Education Ministry to Introduce New Exam System

By Htet Naing Zaw 9 February 2017

NAYPYIDAW — Burma’s Ministry of Education will introduce a new examination system to monitor and assess year-round performance, marking a major policy shift for basic education schools.

Under the current system, final exam results are the only measurement used to determine if a student is ready to advance to a higher grade.

“Under the new system, we’ll determine if a student is qualified for the higher grade based on his overall performance throughout the academic year. We will not only look at his final exam results,” Dr. Khaing Mye, spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, told The Irrawaddy.

The new system will be applied to all grades in the basic education level, but not the matriculation level, he said.

The new system is aimed at improving students’ all-round performance. Students will be required to cooperate more with their parents and communities on schoolwork—scoring well at exams will no longer be enough.

Teachers will monitor and assess the performance of students throughout the academic year, said an officer from the education ministry.

“For example, there will be five exams in a year and we’ll calculate a grade point average and divide the students into grades A, B, C, and D. Students will be able to earn 60 points from exams, and the remaining 40 points will depend on their individual performance,” said the officer.

When grade point averages are calculated, a D grade will be treated as failing. Grades A, B, and C are a pass.

Dr. Khaing Mye said the new exam system was designed by the Ministry of Education and scholars.

The ministry briefed leaders from division, state, and district education departments on Jan. 26 and 27, according to U Myint Lwin, a director in the Basic Education Department.

“We have provided the guidelines, so schools can start applying the new system in the coming academic year,” he said. In basic education schools, the new academic year usually begins in June.
“We will apply the new system mainly to fifth grade and ninth grade students,” he said.

According to the Basic Education Department in Naypyidaw, there are about 9 million basic education students, 400,000 teachers, and 45,981 basic education schools.