By Thein Tun (IR)
Myanmar is making significant changes in the education sector till reaching the international level. The country’s education policy, budget allotment on the education sector, human resources reinforcement, curriculum reforms and etc. have brightened the educational aspirations of the people.
The country’s education lacked behind for years as the victim of politics. In fact, youths of the country were pursuing education just to become graduates or literate. They were away from the essence of knowledge. So the whole education system deteriorated together with the absence of a firm strategy, financial support and human resources reinforcements. All those deficiencies are clearly visible.
The low education standard of the nation has become more noticeable at this politically critical juncture. Brilliant intellectuals and intelligentsia are the core part of the drive to reach the international level. Shortages in human resources and ideologies are the results of low education standard. Change has become inevitable to transform the education system from the bottom.
The country started education reforms alongside the multi-sector changes in 2011. It enacted the National Education Law 2014 and adopted the master plan. The Hluttaw has approved the annual increase in the education budget as an important column. The budget of the education sector reached K over 1756 billion in fiscal year 2017-2018, up from K 1726 billion in fiscal 2016-2017 and K 1405 billion in fiscal 2015-2016. The increase in the budget has improved the education sector in essence and form.
The master plan of the education involves the aim of producing good citizens having creativity and thinking power and other mental abilities and physical power. The founding of the 21-member commission for the national education policy is one of the significant achievements. Other related committees were also formed. The formation of such bodies is to put the education sector under the leadership of intellectuals and intelligentsia. The National Education Commission submitted two letters to the Hluttaw. These letters proved that the commission’s achievements were satisfactory. They could be the country’s hopes.
Today the education sector is playing an important role both in the national reforms and future progress. Sincerely, today’s education has not reached the satisfactory level. But you cannot build Rome in one day. There are changes which need less time as well as much time.
Mostly, students are still pursuing education through old ways or out-of-date methods. For example my little daughter was memorizing the three things of the parlour mentioned by her teacher. Her teacher told the class that the three facilities she taught them in the lesson was the only the correct answer for the question in connection with the three things of a porlour. Such an improper method only hampers the thinking power and inquisitive power of the children.
Here I want to present the real situation of the education sector. We can find the correct answer only if we know the prevailing situation. Normally reading may provide a person with reasoning power, rational thinking and inquisitiveness. So I asked my daughter to visit a library during free times. My daughter’s answer was that they were prohibited by their teachers from visiting the school library. It is a wrong idea. It hurts the future hopes of the country.
The educational staff should be aware of the fact that they should not be the ones that steer the education sector to nowhere. The education sector is week in promoting the creativity, inquisitiveness, rationality, and reasoning power. Once the head of a private school with highest matriculation pass rate told me that the school aroused inventiveness, thinking power, curiosity, and intelligence of students. He blamed the current examination-based education system for the failures.
In my view the education system is still weak in promoting the thinking power and inquisitiveness of the children, ability of teachers, effective ness of the policy and the examination system.
Teachers are the most basic elements of the education system. Professionalization campaign should be launched effectively for teachers. This article does not aim at putting the blame solely on the educational staff. The way to make amendments and improvements can be found only if staff at all levels realizes the real situation.
All parents want to give their children the best education. They usually admit their children to private classes apart from formal education. So children are always occupied with their lessons and classes. They have no time for social activities, like sports, reading and playing. However good the plans and systems are, efficient management and ability on the part of staff at all levels are also an important factor. We fully hope that the educational law and the national education commission will be much helpful in implementing the future education system of the country in the best way. In addition, the legislative sector will also give effect support for the cause. We hope that we will have an international-level education system in the future.
Tin Maung Than