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Australia to provide $80 million for Burma schools

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said his government will give textbooks to more than one million children in Burma, especially reaching out to impoverish areas, at the end of his recent visit to the country.

A typical crowded primary school classroom in central Burma. Photo: Asia Peace and Education Foundation“Australia will also reach out to the most remote and underdeveloped regions of the country through Buddhist and community schools. In some of these schools less than half of teachers are properly trained,” Carr said, who ended his three-day tour on Friday.

He said that only half of Burmese children finished primary school, and many are so hungry and malnourished they find it hard to study.

Australia, one of Burma’s largest aid donors, will also provide teacher training and food, as well as provide water and and sanitation facilities at primary schools.

Students who stay in school for a year will receive take-home meals to encourage their families to keep them in school, he said.

The aid will be released over the next four years, and high-education scholarships would by increased from 20 next year to 50 by 2015, said the government.

Carr visited AusAID education projects in the Delta region south of Yangon which was devastated by Cyclone Nargis.

Education in Burma is at it’s lowest level in decades. “That means this generation of children in Myanmar may become the first in the country’s history with a lower level of education than their parents. Australia is determined to try and prevent this from happening,” he said.

Carr said the program supports the basic rights of the poorest children in the country, “The right to education, the right to learn in a safe environment, and the right to clean water and sanitation.”

Australia has contributed to international efforts which have since 2007 provided Burma with over 1.9 million mosquito nets, treated 127,000 tuberculosis patients and provided more than 51 million condoms and 10 million needles to reduce the rate of HIV infection, said the government.
Last Updated ( Monday, 11 June 2012 14:02 )  

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