Teaching Human Rights in Myanmar: Challenges faced by Primary School Teachers

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Nan Kham Mai
Duanghathai Buranajaroenkij


Myanmar is a country trying to build a democratic and peaceful society. In this regard, education is important to ensure that citizens understand human rights values and abide by law. In primary education, the initiative to compulsorily integrate Human Rights Education (HRE) is reflected in the National Education Policy, where the National Education Law (2014) and Basic Education Law (2019) are endorsed respectively. The purpose of this study is to explore the challenges of primary school teachers who are teaching a new curriculum which integrates HRE lessons into the existing school curricula in Myanmar. The study used qualitative research methods including reviewing textbooks, laws, international instruments and academic literature. In order to gain insights into the implementation of HRE in schools, semi-structured interviews were conducted with officers of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC), primary school teachers and headmasters from Mandalay Region and Shan State. The findings reveal the challenges teachers face in teaching HRE lessons in their classes. Myanmar’s traditional social norms, which somewhat contradict to the universal values of human rights, have a significant influence on how teachers interpret the curriculum. Teachers’ limited knowledge of human rights concepts, together with inadequate teaching resources and language barriers, contribute to ineffective teaching of HRE in primary schools.

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Nan Kham Mai, & Buranajaroenkij, D. (2021). Teaching Human Rights in Myanmar: Challenges faced by Primary School Teachers. Journal of Human Rights and Peace Studies, 7, 1–29. Retrieved from https://so03.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/HRPS/article/view/253905
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