Through its consortium of nine national and international partners, STEP Democracy strives to increase the knowledge and skills of Myanmar people so they can more effectively participate in their democratic processes. This ranges from the Union Election Commission to political parties and civil society. Also integral to this knowledge sharing is the work that STEP Democracy is doing to support people from across the country to better understand Myanmar’s democratic institutions and processes. Since 2014, STEP Democracy has therefore worked to design and deliver a series of targeted trainings that use an adult learning methodology to effectively engage participants in learning more about Myanmar’s democratic transition.
Although such trainings traditionally focused on adults from a wide array of communities across the country, the STEP Democracy programme strongly believes in the importance of providing quality civic education programmes to young people in order to inspire their dedicated and long-term participation in Myanmar’s democratic institutions and processes. In order to widen its reach and broaden knowledge on democracy, STEP Democracy – through its partners International IDEA, Paññā Institute and Scholar Institute – has designed a comprehensive civic education programme for youth between the ages of 13-16 (grades 7-10).
The curriculum of civic education for schools titled ‘Nurturing the Leaders of Future Generations’ was launched simultaneously in Ayeyarwady Region and Rakhine State in early August with partners planning to reach out more schools in other states and regions in coming years.
“By attending the civic education training students will get an awareness of democratic concepts and will be better equipped to elect the right candidates when they have the chance to vote in future elections.” said Naing Oo, a senior teacher from a private school in Ayeyarwady Region, Myanmar.
The curriculum allows participants to explore notions of democracy and how democratic principles and values are practiced, not only at the national level but also within their immediate communities – including their homes and villages. Topics within the curriculum include, democratic principles; rights, duties and responsibilities; the role of youth in democracy; information literacy and; the role of democratic institutions.
‘This training helped me learn about democratic principles, elections, and my duties and obligations. My understanding of democracy is freedom of living and equal rights.” said a grade nine student from the training in Ayeyarwady’s Mawlamyine Kyun Township.
Should any schools outside of the current programme be interested in implementing the ‘Nurturing the Leaders of Future Generations’ curriculum, STEP Democracy will endeavor to provide mentorship to teachers. Inquiries can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org with materials available for free download here.