The ministry of education (MOE) is the main provider of educational system in Myanmar. After transiting, the ministry of education was trying to improve not only the basic education system but also the higher education in Myanmar. But I would like to write the reforms and challenges of the basic education in Myanmar. The ministry of education was managed the education system in Myanmar. So, the Myanmar education system is separated the Basic education and Higher education.
And there are two types of basic education and two types of higher education. The Lower Secondary and Upper Secondary schools are the basic education which is under the ministry of education. For the universities and professional institution are the Upper Myanmar and Lower Myanmar. We have three main sectors of basic school education in Myanmar. They are – public, private and monastic schools in Myanmar. I mentioned that the Myanmar education system is very lack after independence.
So, the private schools and monastic schools were developed in country, especially the monastic schools. The monastic schools were provided the children. There are three main types of monastic schools in Myanmar. The first one is the Buddhist’s teaching and the second one is to impart the Buddhist’s teaching and also educate the children the fundamental literacy’s skills. The second one is to honor their pupils the certificates which are legally accepted by the government. The last one is educated their pupils the government curriculum. Moreover, there are also a variety of monastic education centers that take on in the vocational skills training or computer training actions.
Moreover, at the same time the private schools are developed. But it is not suitable for the poor families, because it is very expensive for the registration. But the private schools were not legally document by the government. Now the private school registration law was enacted by the government in 2011. The private schools followed the national curriculum and allowed to open officially across the country in accordance with the law. So, the private schools also are legally accepted by the government. In the country 159 private schools (source – Ministry of Education – 2012) have been opened in ten regions, states and Nay Pyi Taw. In these regions, twenty private schools have been approved to open among the sixty seven which had sought permission from the ministry of the education in Myanmar.
In the public schools, we have to pay not only registration fees but also extra donation such as charge of books, care of building and we need schools uniform for the children if the parents want to drive their children to the public school. In this case, the poor parents could not afford their children to the public school. Moreover, the schools do not give the good facilities the students. But after transiting to democracy the public school do not need to pay any charges for the poor families; they just need to do registration if they want to drive their children to the public school.
Now the public schools also provide the children the educational materials such as books, schools uniforms, places and so on. Now the public schools are extremely developed in terms of everything more than before the transiting. After transiting to democracy, our government was trying to implement the educational development plans such as – Education for all plans, thirty years long – term plan BEDP (Basic Education Development Plan) and RADP (Rural Area Development Plan), National Education Strategy Plan (NESP) and evaluates the human resources matters. According to these plans, the ministry of education was trying to change the new Kindergarten education system for the children, the exam systems, teaching systems and curriculum of basic education schools.
Moreover, the government also spent the expenditure budget for the education is higher than the other categories. During 2015 -16 academic years, the ministry of education was starting to use the new Kindergarten education system around the country. The new kindergarten curriculum consists of not only the thinking system but also the music, sport and storytelling system. So, it is not only learning by heart system but also depending on the thinking system. This course is not only used in Myanmar but also used in ASEAN countries. Moreover, the ministry of education was trying to improve the teacher’s qualities for this course.
There is the different matriculation examination’s form between states and divisions in Myanmar. But, after 2015 academic years we have to pass the same matriculation examination’s form. And we do not need the marks of matriculation examination if we want to drive to the universities, colleges and other institutions. But we need to pass the entrance to access these levels. And the students must to attend to these education levels for four years (plus one year program).
The Education Reform Priorities of the Government
The following are the main education priorities reforms of government in Myanmar –
· To establish the early childhood care programs.
· To improve the primary education completion for every primary – aged child in school. So, the government was trying to implement the education for the children who face difficulties in accessing and achieving primary – level education such as children with mental or physical disabilities, the very poor children and children living in remote areas.
· Provide and help the nationalities languages and cultures, including curriculum development, implementation and monitoring by state and division governments to provide primary – aged children who speak ethnic languages.
· To implement the pertinence ratios of teacher and student.
· Improve the qualities and professional subject – matter of teachers in all schools.
· Make the education more accessible to all in the poor regions where is priority need of schools in less developed area, especially in the middle and high schools lacking facilities and educational materials.
· Improve the quality of life of people with limited educational qualifications, though middle and high school equivalency program and vocational training.
· Implement the international higher education system, where universities have autonomy over their own curriculum governance and to do freely research in school.
· Implement to develop the technical and vocational education that is equal in status with academic learning at universities.
· Provide the students the educational materials such as books, school uniform, place and so on.
· The ministry of education effectively used the education budgets which are to get from the government, private sector, other domestic and international funding.
· Implement effective education reform, as well as management and monitoring program based on accurate information and data. (source – MOE)
Educational Challenges in Myanmar
After 2010, our government was starting to change in all education levels. So, we have the challenges that is currently facing are multi – dimensional and most of them deals with key concepts in education reform such as access, quality and equity. But I would like to describe the challenges of basic education reform in Myanmar. There are four major challenges facing preschool and kindergarten education.
· Children living in rural and remote areas have limited access to quality preschool and kindergarten education. In this case, we have much private tuition for kindergarten education after 2010. But, it is suitable for rich families. So, the government needs to improve the preschool and kindergarten education system and to access the children who are from poor families and living in remote region.
· There is much private tuition for preschool in Myanmar. But their providers generally need to improve the quality of their services for their students, because the preschool services need to improve the quality of their services these are equal in status with the standard of ministry of education (minimum quality standard).
