Since the election in 2010 that installed a whole new nominally civilian government in Burma/Myanmar, the country has made a series of liberalizing gestures over the past two years, renewing both local and international expectations that it is serious about meaningful political reform. The release from house-arrest of Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and the by-elections of 2012 that saw the victory of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy; many observers are concluding that Burma is finally embarking on a process of genuine democratization. As the relationships with Western governments slowly warming again, there is now a high wishful thinking that sanctions and other restrictions on trade and investment will be lifted in the near future and foreign aids to rehabilitate the country’s battered health and education sectors will start to flow in soon.
However, as yet the development of human capacity in terms of improvements and investments in the health and education sectors are not in adequate condition. In order to fill the gap, activists, and socially conscious and responsible citizens of the country are responding to the needs in a form of voluntary and community based initiatives. Functions of these activists and citizen-led organizations range from sheltering and educating orphans and street children, running monastic-based education centers, teaching critical thinking to monks, nuns, and lay students, offering capacity and skill building trainings for teachers in community-based education centers to; publishing research journals, and organizing and mobilizing students in public schools and universities to form respective independent student bodies. MDG Focus worked together with a Yangon based civil society organization; Asoka Foundation to organize a symposium to discuss about the course of education in Burma/Myanmar, exchange experiences of current challenges and difficulties, and find out the opportunities to work together.
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