Aung San Suu Kyi visit: British Council Pledges Education programme reaching 2 million young Burmese every year
25 June 2012
The British Council will today make a pledge to Aung San Suu Kyi to extend education opportunities in Burma both at school and higher education levels.
The announcement follows her comments during her recent Westminster speech.
At an event hosted by the British Council, where she will be guest of honour, Martin Davidson, Chief Executive, will pledge to continue the British Council’s work within Burma to develop its education system, which is seen as vital to generate stability and opportunities for the country’s future.
An agreement has been reached with the Ministry of Education in Burma to implement a schools programme, training 10,000 English teachers per year from the 20 state teacher training colleges, reaching 41,000 schools and 2 million Burmese youngsters.
Mr Davidson said: “The British Council has had a long-standing commitment to Burma, having been on the ground since 1947. We are delighted to be working with schools to open up new opportunities to young Burmese.
“Plans are also afoot in tertiary education aimed at strengthening Higher Education institutions. We hope to provide support and opportunities for academic mobility and develop research and teaching links between academics and students in our two countries.”
Aung San Suu Kyi has often described education as key to Burma’s future security and development and said in her Westminster address on June 21st:
“It is in education in particular that I hope the British can play a major role. We need short term results, so that our people may see that democratisation has a tangible, positive impact on their lives. Vocational training and creation of employment opportunities to help address Burma’s chronic youth unemployment are particularly important. Longer term, Burma’s education system is desperately weak, reform is needed, not just of schools and the curriculum, and the training of teachers, but also of our attitude to education which is at present too narrow and rigid.”
Notes to Editors
It is not possible for media to attend the event but Martin Davidson, British Council Chief Executive, will be available for interview
The British Council has been present in Burma since 1947, working on a number of education and society projects, often as the sole provider of unfettered access to the outside world through its libraries and the internet.
Major projects have included:
- The Pyoe Pin or ‘Young Shoots’ programme strengthens civil society in Burma by bringing together interest groups and organisations around specific issues like the impact of HIV-AIDS or the business of selling rice. These groups include local communities, civil society organisations, faith groups, private sector companies and government agencies. Pyoe Pin is funded entirely by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Swedish development agency, SIDA, and has been managed by the British Council since January 2008.
- Continuing our work as the leading provider of training and development for Burmese civil society activists.
- Opening up opportunities for 250,000 Burmese per year through the British Council libraries
- For the past four years training teachers in Buddhist Monastic schools reaching children who are normally excluded from education
- The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.
Our 7000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes.
We earn over 75% of our annual turnover of nearly £700 million from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for and from partnerships. A UK Government grant provides the remaining 25%. We match every £1 of core public funding with over £3 earned in pursuit of our charitable purpose.