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Myanmar’s Civil Society – a Patch for the National Education System? The Emergence of Civil Society in Areas of State Weakness


  • Jasmin Lorch


Civil society groups are among the most important private actors to fill some of the gaps that exist in Myanmar’s education system. As the state-run education system deteriorates, civil society actors develop alternative approaches to teaching and the provision of basic education materials. As its subtitle suggests, this article argues that even though the military regime of Myanmar is highly authoritarian, spaces for civil society actors do exist within two areas of state weakness: firstly, within various sectors of the weak welfare state; and secondly, within some of the negotiated spaces of relative ethnic autonomy in ceasefire areas. Against this backdrop, the emergence of civil-society-based self-help groups in the education sector provides but one specific example of a larger trend that is taking place in present-day Myanmar: The military regime has started to tolerate certain civil society activities in areas of tremendous welfare needs that the government is unable or unwilling to deal with itself.

Suggested Citation

  • Jasmin Lorch, 2007. "Myanmar’s Civil Society – a Patch for the National Education System? The Emergence of Civil Society in Areas of State Weakness," Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 26(3), pages 55-88.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:soaktu:v:15:y:2007:i:3:p:55-88

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