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     Education, since the early days, has been highly regarded in Myanmar. Nicolo Manucci, a Venetian who travelled in Myanmar about 1700 A.D. described the country as "a kingdom governed by the pen, for not a single person can go from one village to another without a paper or education02 writing". Like Manucci, many travellers from the West were impressed with what was practically universal education for boys long before anything of the kind existed in the European world. Life revolved round the village and the values of "extended families" were strong. The village, then, was a self-contained agricultural unit of community life. the monastery served as the centre of culture and education where all children could learn the 3R's Education was largely religious and ethical rather than economic-life and education were very closely related in those days as it had been in mediaeval Europe. That education or rather formal schooling was a preparation for life was introduced into Myanmar with the coming of the British. Ironically, in this era of diminishing personal and family values and an increasing awareness of the environment and the world we live in, many educators in the West are returning slowly to the idea that education is life itself and not merely a preparation for life, and that life is education.
     In present day Myanmar, monastic education which had been the mainstay of education in the country still exists side by side with the formal school system. The formal school entrant age is 5 years. The school structure is part of the basic education sector.
"To create an education system that can generate a learning society capable of facing the challenges of the knowledge age."
    In order to lay the foundations of an education system which is, equitable with the traditional, the cultural and the social values and also in keeping with the economic and political aspirations of the nation, the Myanmar Naing-ngan Education Committee with Secretary-1 of the State Peace and Development Council as chairman has been established.
    The Ministry of Education is functionally the main sponsor of education and training, especially in the areas of basic education, teacher education and higher education. Under the Ministry of Education, there are ten departments, viz.
  • Department of Basic Education No.(1)
  • Department of Basic Education No.(2)
  • Department of Basic Education No.(3)
  • Department of Education Planning and Training
  • Department of Higher Education (Lower Myanmar)
  • Department of Higher Education (Upper Myanmar)
  • Myanmar Board of Examinations
  • Myanmar Education Research Bureau
  • Department of Myanmar Language Commission
  • Universities Historical Research Centre
     As regards decision-making process at the ministry level, a special coordination committee (referred to as Executive Committee) is formed with Director-General and Chairperson of ten departments as members in addition to the Minister and the two Deputy Ministers. Decisions made at these committee meetings are implemented by responsible personnel at departmental levels.
Basic Education
    The administration and management of basic education is undertaken by the three Departments of Basic Education. These are Basic Education Council, Basic Education Curriculum, Syllabus and Textbook Committee and Teacher Education Supervisory Committee. The departments are responsible for matters concerning primary education, secondary education (middle school and high school), the inspection and supervision of schools, educational planning and project management and student affairs.
2001 - 2002 [January]
Primary School
School Children
Middle School
School Children
High School
School Children
Number of Teachers
  1997-98 1998-99 1999-2000
Primary School 152999 154801 154016
Middle School 53615 53958 53210
High School 14697 14400 16231
  221311 223159 223457
Education Promotion Programmes for Basic Education
    During mid-May 1998, a nation-wide seminar on the promotion of Basic Education was held in Yangon. The major outcome of the seminar was the identification and formulation of ten programmes for promoting quality education at the Basic Education level. education02
    A second seminar-Education Promotion Programme Phase 11 was convened in May 1999 in Yangon and Mandalay to build on the encouraging results of Phase 1. A further nine programmes were identified for implementation beginning 1999-2000.
  The education reforms following the introduction of Education Promotion Programme Phases I and 11 imply a discernible shift from existing education programmes and practices which will enhance the quality of education as we prepare ourselves for the 21st Century.
