Myanmar’s educational system is based on the United Kingdom’s own system, due to close to a century of British colonial presence in that country.
It is operated by the government’s Ministry of Education. The Universities and professional institutes from upper Myanmar and lower Myanmar are run by two separate entities, the Departments of Higher Education (Upper Myanmar and Lower Myanmar), whose office headquarters are based in Yangon and Mandalay respectively.
Today, Myanmar lags behind in educational standards. Once a significant educational force in the region, Myanmar today has well-trained qualified teachers, but few resources, and dated content material and standards.
As the rest of the world increasingly moves towards a knowledge-based economy, Myanmar’s growth is being essentially driven essentially by the industrial and service sectors. It therefore needs to catch up, and do so quickly. Whether in terms of student-intake capacity, or skilled teacher mobilisation, or providing modern facilities, curricula and content to students, new models that involve private sector participation should be examined. Another move could be for the government to encourage student exchange programmes with Indian educational institutions and with those of other partnering institutions.
The development of the North Eastern part of India is integral to India’s policy on Myanmar. The North East could be used to enable a knowledge corridor and a transit route to South East Asia, especially with Myanmar. The context for the next phase of an Indo-Myanmar relationship needs to be understood in the backdrop of India’s ongoing dialogue with Myanmar, over the past 15 years, which has promoted the concept of an inclusive process of national reconciliation, and transition to democracy.
India is also attaches significant importance to the role it can play in the area of technology and skill development. While the development of physical infrastructure is very important for Myanmar, it is equally important that there is equal emphasis on investments in the technological as well as the social infrastructure in that country. This is a space where India’s own experiments, successes and lessons learnt from failures could prove to be invaluable to Myanmar. In recent years robust bilateral cooperation has taken place, suitably supported by a number of high-level visits on both sides. Our relations with Myanmar today encompass a number of important areas like security, trade and investment, energy, capacity-building, health and education, science and technology, as well as infrastructure development.
As these engagements intensify in the future, and we enable more physical connectivity between our two countries through road, rail air and other trade links, we expect to see further momentum in building mutual ties.
– S. Ramadorai