Inspire: A Programme to Motivate and Make Education Accessible through Monastic Schools

A vastly diverse country with an estimated total of 135 distinct ethnic groups, Myanmar has at times struggled to unify its people under the banner of the nation. Ethnic strife and violent conflict are not unknown in Myanmar and have resulted in large-scale internal displacement and refugee flows into neighbouring countries. Furthermore, the Myanmar government has grappled with providing quality basic education, as well as affording different linguistic modes of instruction, which would be more accessible to the country’s diverse ethnic populations. Although education data is scarce in Myanmar, some figures indicate a net primary-enrolment rate of 84 percent; however, 10 percent of these enrolled children will not endure to class 5. According to a Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), as of 2010 there were at least 1 million OOSC in the country.

Working through two separate support channels (traditional teacher-oriented in-class support and 3G innovation to permit distance learning and online instruction), the Inspire: A Programme to Motivate and Make Education Accessible through Monastic Schools in Myanmar foresees reaching 72,220 OOSC with primary-school education or its equivalent over the course of three years. The project will be implemented in Rakhine and Shan States where literacy rates are about 55.9 percent, as well as in Mon, Kachin and Tanintharyi. In addition, central regions of Myanmar’s central regions of Ayeyarwaddy, Bago, Mandalay, Sagaing and Yangon are the planned sites for the 3G-enabled schools.

To achieve this objective, 600 target schools will commit to continuously enrolling OOSC every year for the duration of the project’s life cycle. The Inspire project’s strategy is to engender community-based solutions to specific access barriers, while investing in quality and flexible education delivery. In that vein, the project will offer classes outside of regular school hours and accelerated-learning programmes. Additional project activities include: 1) non-formal education that addresses key barriers to regular school attendance, such as poor quality and low self-esteem; and 2) school improvement initiatives comprised of teacher training and school grants programmes. 

From the outset, the Inspire project will concentrate on achieving sustainability through key pillars in its service-delivery model. In the main, a strong emphasis will be placed on quality education and local ownership; teachers are trained in learner-centred pedagogy and a school grants programme is administered to drive local solutions. Moreover, Inspire’s sustainability plan invests in technology and an ICT system, the digitisation of Myanmar language learning materials and policy dialogue that captures project impact and scaling potential.

*EAC would like to thank KOICA for their generous co-financing contribution to this project.

Project finished


MEDG: Monastic Education Development Group

EAC and the Monastic Education Development group (MEDG) have come together to train teachers and increase education access to 72,220 out of school children (OOSC) throughout Myanmar.

Korea International Cooperation Agency (co-Financing Partner)

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) was established as a government-funded agency dedicated to providing grant-aid programmes on the part of the Korean Government in 1991.




Myanmar, the largest mainland country in Southeast Asia, is home to more than approximately 130 ethnic groups with distinct cultures and languages. The country has known periodic spells of armed conflict and inter-communal violence, particularly in border areas, which trigger flows of refugees and internal displacement. In addition, poverty is a formidable development challenge in Myanmar. According to the 2009-2010 Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey in Myanmar, 26 percent of the population lived below the national poverty line and poverty incidence was concentrated in Ayeyarwaddy, Chin, Rakhine, Shan and Tanintharyi.