Higher Education
   The major changes in higher education took place with the enactment of the University Education Law of 1964. This was later repealed and the University Education Law of 1973 was enacted. The existing unitary system of higher education in the form of the University of Rangoon (Yangon) and the University of Mandalay ceased to exist and numerous university-level institutes came into existence. In order to administer and coordinate the work of these institutions, the office of Universities Administration was formed in 1964. In 1972, it was renamed the Department of Higher Education. There are now two Departments of Higher Education--one for Lower Myanmar and one for Upper Myanmar. These departments are thus the executive branch of the Ministry of Education with the responsibility for administration and coordination of higher education institutions under the Ministry of Education. Academic and administrative policy matters relating to higher education are managed by the two councils chaired by the Minister for Education. These are:
  • the Universities' Central Council and
  • the Council of University Academic Bodies
    The Universities' Central Council is mainly responsible for the framing of broad policy and co-ordination of the work of universities and colleges while the responsibility of the Council of University Academic Board lies in the adoption of all academic regulations and co-ordination of all academic work.
    National Centre for Human Resource Development [NCHRD] was established in Department of Higher Education [Lower Myanmar] and Centre for Human Resource Development [CHRD] was established in universities and colleges in 1998.
Education for All
   Concerning with the Declaration of the World Conference on " Education for all" held in Jomtien, Thailand in March 5 to 8, 1990, the Education Department had aimed at giving basic education to all citizens of Myanmar in the year 2000 and to reduce by half the adult illiteracy rate. In the year 2000. Myanmar Naing-Ngan aims at giving basic education to all school-going age children and hopes that 80% of these children would complete primary level education. For non-formal education, the Education Department aims at reducing the adult illiteracy rate from 22 % to 11 %.
Tertiary Education Institutions
    There are also 60 Tertiary Education Institutions under other Ministries and the Public Services Selection and Training Board. For instance, the Ministry of Health is responsible for medical education and other health-related education. The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation is responsible for the Institute of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Livestock Breeding and Fisheries and the Ministry of Forestry are responsible for their respective institutions. The University of the Development of National Races is administered by the Public Services Selection and Training Board, the Degree Colleges of Nationalities Youth Resource Development are administrated by the Ministry of Progress of Border Areas and National Races and Development Affairs. Since 1994, new co-operative colleges and regional cooperative colleges have been opened by the Ministry of Co-operative.
    The Ministry of Defence established the Defence Services Academy in 1954. In 1992, the Defence Services Institute of Medicine and in 1993, the Defence Services Institute of Engineering were further established.
    Myanmar Aerospace Engineering and Maritime University are scheduled to open in August 2002 by the Ministry of Transport.
Universities and Higher Education Institution [January 2002]
Sr.No Ministry University Degreee College College Total
1. Education 28 9 23 60
2. Science and Technology 5 46 - 51
3. Health 14 - - 14
4. Defence 4 1 - 5
5. Cooperative - 1 3 4
6. Culture 2 - - 2
7. Progress of Border Areas and National Races and Development Affairs - 2 - 2
8. Agriculture and Irrigation 1 - - 1
9. Forestry 1 - - 1
10. Livestock, Breeding and Fisheries 1 - - 1
12. Civil Service Selection and 1 - - 1
13. Training Board Transport 1 - - 1
Total 59 59 26 144
    Prior to 1972 the system of high school examination in Myanmar and other government examinations were controlled by the commissioner of examinations who held concurrently the post of Director of Education. The Matriculation examination was held by the Matriculation Examination Board of Yangon University. In 1972 after the reorganization of the whole administrative machinery of the country, the Board of Examination was duly formed and headed by a full-time chairman.
education09     Myanmar Education Research Bureau (MERB) first came into existence under the name of Burma Education Research Bureau (BERB) in 1966. It gained its legal status in 1973 by the enactment of the Burma Education Research Law. 1t is headed by a full-time chairman and is mandate is to promote and support research activities in education. It has the administrative capability and flexibility and resources necessary for research execution and collaboration with other bodies within and departments outside the Ministry.
   After a series of organizational and functional changes, the present commission consisting of members appointed by the Cabinet and a department under the Ministry of Education providing its management and operational requirements assumed its s
present form in 1983.
Aims and Objievtives
    The Myanmar Language Commission Act of 1975 prescribes the aim of developing and preserving the Myanmar Language. This is to be achieved through the compilation of comprehensive dictionaries, based on traditional standards in terms of spelling, pronunciation, lexis, grammar, syntax and meaning.
