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Japan to build schools in conflict zones

By Haw Betty Han The Myanmar Times 8 March 2018

A school in Mulon-Lone Hae village of Hopong township, Shan State. Naw Betty Han/The Myanmar Times

The Nippon Foundation has vowed to support education in troubled states in Myanmar as part of the Japanese government’s effort to help resolve the decades-old armed conflicts in the country.

Earlier this month, the foundation completed the construction of 300 school buildings in Shan State and 100 school buildings in Rakhine State, which have both had more than 70 years of armed strife between government forces and armed ethnic groups.

In Shan, a post-primary school was constructed in collaboration with the Ministry of Border Affairs.

The Nippon Foundation provided a grant of US$13.17 million (K17.61 billion) for the construction of the buildings in Shan, which was channeled through its implementing partner, the Saetanar Foundation.

Yohei Sasakawa, chairman of Nippon Foundation, said his organisation will continue its work in assisting Myanmar’s educational development, national reconciliation and peace efforts.

He urged the community to actively participate in preserving the schools and raise the educational level of their children.

“By 2022, 120 more schools will be built in Shan and Kayah states,” Sasakawa told reporters after the inauguration ceremony of a school building in Shan on Saturday.

He expressed hope that Nippon Foundation would also be able to support and promote education in other states in which armed ethnic groups have signed the government-initiated Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).

“Peace is essential to improve every sector of the community and the country,” he added.

Education Minister U Myo Thein Gyi cited Nippon Foundation for its valuable help in improving the government’s national strategic plan, with the motto: No one is left behind in education.

“We also need about 80,000 teachers in high schools and middle schools.

“We appreciate that the foundation has supported building up the infrastructure of Myanmar education and continues to support capacity-building for teachers and students,” said Myo Thein Gyi.

Nippon Foundation has been constructing schools in border areas of Myanmar since 2002 to help the sustainable development programmes of the government.

It also provides technical training to local residents.

As of this month, a total of 460 schools accommodating 139,138 students have been completed.

The organisation first set foot in Myanmar in 1976, and its initial projects included development of human resources and treatment of leprosy patients through the distribution of medicine.

Aside from supporting education, the foundation is involved in health and human resource development.

From:  THE MYANMAR TIMES (MYANMAR) 0 March 8, 2018

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