It is well documented that a nurturing and creative learning environment improves the development of the brain and sets a child up for a future of learning and competent decision making. “Rote learning” is a system of learning whereby the individual learns by repetition and recall as opposed to the processing and understanding of information. Rote learning has been and is still the primary method of learning in Myanmar. Only in the last year has the education board in Myanmar decided that children at grade 11 standard, should complete critical thinking tasks in their examinations to better ready them for decision making in life.
Our programmes of informal education and after school assistance, work on the creative aspect of learning. Incorporating games, craft making, singing, dancing alongside of Myanmar and maths classes, means that the children get to create and think and develop a positive mental attitude. Learning to play together and socialise is also a lifelong lesson to learn.
All of our community centres have a programme for children who are out of school for whatever reason and a programme to tutor children falling behind at school. Large class sizes and rote systems of learning means that this is very commonplace. When a child falls behind with their work and or fails an exam, they are more likely to drop out of school, decreasing the likelihood of obtaining decent work in later life.
As part of the community centre model, the women who come to the programmes for skills training and mentorship, are also taught about the value of education, so they can encourage their children to continue to attend the free schooling system. The women are also taught how to write and learn very simple book-keeping, so they can see the value in getting an education too.