Higher Education Reform in Myanmar

The Conference on Development Policy Options, held on February 2012 in Nay Pyi Taw, created the Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR) to focus on education reform. Recommendations by the CESR indicates the importance of education reform for economic development in Myanmar. The CESR conducts three phases to ensure the progress of education development.

A Policy Dialogue, Empowering Higher Education-A Vision for Myanmar's Universities, took place on June 29-30, 2013 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. The Policy Dialogue was requested by the Chair of Higher Education Law and Yangon University Revitalization Committees and the leader of Burma's National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi. Attendees at the Policy Dialogue targeted education reform to decentralize universities, increase inclusivity and equity of universities, and increase international connectivity.

On October 7, 2013 in Nay Pyi Taw, a forum on Pragmatic Education Reform took place to discuss the laws, regulations, visions, and plans to implement a pragmatic education reform on the national level. The forum provided 19 tasks for the creation of a draft for National Education Policy and Law. The Education Promotion Implementation Committee provides guidance for ensuring the procedures and processes of the education reform. The Union Minister of the Ministry of Technology and Science chairs the Education Promotion Implementation Committee. The Committee has a working group consisting of education related ministries and non-government organizations that holds discussions and provides a medium for the public to voice their opinions and ideas on education reform. The working group holds meetings and workshops and accepts emails and letters about public opinion towards the education reform process. A draft of the National Education Law was submitted in May 2014 to the Union Government.

The National Education Law was passed by Parliament in July and signed by President Thein Sein on September 30, 2015. The bill would create a National Education Commission that would have control over the education system by mandating budgets and policies. Since the passing of the National Education Law, there have been student protesting in Yangon and Mandalay claiming that the bill further centralizes higher education. The students demand autonomy for universities.

MOE has successfully completed a 3.5 year Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR) to develop an evidence-based National Education Strategic Plan (NESP) for 2016-2021.

NESP Goal of Myanmar: Improved teaching and learning, vocational education and training, research and innovation leading to measurable improvements in student achievement in all schools and educational institutions

The NESP provides a 'roadmap' for sector-wide reforms that will dramatically improve access to quality education for students at all levels of the national education system. The NESP will equip Myanmar students, youth and adult learners with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the 21st century. The education system will ensure that all citizens:achieve minimum national learning standards, learn how to think critically and creatively, gain leadership skills that enable them to help others in their communities and understand, respect and fulfil the rights and responsibilities of all citizens.

The MOE, Myanmar will endeavour to empower higher education in such ways as: Empowerment through autonomy, which would allow universities to manage their academic activities in an effective manner, Inclusiveness, a basic requirement to ensure equal opportunities for all groups in Myanmar society in terms of access and success in higher education. Empowerment for change, referring to the ability of each university to transform itself into an innovative institution. Empowerment for the future, through reforms of the curriculum and pedagogical practices with the purpose of better preparing the young women and men of Myanmar who will be responsible for creating a more democratic society and building a more productive economy.