   In 1955, the Myanmar Historical Commission was first formed under the aegis of the office of the Prime Minister. In 1962, the Myanmar Historical Commission was transferred to the Ministry of Culture. In 1972, the Commission was transformed into the Department of Historical Research. In 1948, the Department was again transferred to the Ministry of Education and was headed by the Deputy Minister for Education (in addition to his duties). In 1986, the Department was merged with the Department of History, University of Yangon. Then in 1991, it was renamed as the Universities Historical Research Centre and became one of the affiliated departments of the Department of Higher Education (Lower Myanmar). This Centre has been upgraded to become a full-fledged Department with its own Director-General on 26 August 1999.
Student Sports Festivals
   To support the national objective, "Uplift of health, fitness and education standards of the entire nation", Which is one of the four social objectives laid down by the State, the student festival is held yearly starting from 1990, in states and divisions as follows:
Year State/Division Town held No. of
Sport items
No. of
1 1990

Ayeyarwady Division

Pathein 3 items 764
2 1991 Yangon Division Yangon 7 items 1430
3 1992 Shan State Taunggyi 8 items 1430
4 1993 Rakhine State Sittwe 10 items 1812
5 1994 Kachin State Myitkyina 11 items 2424
6 1995 Kayah State Loikaw 14 items 2565
7 1996 Thaninthyi Dawei 16 items 2787
8 1998 Chin State Hakhar 16 items 2353
Joint Projects with UNICEF
  Starting from 1991 and 1994, Continuous Assessment and Progression System (CAPS) and All Children in Schools (ACIS) projects have been implemented respectively with the collaboration of UNICEF. CAPS project has been implemented in 277 townships in 11967 primary schools in the year 1998-99, providing access to schoolgoing age children, ACIS Project has been implemented in 70 townships which consist of 9265 primary schools.
Education Projects in Collaboration With UNDP/UNESCO
   With UNDP's project under the "The Human Development Initiative (HDI)" the Improved Access to Primary Education in Rural Aeras Project was implemented in the years 1994-96 in 9 townships. In 1997, it continues to implement "The Human Development Initiative Extension (HDI-E)" and expand another 4 project townships, making it a total of 11 townships. In these townships "Improving Access of Children, Women and Men of Poorest Communities to Primary Education for all Projects" are being implemented.
    The above mentioned educational projects in collaboration with the UN agencies are complimentary to achieve the national EFA goals.
Computer Training for Students
   To develop the awareness of computer technology, computers have been installed and taught in basic education high and middle schools. The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science and Technology have joined hand-in-hand to upgrade the computer skills of the students, and as a result, computer training course No. (1/98) was introduced in 1998.
E-education and Data Broadcastang System
education04     In Myanmar, e-Education was launched on January 1, 2001. The Ministry of Education has established the electronic Data Broadcasting System and natonwide network of 304 e-education Learning Centres all over the country, in all states and divisions. e-Education is a term which is being increasingly used to cover the great opportunities offered by recent advances in information and communication technology to prepare and deliver educational materials and services anywhere, anytime. This slogan, "education anytime, anywhere" is not new. It has been used with distance and open education provided via earlier technologies including the postal service, radio and television, etc. What is perhaps new now is the incredible range and potentially global reach of e-Education via the Internet.
    e-Education offers training and learning solutions that did not exit a few years ago. It is learning made faster, better and more efficient. And it combines all the benefits of traditional instructor-led training and the riches of computer-based training into complete learning and training solutions. Lectures, academic subjects and technological subjects can be easily learnt through servers kept at these learning centres, television and satellite. It is learnt that if one misses a lecture while it is on air, one can learn it later, and that arrangements are underway to open one hundred learning centres in every township by the following year. This network of learning centres will provide every citizens with opportunites for continuous lifelong education.
University of Distance Education
     The University of Distance Education was founded on 9 December 1992. Apart from Yangon University of Distance Education, 18 distance education departments were opened throughout the country, and currently there are 26 Regional Centres. education05
    There were 88225 students in the year when the University of Distance Education was first founded and now the number has increased to 19894 students in the 1996-97 academic year. The total number of students for the remaining universities is 149076.
