Best in MyanmarThe best in Myanmar
Burma once had one of the best educational system in Asia. This is how it can get back to the top
Myanmar's educational system has disintegrated after half a hundred years of abandonment under warlordship. The outlook for maintaining the country's delicate policy transformation depends not only on the solution of the Rohingya crises in Rakhine State, but also on the country's advances in guaranteeing all pupils easy accessibility to good schooling.
Genève - The violent devastation of Myanmar's Rakhine state underlines the challenge the state faces on its uneven path from junta government to democrat. In order to meet the policy, socio-economic and humanitary challenge of the crises, the Consultative Commission for the State of Rakhine, under the chairmanship of Kofi Annan, is recommending pressing and sustainable measures on several front lines to avoid the spread of force, preserve stability and promote conciliation.
Whilst the focus of overall interest has rightfully been on how to stop the attack on the Muslim Rohingya, many other more systematic solutions are crucial to Myanmar's long-term security. Educational reforms are one of the most important. At the end of August I was in Naypyidaw, Myanmar's new capitol, at the International Commission for the Financing of International Courses.
As we know it, the Commission on Higher Learning was there to present the results of our latest review, The Learning Generation, and to exchange views with the country's leaders on payment for learning and improvement of results. and Myo Thein Gyi, the Secretary of Commerce.
In the end, we agreed: Myanmar's policy transitions depend on the improvement of its educational area. For many Myanmar chiefs, their land is an expected economy. It is home to around 53 million inhabitants, is full of mineral, methane and arable land and is strategically located between India and China.
The most important thing is that Myanmar is full of people with a varied and young work force - the average is only 28 years old - who are willing to move their land forward. Myanmar is lacking the necessary schooling. Prior to the introduction of junta government in 1962, Myanmar's educational system was among the best in Asia.
As well as these deficits, Myanmar faces major humanitarian issues, which include indigenous poverage, bad healthcare and the absence of essential infrastructures. Of the ASEAN nations, Myanmar has the shortest lifespan and the second highest rates of baby and baby deaths. It will not be simple to improve Myanmar's educational system while addressing its other issues.
Viet Nam and Korea provide inspirational models of nations that have changed their educational system within a single age. Former Korea Secretary of Higher Learning and Commissioner Lee Ju-ho said during our trip that it will take a while to teach youngsters critical thinking, but the results can have a strong impact on a country's knowledge-based economies.
Recognizing these advantages, Myanmar has placed literacy at the center of its health care reforms. As an example, the Chinese authorities are currently working to promote teaching in more than 100 language communities in Myanmar. In addition, the federal administration has raised its educational budgets from only 0.7% of GNP in 2011 to 2.1% of GNP in 2014.
Recently finalized, the government's National Strategic Plan for Learning establishes an aggressive five-year plan to "improve the wisdom, abilities and competencies" of all schoolchildren. Rakhine State Advisory Commission suggests that all municipalities should have equitable levels of educational attainment. This is supported by the Commission for Educational Affairs. Suu Kyi said in our discussion that her educational dimension will become more and more important in alleviating livelihoods of world wars.
In this difficult phase of civic transformation, integrative learning can contribute to the democratic process. The Rakhine crises impressively show that Myanmar's ethnical and ideological divides are deeply rooted and open, and only in this way can a good standard of literacy be the only way to maintain a mutual understanding of a mutual meaning of being one.
Myanmar's leadership faces a long and challenging process, and most of them will be neither fast nor simple.