Burma

Cash-Strapped Myanmar Govt Desperate for Education Improvement: State Counselor

By Moe Moe 13 August 2019

Naypyitaw—At an International Youth Day gathering in Naypyitaw on Monday, Myanmar State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi lamented a shortage of government funds while stressing an absolute desperation to improve the country’s educational system.

“I don’t want to say our country is poor, but we are not a developed country,” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi told the gathering. “We are still struggling to develop … so we can’t spend as we wish on education.”

She called for cooperation among all stakeholders in overcoming these challenges. While the government is responsible for providing education of the best quality, she said, young people are responsible for finishing school.

“One of the main objectives of the education system is [to teach students] to have vision. Education is about enabling people to predict what challenges they will face in their life, so that they can decide how to overcome those challenges,” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said.

Chairman of the Lower House’s Educational Standards Promotion Committee Dr. Tin Aye told The Irrawaddy that the State Counselor has suggested that the education budget proposed by the Ministry of Education not be slashed but that, if it must be, it should be done through thorough consideration and only when necessary.

“The education budget has grown to about 8 percent of the total budget. It will account for around 10 percent next year. I want more spent on education, but I understand that, aside from education, there are other sectors on which money needs to be spent,” Saya Bio, a private tutor, told The Irrawaddy.

In previous fiscal years the defense budget accounted for more than the combined total of the education and health budgets; in the 2019-20 fiscal year, the health budget accounts for just 3.66 percent and the education budget for 8.39 percent of the total government budget, while defense spending accounts for 10.47 percent.

The State Counselor stressed the need to implement an education system that provides universal access to all youth regardless of location or social status.

She also called for greater research and development efforts, urging teachers and students to improve their language skills and use the internet more effectively at universities to aid the learning process.

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