“With a population of more than 1 billion under the age of 24, the Lao PDR, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh have young populations that have an unprecedented opportunity to address poverty, inequity and to drive positive change across the region and in their communities.”
Of the countries in the above quote, taken from the Pass It Back website, Myanmar is the second lowest ranked country on the Human Development Index and is 148th in the world. Young people in Myanmar are failed by a substandard education where there is a high emphasis on Teacher-centred rote learning, memorisation and regurgitation. As a result students’ ability to think critically and creatively is eroded throughout their school life. This is not helped by the teachers themselves having learned in a similar manner and makes them resistant to adopting contemporary teaching methodologies.
Steps are being taken to resolve this situation but it is believed that new methodologies and an increase in budget will take a generation to filter through to the mainstream. It should be noted that Myanmar culture has traditionally placed a high value on education and has a high literacy rate. Through qualitative research and pilot programmes it has become apparent that there is a need to supplement the national curriculum in several areas.
Typically Burmese children only spend an hour a week participating in PE lessons and organised sports activities or teams are virtually non-existent. Any “extra-curricular” activities are tuition classes geared towards passing exams. Whilst it is not uncommon in the West for the fire brigade or ambulance services to come into primary and secondary schools and give demonstrations and award certification this is sadly not the case in Myanmar. Equally, reproductive health is not covered as part of the national curriculum. With regards to IT, students are unlikely to use a computer unless they pay for extra classes or take a computing course at university at the age of 16.
Rationale for the Project
“The United Nations (UN) has recognised that sport can be used as a universal language to promote peace, tolerance and understanding by bringing people together across boundaries, cultures and religions […] Research indicates a positive correlation between sport and increased attendance levels, enhanced classroom behaviour and improved academic achievement.”
Given the obvious benefits of sport for development and education Crossing the Gain Line aims to use rugby and play based learning to bridge gaps in the Myanmar education system.
“Sport has shown to be an effective medium of developing life skills, enhancing youth’s ability to gain and retain employment.”
There is a clear need for organisations like Crossing the Gain Line to provide educational and extra-curricular activities to young people to a) supplement their public education b) prepare them for the upcoming employment/study opportunities and c) give underprivileged young people a fair chance to participate in Myanmar’s impending economic prosperity.
Why Life Skills and vocational training?
Most of the children we are working with are unlikely to be able to continue playing organised sports into adulthood but we can give them usable skills that their formal education did not provide them with. Also, factors such as weather and lack of infrastructure mean that opportunities to work outdoors will be at a premium so we need to keep the children engaged with worthwhile activities when we can’t throw a ball about.
In terms of life skills we will run workshops covering the above-identified gaps in the national curriculum. This will include Critical thinking/problem solving, First Aid, Fire Safety, Reproductive health and IT (MS office & basic coding).
For a little more information on the organisation it the media and on Rugby in Myanmar see links below:
What we do
Each week we coach hundreds of Myanmar children rugby skills and teachniques. In all of sessions we focus on fun and use rugby's core values as our underpinning philosophy. We also train Myanmar youth coaches to ensuring a long lasting stability within Myanmar.
Emergency Food Relief Myanmar
With the pandemic and coup taking its toll on the Myanmar people. Crossing the Gain Line took action by providing emergency food relief to the children and families in the areas we coach. Partnering with other local charities we have reached (on a monthly basis) over 1000 children in Yangon and the Shan State.
Here at Crossing the Gain Line we realize that touching young people lives through rugby obliges us to reinforce the core value of the game. This is why we also provide educational support in the form of English lessons, art, music, drama and more
CtGL partners with organisations and companies that provide vocational training to young people ages 17-23. Since we have been coaching rugby since 2016 some of the "children'' have grown up. Many of these children have had little or no formal education therefore, these vocational opportunities are a valuable step in their life journey.