Level up – the Prospect Burma change maker taking education back home
Saw Khine Thet Tun (pictured) is Karen, and grew up surrounded by conflict and discrimination. In conflict zones, education is often one of the first casualties, a situation which is further compounded by Myanmar’s sub-standard education system, and the discrimination of ethnic groups including the Karen people.
Saw Khine Thet Tun undertook a Masters of Education at Ramkhamhaeng University in Thailand with Prospect Burma’s support, graduating in 2010. Through his time studying abroad, he learned the inherent value of a quality education, and in particular the importance of learning critical thinking. With his qualifications and determination to create change, he co-founded the Myanmar Community Academies Programme (MCAP), a two year diploma designed to create young leaders in remote parts of the country. The diploma combines quality academic learning including English language training, community development, and numeracy, with leadership skills, intercultural and interreligious understanding and cooperation.
Saw Khine Thet Tun told us: “My key inspiration to co-started MCAP was to contribute my knowledge and experience that I gained from international university to the marginalized community members.”
He encountered a lot of difficulties when he started out, including issues around the political implications of creating an education programme in Myanmar, and a lack of available funding. Saw Khine was determined however, and MCAP became a reality. Today there are three MCAP academies in remote parts of the country; Kachin State, Kayah State and Kayin state. Each academy takes on around 30 students a year, offering these young people a life changing opportunity to access education they otherwise would not have. The importance of this cannot be overstated – many of these young people are from rural, agricultural backgrounds, and without MCAP would have limited options.
Saw Khine said: “Education is the right investment for our country’s future because, globally, people accept that education can guide the nation to become more economically productive, build the society peacefully and democratically as well as support sustainable development. More importantly, the quality of education is essential to be pursued by community members to solve wicked problems in our society.”