Regional Centres of Universities of Distance Education
University of Distance Education [Yangon]
University of Distance Education [Mandalay]
Dagon Regional Centre
East Yangon Regional Centre
Myitkyina Regional Centre
Kalay Regional Centre
Shwebo Regional Centre
Monywa Regional Centre
Pakokku Regional Centre
Yenanchaung Regional Centre
Sittwe Regional Centre
Magway Regional Centre
Pyay Regional Centre
Hinthada Regional Centre
Pathein Regional Centre
Lashio Regional Centre
Kyaingtong Regional Centre
Meikhtila Regional Centre
Taunggyi Regional Centre
Loikaw Regional Centre
Taungoo Regional Centre
Bago Regional Centre
Hpa-An Regional Centre
Mawlamyine Regional Centre
Dawei Regional Centre
Myeik Regional Centre
Universities of Foregin Languages
   The Universities of Foreign Languages began as the School of Foreign Languages on 16 January 1964. It was renamed as the Institute of Foreign Languges. It was upgraded to the University of Foreign Languages in September 1996.
   Up to 1989, there were 7 language departments at the University of Foreign Language including the Myanmar Language and both full-time and part-time courses were offered.
   The University of Foreign Languages will conduct B.A and M.A degree courses. Short-term intensive language proficiency courses for staff of various Ministries were also opened. Basic level language proficiency course for State scholars selected by the Ministries were also given. The University of Foreign Languages also undertakes translation work and interpretation work for government departments. English language proficiency tests are administered at international standard, especially for scholars who are going abroad for further studies.
    Beginning from the 1995-96 academic year, the new-system one-year diploma course for English Language Proficiency was opened. The course is for those who need English for occupational purposes.
The Mandalay University of Foreign Languages was opened in Mandalay in December 1997.
Ph D Courses
   The PhD Courses were initiated in the 1994 academic year and the degree has already been conferred on two candidates.
Doctorate Courses
  Universities Courses
1 Yangon 16
2 Mandalay 11
3 Economic 9
4 Medicine  14
5 Technology 16
6 Education -
In 2001, there are 40 Doctorate people from universities of Myanmar.
The 75th Diamond Jubiliee of Yangon University
   The Yangon University held its 75th Diamond Jubilee Anniversary Celebration with five objectives and 14 committees were formed and celebrated on 1-7 December 1995 on a grand scale. education06
    On I December 1995, the Chairman of the Committee to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee, the Myanmar Naing-Ngan Education Committee Chairman unveiled the plaque of the Diamond Jubilee Hall.
The School Family Day
Regarding the quality improvement in education, new innovations are now implemented at both Basic Education and Higher Education such as the application of modern electronic equipment in learning - teaching situations, the establishment of' the Human Resources Development Centre, Curriculum Reforms and School Family Day celebration that can inform the community what the school is doing. School Family Day is celebrated on 3 January every year.
Literacy Movement in Myanmar
   Literacy campaign in Myanmar was first initiated as a pilot project in 1965. Literacy classes opened during the years from 1966 to 1968 were utilized in determining the strategies and modes of organization, the creation of motivational environment, the search for the methodologies of the teaching learning process, the preparation of text books and learning materials and aids and the methods of assessing the product of literacy classes.
   The strategy adopted by the Myanmar Central Literacy Committee in 1969 and the following years up to 1988 was a mass movement with community participation utilizing local resources on voluntary basis in selected area of region on township throughout the year until. education07
   The whole campaign area becomes literate.
   The achievements and the success of these literacy campaigns in Myanmar were internationally recognized by awarding Myanmar two UNESCO prizes: the Mohammed Reza Pahlavi Literacy Prize in 1971 and the Noma Prize in 1983 by 1988, 247 townships had been declared totally literacy areas. A total of nearly 880000 volunteer teachers actively participated and over 2.1 million adult illiterates have become literates.
   Since 1996 Township Nonformal Education Committee [ NFE) have been launching literacy programmes under the guidance and supervision of their respective State/ Divisional NFE committees.
