Raising children in Myanmar is very different from ours. Many parents do not scold their children at all. Instead, you rely on distraction when the child wants something different or doesn’t want at all. And strict upbringing with punishments or even beatings, that is rare in Myanmar. Although children in Myanmar are given no limits, they are rarely loud or even cheeky. Somehow this kind of upbringing seems to be working too.
Almost everyone can read and write
Myanmar previously had one of the lowest illiteracy rates in the world. This is partly because the tradition of monastery schools is very old and many children have attended such schools. Myanmar was once part of the British colonial empire and at that time a school system was already established, the influence of which can still be felt today.
Today 93 out of 100 inhabitants can read and write. For young people between the ages of 15 and 24, it is 96 out of 100.
The school system
Schooling is compulsory in Myanmar, a country located in Asia according to itypetravel. Most schools are state schools, but there are also private schools and, above all, monastery schools. Children between the ages of six and ten attend elementary school, a middle school between the ages of ten and 14 and then a high school up to 19 years. Those who have completed high school can then go to college or university. That sounds pretty good, but in reality it is the case that some children only go to elementary school.
For a long time, Myanmar was the country with the largest number of child soldiers in the world. There have been numerous wars and clashes in this country between the military government and rebels who fought and are still fighting in many regions of the country. Every fifth soldier was still a child. The army kidnapped the children and forced them to fight in war. Even whole school classes were forced to fight. Some children even came “voluntarily”. These were mostly children without parents, who otherwise saw no chance of survival and sought protection in the army.
The children are being exploited
The military also like to use children because they don’t contradict as often as adults, hardly cost any money and are easier to influence. Children were even used in mine search fields. Whoever didn’t want to go on had hardly a chance to run away. Where also?
The abuse continues
Ever since there has been a new government, it has promised to put an end to it. It is not known exactly how many children are still in the hands of the military. There has been a civilian government in Myanmar since March 2011. But children – now by the rebel groups – are still being sent into battle as soldiers. And as long as the fighting here continues, we unfortunately have to assume that there will continue to be child soldiers in Myanmar.
Many children live on the streets, especially in cities. Some because their parents work during the day, others because they no longer have parents. These children are particularly often victims of abuse and in need of protection and support.
In 2014, Myanmar was in third place among the countries with major problems with children’s work. A few years earlier it was even ranked first. This was of course not an award.
But on December 18, 2013, Myanmar signed the ILO Convention 182. It bans the worst forms of child labor. Even if this project is unfortunately not always being implemented, it is at least a first approach to improve the situation of children in Myanmar.
Children work on plantations and harvest bamboo and rice, they cut teak, they work in brickworks, as construction workers or fishermen.
The work in the country’s gem mines is also bad. Myanmar is very famous for its rubies, including jade. That is also a precious stone. Many religious figures are made of jade. But gemstones that have been excavated by children should not be sold at all.
Perhaps you know pictures of Buddhist monks with their hair shorn close and in typical monk’s robes. But the Buddhist religion also has female followers. As with Christians, these are then called nuns. They also don’t look so dissimilar to male like-minded people. Can you tell the difference?
Education in the monastery
Many girls attend one of the country’s many convent schools at a very young age. This is a good opportunity for them to get any training at all. Children who go to the monasteries not only receive lessons, but are also looked after. Girls often come to a monastery after primary school, simply because they want to continue learning. If you do not have enough money and also live in the country, you can almost only do this as a girl in a monastery.
Many stay in the monastery and continue the life of a nun who is not allowed to marry in Buddhism either. However, in Myanmar, like in India or China, women are not necessarily forced to marry. Many women stay with their parents and provide for their livelihood in old age, look after them and look after them.
Different ethnic groups live in Myanmar, each with their own language. Girls from these ethnic groups are sent to the monastery where they learn the country’s language, Burmanese, and study the teachings of Buddhism. When they return to their villages afterwards, they can pass on their knowledge there and act as intermediaries. The military government has long promoted this approach, knowing that the nuns – unlike perhaps the monks – are more loyal to the government and less likely to rebel.