Myanmar's education reform process getting views from many stakeholders

national March 24, 2014 00:00

By The Nation, UNESCO

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UNESCO involved in key policy debates with officials on legislation and decentralisation

UNESCO has participated in a national-level Pragmatic Education Reform Forum in Nay Pyi Taw, in Myanmar.
The forum was opened by Vice-President U Sai Mauk Kham. 
More than 700 participants, including members of parliament, Ministry of Education personnel, university rectors, teachers and students, discussed the findings and policy directions from the Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR) and the Education Promotion Implementation Committee (EPIC) working groups.
UNESCO’s working papers on education legislation and education decentralisation were utilised to suggest, based on comparative perspective, core components of national education law for Myanmar to consider as it moves forward with its education legislative agenda.
Following over six months of consultation with many stakeholders involved in education sector reform in Myanmar, UNESCO developed two working papers on education legislation and education decentralisation.
The papers were commissioned as an input to phase two of the in-depth analysis of Myanmar’s ongoing education sector review, which will be released in coming months.
The purpose of these working papers is to provide a comparative snapshot of education legislation and decentralisation throughout Asean, highlighting common themes around access and quality education, principles of equity, and core human rights values based on international standards. 
Through these papers, UNESCO’s aim is to promote and contribute to ongoing dialogue on education legislation and decentralisation in Myanmar.
The papers, which have been shared with parliamentarian education committees, the Ministry of Education, government officials and civil society, suggest a number of fundamental educational law and decentralisation components that Myanmar’s education stakeholders should consider through an inclusive reform process.
To complement the papers, a series of consultation meetings were held in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw from August to November in 2013 to build an understanding of key policy concepts and to discuss preliminary findings from the research. 
UNESCO brought in experts from a number of well-known institutions, such as the Hong Kong Institute of Education, the National Institute for Education (Singapore) and the GEMS Education Solution, who facilitated the consultations and provided technical advice to the government on education legislation, decentralisation and quality assurance.
Capacity building workshops and training on the same themes have also been held – notably a five-day training course on the fundamentals of decentralisation that was facilitated by the UNESCO International Institute of Educational Planning in early February 2013 for central, state and region-level Ministry of Education personnel.
Through the CapEFA Myanmar programme, UNESCO is actively supporting the section review process in the area of policy, legislation and management.
It also provides capacity development support to the Ministry of Education and the EPIC Working Group on education law as they draft a new national education law for submission to the parliament in the coming months.

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