Montrose has been working with UNICEF, in consultation with the Myanmar Ministry of Education and Rakhine State Education Department, to develop a module to complement the Basic Education physical education curriculum, which will be used by teachers to promote Playing Sports Together (PST) for the promotion of inclusion, peace and social cohesion. Under the Learning Together component of the Myanmar-UK Partnership for Education (MUPE), the Playing Sports Together aims to support the promotion of togetherness, peace and social cohesion through sports activities organised in accordance with the Basic Education physical education curriculum as well as through extra-curricular activities in schools from targeted townships in Rakhine State.
Playing Sports Together builds on the basic education physical education curriculum, explores how sports teaching in schools contributes to building a culture of peace and community, and encourages head teachers, teachers and community leaders and students themselves to actively promote inclusion in culture, gender and disability in conflict-affected Rakhine State.
Montrose education consultant Dr Rachael Jefferson-Buchanan travelled to Rakhine in February to research attitudes to inclusion and sport in school, which included meeting Ministry and State officials.
Unfortunately, further planned visits to the region were cancelled due to worldwide Covid-19 travel restrictions. Montrose responded to this challenge by pivoting their research and module development to be carried out from a distance. This included developing a questionnaire, in consultation with UNICEF, which was sent to officials, school heads and teachers in six townships. Follow-up telephone interviews were conducted with six participants from four townships.
The questionnaire asked respondents to identify challenges that teachers might face when putting the PST module into practice, and ways in which the module could be refined were discussed as a result of these findings. As well as making various amendments to the module content in response to the findings from the questionnaire and telephone interviews, Dr Jefferson-Buchanan revised the module so that it could be delivered online, as the threat of Covid-19 greatly restricted opportunities for face-to-face training. She also modified physical activities within the module to take account of the risks associated with the virus.
Dr Jefferson-Buchanan, who is a lecturer in human movement studies at Charles Sturt University in New South Wales, Australia, said working on the project inspired her to be more open-minded about the value of sport as a technology for inclusion and that it had given her an in-depth understanding of the intense, historic ethnic divisions in Rakhine State.
The module implementation is due to begin this autumn.
For more information please contact the Montrose Myanmar Office: firstname.lastname@example.org