UNESCO and the Ministry of Education in Myanmar Convene High Level Meeting on Education Policy and Legislative Reform
Yet another milestone on Myanmar’s road to education reform was reached on 26 November 2013 as UNESCO and the Ministry of Education convened a high level consultation meeting in Nay Pyi Taw on key policy and legislative areas for reform, including education decentralization, national education legislation, quality assurance, and EMIS development.
The meeting was organized under the auspices of the ongoing Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR), which UNESCO is supporting through its CapEFA programme in the thematic area of sector-wide policy and planning.
The Acting Union Minister of Education, Dr. Myo Myint, inaugurated the meeting, emphasizing that the Government of Myanmar has prioritized the development of a national education law, the decentralization of the system, and the formation of quality assurance mechanisms as it begins to formulate its education sector costed plan. Dr. Myo Myint highlighted steps that the Ministry of Education has already taken towards education reform, including providing school grants and stipends, increasing the teacher workforce, building new schools, and undertaking the CESR. According to the Dr. Myo Myint, “Today’s meeting represents a significant step in accelerating education reform and in improving the quality of education for the people of Myanmar.”
The Union Minister for Science and Technology, Dr. Ko Ko Oo, Director-Generals and Deputies from the Ministry of Education departments, members of the CESR team, Development Partners, and representatives from the newly formed Education Promotion Implementation Committee – which has been tasked with moving forward on the recommendations from the CESR – also participated in the meeting.
UNESCO experts from the Hong Kong Institute of Education, National Institute of Education – Singapore, GEMS Education Solutions, and the UNESCO Bangkok Education Policy and Reform (EPR) and UIS-AIMS units presented policy options in the priority areas of education legislation, decentralization, quality assurance, and EMIS development and facilitated discussion on policy directions and next steps for the Ministry of Education and partners.
By using the lens of regional, comparative analysis, presentations from the UNESCO experts allowed participants to weigh options for policy reform in Myanmar by drawing on best practices and lessons learned from other ASEAN countries.
During the meeting, Mr. Sardar Umar Alam, Head of UNESCO Yangon Office, commended the Ministry of Education on its commitment to education reform and noted the perfect timing of the meeting as priorities emerge from the recommendations of the first two phases of the CESR, and as the Ministry of Education moves towards formulating its costed education sector plan.
“Education reform is a complex and continuous process,” remarked Mr. Alam, “and UNESCO is honoured to play a key role in Myanmar’s education sector reform as it does in countries in transition around the world. UNESCO support has often led to the formulation of robust education sector, plans, programmes, and projects.”
As a next step, UNESCO will finalize the studies on decentralization, legislation, quality assurance and EMIS, incorporating feedback from the consultation. The studies will be disseminated to relevant stakeholders, including the Parliamentarian Education Committee, and will feed into the formation of a costed sector plan as the final phase of the CESR. In partnership with UNESCO IIEP and other Development Partners, UNESCO is also in the process of developing a comprehensive institutional capacity development plan for the training of various levels of education administrators.