Myanmar to further restructure, invest in education system

The Myanmar government wants to restructure and raise investments in the existing education system over the next five years so that it remains compatible with modern-day requirements, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said in her New Year speech.

As education plays a very crucial role in the development of our nation, a long-term plan to invest in and ensure the sector stays relevant must be implemented, she said, adding that more will be done to encourage more growth in private education in Myanmar.

Education has also progressed online since the pandemic. Late last year, U Aung Min, Rector of Mandalay’s Yadanarbon University, said academics had agreed on a ministry-supported plan for Myanmar universities and colleges to begin offering online programs for master’s degrees and doctorates.

For basic education, the MOE in 2020 established the Myanmar Digital Education Platform, though scarce detail has been provided. Meanwhile, private and international schools have successfully launched e-learning programmes and online classes complete with projects, tests and assessments.

There have also been some systemic changes in Myanmar education. In September, just before the 2020 election on November 8, autonomy was granted to 16 universities, including Yangon University. U Thein Win, director general of the Department of Higher Education, said the 16 universities will be allowed to include a masters’ department and syllabuses that are appropriate for each region and this can be drafted by each university.

He said the ministry would not interfere in the management of the universities and teaching styles can be designed in line with the needs of each region or state. In August 2018, Myanmar also permitted foreign investments in private basic schools, technical, vocational and training schools, higher education schools, subject-based schools and schools designated by the government. The move was lauded as a positive step forward for local students, who are now able to choose from more international education options.

In 2016, at the start of its term, the National League for Democracy (NLD) initiated a new KG+12 basic education system with the aim of steering students away from a learn-by-heart culture to applying more critical thinking when learning. According to a report by the Ministry of Education listing the ministry’s work implemented from April 2016 to March 2020, spending on the education sector accelerated to K2.67 trillion during the five year period under the NLD compared to just K283 billion under President U Thein Sein’s government between 2011 and 2016.
This included spending on textbooks, uniforms and scholarships as well as providing infrastructure to the vocational sector, where the number of trainees in short-term training courses and government technical college students have increased sharply.

During the period, a total of seven new universities opened across the country, and 612 part-time lectures were appointed. The student population in the arts and science, distant education universities, technology and computer universities and education colleges increased to 174,910, according to the report.

Notably, Yangon University in 2020 upped its world rank to 7116 from 13,072 and reached 321st in the Asean region. The Mandalay University and Yezin Agriculture University also improved in
world ranking. – Translated

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Source: Myanmar Times

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