 Achievements of Literacy Programmes [Townships] [1996-2000]
Year No. of
No. of
Volunteers Newly
1996-97 30 75635 6786 13003 46226
1997-98 59 115054 7195 18443 35190
1998-99 49 68191 6379 14128 32475
1999-2000 17 34502 3268 3370 21052
2000-2001 96 156826 13984 31639 142652
Total 251 450226 37576 80583 277635
Literacy Rate
% of literate population (2000-2001) 91,4%
% of literate females 91.0%
% of literate males 91.7%
Myanmar Acedemy of Arts and Science
    To enable academicians and technocrats to play a greater role in the creation of a modern Myanmar, the Myanmar Academy of Arts and Science with an Executive Committee of 24 members and a membership of 717 members was established on 16 August 1999 with the following five objectives:
  1. to help in the building of a peaceful, modern and developed nation by means of the expertise and the knowledge of the members of the Academy;
  2. to undertake research which will be beneficial to the nation as well as provide guidelines for research activities;
  3. to create new generations of academicians and technocrats who will benefit the nation;
  4. to establish a firm foundation for the pursuit of the arts and science which are deemed essential for the development of the nation; and
  5. to undertake programmes and measures for improving the educational aspirations, training and expertise of all those citizens who are actively involved in the development of their own nation.
The architectural design competition winners from from YTUT
   The government honoural two students from Yangon. Technological University, who won the prize at the International University Students level architectural design competition jointly organized by Oxford Brookes University and the University of Florence, at the Diamond Jubliee Hall on 5 October 2000. education08
   The theme of the competition is "Sustainable Buildings for the 2000 and Prizewinner were Ma Khin Htet Htet Zaw and Ma Chaw Kalya,the fitth-year student of architecture.
New Century Resource Centers and Center for Anciunt MN Myanmar Manu- and Mandalay in 2001
    New Century Resource Centre was opened with the aims - to develop highlyqualified human resources required in building a peaceful, pleasant, modern and developed nation, to launch region-wise human resources development programmes, to make Myanmar society a constant learning one, to rent books, CDs, video tapes and cassettes to enable the people from primary education level to research level to study, through audio and visual equipment, education and knowledge whose scope are getting wider, to study modern equipment relating to computer science and information technology, to obtain other information technology and consultancy services, to hold seminars and exhibitions for the public from time to time and to conduct courses.
   The objectives of CAMM are to preserve Myanmar traditions and culture, to disseminate knowledge about the flourishing of Myanmar literature of high standard, to enable researches and the public to study ancient plam-leaf manuscripts, treatises and stone inscriptions, to keep and preserve ancient palm-leaf manuscripts, treatises and stone inscriptions together at one place and to run courses occasionally.
   In the NCRC and CAMM there are Computer Training Centre, e-Education Training Centre, e-Education Resource Centre and Language Lab.
   NCRC and CAMM will be open phase by phase plans are to be made to set up such centres in major towns of states and division.
Exhibition of I-h Students's View on Myanmar
    The Exhibition of 1T Students' View on Myanmar was held at Tatmadaw Hall in Yangon from 7 to 10 September 2001.
   In the Exhibition, skills on designs demonstrated by the students with the use of computers at the School Profile Project Booth. There are others booths such as Science Demonstration Booth for use of computer softwares, Video Conferencing Booth for interactive methods on learning, Have Fun With Computer Booth for the visitors and Power Point Booth for demonstration of developments of States and Divisions.
   The students demonstrated interactive On-line Learning via V-SAT Network booth and their painting on national development at the computer painting booth.
    The Geographical Information System of Zoology Department, Geography Department, History Department, University of Distance Education [Yangon] Institute of Economics and University of Foreign Languages [Yangon] participated in research on data based design, environment, maps. Ancient Myanmar Literature Department of Universities Central Library of Yangon University participated in preservation of palm-leaf, parabeik and inscriptions with the use of computer Web-Page of universities and educational matters of higher education sector shown on Website at the multimedia application in Higher Education Booth.
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