, Karreni. Kachin, Lahu, Naga, Mon, Pa-Oh, Shan, and Ta’ang as well as eleven different ethnic CBOs.
Eastern Burma ethnic MTTs (Mobile Teacher Trainers) who recently finished their first mobile cycle joined the meeting as well. The first meeting was on 6th October and it ran from 8:30am to 7:00 pm.
On Saturday, Oct 6th, Tharamu Ler Htoo, KTWG chair person, started the meeting by introducing the agenda. On the first day, it focused mainly on the Mobile Teacher Training Program and Mobile Teacher Trainers. Thara Scott, the ethnic MTT coordinator, reviewed the Mobile Teacher Training Program for those who were already members of EBSCP and introduced it to those who were new to the program. This section was particularly important for the Mon group, as new members of the leaders meeting, but also because its members will train as MTTs in the next mobile cycle.
Afterwards, the groups with established MTTs discussed and shared their experience of the MTTs’ roles, their challenges and strengths. Common challenges include communication, transportation and security as some areas can’t access either phone or internet to communicate with local leaders for trainings and workshops and some areas are still experiencing conflict especially in the Ta’ang and Shan areas.
The discussion was lively as there were many questions from those groups newly starting MTT programs, and answers from the groups with established MTT programs who shared their experience. The discussions were very interesting. In particular the Mon MTTs, who are newcomers, were very curious about the experience of the other MTTs and the challenges they have experienced as they plan the launch of their MTT program after the leaders meetings.
After hearing about the MTT roles and their current experience, one Kachin leader eagerly said, “I would like to request assistance from the EBCSP as we Kachin, are willing to have MTTs and Summer Vacation Training in the coming year; and we would like our members to reach the Kachin areas which need these the most”.
Then, each ethnic group spoke about its education system in the context of political reform. One common problem facing some ethnic areas is that of children who don’t have access to middle and high schools after primary level. Therefore, in some areas, in order to attend middle and high schools, boys go and study as novices at monastic schools. However, girls just finish primary level as they can’t have access to higher level education. As in the earlier discussions, there were many questions and answers between the different ethnic leaders and finally the meeting finished successfully around 7 pm.

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Eastern Burma Community Schooling Project ( July 25th ,2012 )