Burmese Govt Launches Website for Education Reform

By Samantha Michaels 20 May 2014

RANGOON — The government has launched a website to inform the Burmese public and international community about efforts to overhaul the country’s public school system.

Official recommendations for education reforms can now be viewed online, on the website for the Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR), a body that falls under the Ministry of Education.

The website went live with a “soft launch” in late March, according to CESR spokeswoman Sue Coffey, who adds that more work must be done before a full launch.

The site includes technical papers that have been produced as part of a major review of the current school system by the government and development partners. Among papers available for download is a 425-page report with more than 100 recommendations for reforms that would affect early childhood education, primary and secondary schools, higher education, teacher training, vocational training and education legislation.

The government’s review of the school system began in 2012 and is expected to be completed this year. The first phase of the review, known as the “rapid assessment,” included a quick look at the current situation to identify priority areas for reforms. Reports for the second phase, which examined the initial recommendations in more detail, have been completed but have not yet been uploaded to the website, according to Coffey. The third and final phase of the review will see the development of an education sector plan through 2021.

Weekly progress reports have been submitted to the President’s Office, while CESR officials say they are meeting with teachers, ethnic education groups and others to gather feedback on recommended reforms.

However, the government’s education review has been criticized by some teachers, ethnic education groups and civil society groups, who say the Ministry of Education has failed to include their suggestions in its recommendations.