· In the country, more effective co – coordination management systems are needed at all levels. Moreover, we need to improve access to quality preschool services in all states and regions.
· Design, development and implementation of a developmentally appropriate, culturally responsive and educationally relevant kindergarten curriculum are a major priority in order to ensure that all children can access appropriate and kindergarten learning.
There are four main challenges facing basic education – access, quality and inclusion.
· Now the ministry of education is implementing to access the children to free basic education. But, the drop – out rates are still high during the transition from primary to middle school and from middle to high school. So, the MOE needs to reduce the drop – out rates.
· The school quality development framework is needed to focus on measuring and addressing teaching, school management and school facilities standard. The quality of educational system also needs to be implementing to improve the school performance and ensure greater accountability from head teachers and education managers.
· The education for the children is needed to be unity between the teachers, parents and students. So, the PTAs (Parent Teacher Associations need to be strengthened in all schools around the country, especially needed to enable the students who are living in rural and remote areas.
· The student needs to access the primary education especially the students who are living in rural and remote areas and with poverty being. Moreover, the MOE needs to provide the children the educational materials and facilities especially the student who are with disabilities.
There are three major challenges of basic education curriculum –
· The basic education curriculum and kindergarten curriculum need to reform with a focus on 21st century skills.
· Progressing for the expert capacity of curriculum improvement such as the teachers to successfully implement the new curriculum.
· Strengthening curriculum management dissemination and monitoring and evaluation system.
Number of schools, teachers and students in Basic Education in Myanmar (2015 -16 academic years)
Actors, Their interest and Resources
The Ministry of Education in Myanmar is the main provider of education. The other actors are President, State Counselor, and Local NGOs and so on. After 2010, there are many reforming of education in Myanmar and decrease the number of schools, teachers and students in basic education. Moreover, the Private Registration Law has been legislated by the new civilian government U Thein Sein in 2011. So, the Ministry of Education legally accepted and documented the Private schools in Myanmar.
And also the Myanmar National Education Law has been enacted by the President U Thein Sein with the twenty-five proposed education changes. The objectives of National Education are – to make the good physically, mentally, morally, socially and psychologically improved the citizens with the critical thinking skills, the people who are regarded and followed this law by the practicing their civic and democratic duties and upholding of human rights, the human resources need for economic growing and the qualified scholars, experts technicians in all field of education.
Moreover, this law is aimed to develop all the ethnic languages, literatures, cultures, arts, traditions and historical heritage, to establish the international –standard of learning environment, the quality of learning, teaching and research. After transiting, the students supplicated the educational policies which are to provide the education reform to the new government. So, the new president allowed and approved the educational policies with the specially focus on the implementation –
· To upgrade education standard to international level”
· To implement free and compulsory primary education system
· To collaborate with international and local organizations including the UN, INGOS and NGOs
· To increase the enrolment rate in basic education sector
· To promulgate relevant laws for the participation and contribution of private sectors in education services
· To nurture new generation as intellectuals and intelligentsia in the human resources development
· To provide scholarships, stipends and awards for both locally and internationally
· To improve capacities of teachers in both basic and higher education sectors
· To upgrade the quality and the socio-economic status of educational personnel
· To utilize teaching aids more effectively
There was a second general election in Myanmar in 2015. In this case, the National League for Democracy is winner and elected the President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. They also took place the State Counselor. Her name is Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. She said like that – we are committed to developing a world – class higher education system with a focus on research and innovation, to meet the country’s social and economic development needs. We have the strong vocational education system in colonial education system.
After transiting to democracy, there is lack developing of the vocational education system in Myanmar. But, now she is very interested in vocational education system. So, she is trying to progress in all vocational education levels in the country. Moreover, she is trying to improve the National Education Strategy Plan with the Ministry of Education (MOE), national and international organizations, private sector companies, and also students, parents and teachers in Myanmar. And also the local NGOs were provided the educational materials to the students who are living in poverty families, living in rural and remote areas.
After 2010, there are many educational changes in Myanmar – the changes not only in basic education but also the higher education such as universities, colleges and the other education sectors. The Ministry of Education was implemented the basic education in the sphere of teaching system, curriculum and to added the new kindergarten education system for child. We have the National Education Strategy Plan and goals for all educational levels.
Some of those goals have been implemented by the Ministry of Education. In this case, we have a lot of challenges. I have already mentioned about it. Moreover, the Ministry of Education has already changed such as – the exam form and enrollment for the higher education, the budget for the educational sector, to add the salaries for the teacher and the academic years for the higher education. Especially the teachers got the double salaries who have been appointed in remote areas in Myanmar.
% of GDP
% of total union expenditure
Basic education expenditure
Fig; Total Education Expenditure in Myanmar (2010 to 2014)
Sources: World Bank staff calculations based on MOF BOOST database (PA) means “preliminary actual estimate”; (RE) means “revised budget estimate” and (BE) means “budget estimate.” Exchange rates correspond to fiscal years and use market values throughout.
Fig; Monthly payment salaries of the teachers
Source – Ministry of Education (MOE)
During the colonial rule, the Myanmar education system was one of the best education systems in Southeast Asia. But there is lack education system in Myanmar when the country’s power under the military. So, the government was trying to change all educational levels since 2010. But the education is actually related to the economic development. The Myanmar economic system is also weak. The education system is also related to the peace process in Myanmar especially in ethnic regions. So, the education reform is essential needed in Myanmar.