Teacher Training in Monastic Schools, Mawlamyine. 2019/20
Mawlamyine, Mon State, Myanmar 2019-20

MEP specialise in working with difficult to reach and vulnerable communities in Myanmar and on the Thai/Myanmar border, and so MEP are delighted to have built a strong partnership with the Monastic Education Network in Mawlamyine, Mon State. The Monastic Education system provides education for the very poorest communities across Myanmar, providing a safety net for children who would otherwise miss out on an education. The schools are supported by Buddhist monks who in turn rely on donations to maintain the schools and provide learning materials.

This project has been designed in association with the NLD Education Network and is currently working with Monastic school teachers who are largely volunteers, with limited training and little or no experience in the classroom. Teaching methods have not changed over many years and still rely heavily on rote learning and repetition. In response to this, MEP are giving training in using a more active, fun, child-centred teaching model.

However, training on its own is not enough, and the MEP approach is to stay and support these teachers on the ground, going into schools to work alongside them in the classroom. This form of mentoring gives teachers the chance to try out new methods with support and encouragement and means there is a real chance that new approaches can become embedded in the classroom, and children can benefit from improved learning opportunities. The MEP model tries to ensure quality impact and sustainable outcomes – quite different from the traditional model of leaving a training manual that is soon forgotten on a dusty shelf.

In 2020, due to Covid-19 we have been adapting our work to fit in with the current restrictions. Our trainer in Mawlamyine, Mon State, has been running regular online training sessions for teachers at Monastic schools and developing a bank of resources which they can use when schools return. Although we are still unable to visit schools, one of our projects has been remodelled to fit with 'social distancing' protocols.

This adapted project works with a small group of local teachers who have the potential to become trainers themselves. We provide a Cambridge English course for them alongside a teacher training programme, with the aim that to create a support-team who will help to mentor and train other local teachers.