Universities prepare charters for next academic year

Officials at Myanmar’s 169 colleges and universities are busy drafting charters for their respective institutions, which will allow them to be self-governing starting from the upcoming academic year, a senior official from the Ministry of Education said earlier this week.

“The charters will be put into effect this December [when the academic year starts], so self-governance will begin from this year,” the official said.

“Not only universities under the Ministry of Education but also all universities under any ministry will change to self-governing institutions. They will have administrative freedom like international universities.”

Aside from the Ministry of Education, 12 other ministries run colleges and universities in Myanmar.

Once the new charters take effect, rectors will be responsible for administrative and organisational duties at their own schools. Ministries will not interfere with university affairs, but will consult on matters such as university management and finance, research projects, and on-campus special events.

A spokesperson from Yangon University said that in the same way that the National Education Law had to comply with the 2008 constitution, the university’s charter must be in line with the National Education Law.

“Our charter has been completed, and we plan on putting it on display so everyone can see it,” he said.

Ko Min Ko Naing, leader of the 88 Generation group, said many students have fought hard and made sacrifices to demand self-governance for universities. He added that he expects the new charters to be a major step toward independence for institutions of higher learning.

“Despite knowing that self-governance would not be granted easily, we knew this was how universities worked in other countries. It is necessary here as well,” he said.

“Although Myanmar has just started the process of creating self-governing institutions, we cannot just stand by and be satisfied. There is still much work to be done in the education sector. Even though the National Education Law has been enacted, there are still gaps to be filled and adjustments to be made to ensure that it becomes a more effective law.”

Ma Myint Myat Thu, a second-year chemistry student at Yangon University, said she thought the new charters would improve learning and teaching methods.

“The students and the administration will have more freedom. We will have no restrictions or limitations,” she said.

U Arkar Moe Thu, a professor at Dagon University, said the charters will breathe new life into Myanmar’s education system.

“Teachers and staff will have more freedom, and schools will have a better system of rules and regulations. Our charter will be our own creation and will give us full sovereignty. We will be able to assure the quality of our own university.”

Source: Myanmar Times

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