A New Primary School
In its second project with Global Community Service Foundation, Global Playground has built a new school in the village of Paw Myar in Nyaungshwe Township, Taunggyi District, Shan State, Myanmar (formerly Burma).
Global Community Service Foundation is Global Playground’s partner in both Myanmar and Vietnam. The organization encourages communities in Southeast Asia to empower themselves through sustainable healthcare, education, and economic independence with a special focus on Myanmar and Vietnam.
Shan State, where Paw Myar Primary School is located, is the largest of Myanmar’s fourteen states. It borders China to the north, Laos to the east, and Thailand to the south. Shan State gets its name from the Shan people, one of several ethnic groups who inhabit the area. Paw Myar village is nearby Inle Lake, the second largest natural expanse of water in Myanmar, where the leg-rowing Intha people live in floating villages and tend floating gardens on the water.
Paw Myar consists of approximately 70 households and 322 people. The primary industry is the farming of corn and sugarcane. Paw Myar Primary School is the first school in the village. With the hard work of community members who contributed labor, land, and materials, coordination of GCSF, and Global Playground’s donation of $21,300, Paw Myar Primary School opened in June 2015. Currently, Paw Myar Primary School serves 26 children and has the capacity to accommodate 40.
The State of Education
At the time of its independence, Myanmar was admired for the quality of its education system and the high literacy rate of its people. Today, the literacy rate remains high at over 90% among the country’s youth. However, lack of public funding has deteriorated the once promising education system. A 2001 UNESCO study found that Myanmar spent just 1.3% of its GDP on education, ranking 164th out of 168 countries in the study.1
Myanmar mandates five years of compulsory primary school for children ages 5-9. According to 2011 statistics, the country’s enrollment rate at the primary level was around 85%, although the completion rate was just 81%. At the secondary level, Myanmar’s enrollment rate was only 50.2%.2
Myanmar faces a number of challenges, including a shortage of schools, a high drop-out rate, and high repetition rate in rural and urban areas. Global Playground’s school is a substantial investment in the lives of the children of Paw Myar village.
1. Hayes, Jeffrey. “Education in Myanmar.” Facts and Details. May 2014
2. “Country Profiles: Myanmar.” UNESCO Institute for Statistics. 2014.
Myanmar fun facts!
Myanmar, formerly Burma, gets its name from the country’s largest ethnic group, the Burman, or, Myanma. The name was officially changed by the military junta in 1989.
Myanmar’s largest exports are teak and mineral commodities such as natural gas and precious gems. Myanmar is very rich in natural resources, but its economy remains one of the least developed in the world.3
3. “Myanmar Fast Facts.” CNN. (2016).
Did You Know?
Buddhism is the predominant religion, embraced by 80% of the population. Pagodas and Buddhist temples adorned in gold have earned Myanmar the nickname “The Golden Country,” or “The Land of Pagodas.”