Ministry of Education
Department of Higher Education
(Lower Myanmar)

Myanmar Higher Education Policy

3. Higher Education Development Plans

Since 1997, annual seminars on the higher education sub-sector have been held to initiate reforms. The seminars held between 1997 and 2000 produced the first wave of changes while the latter ones focused on implementation of education promotion plans. The seminars related to the promotion of higher education held between 1997 and 1999 are important milestones in the annals of the education sector. The seminars had a great impact on the crafting of higher education to satisfy the demand for better-qualified human resources to meet the new challenges stemming from the increasing demand for higher education, the emergence of new modalities of learning and the need to be responsive to the requirements for better-qualified human resources by a modernizing economy. A wide array of tertiary education promotion issues including relevancy and responsiveness of existing courses, redesigning of course structure, reform of the assessment system, introduction of faculty development programmes, harnessing of ICT in higher education, enhancement of cooperation with foreign institutions, creation of an alternative delivery modality for higher education and the introduction of new programmes to promote human resources development, was addressed. The seminars held in 2000, 2001 and 2002 focused on the formulation, implementation and review of programmes on education development plans and the realization of the education vision:: To create an education system that will generate a learning society capable of facing the challenges of the Knowledge Age in accordance with the national motto: Building a modern developed nation through education,, and acted as a major resource in transforming Myanmar into a peaceful, modern and developed nation due to globalization of the economy and also due to the higher rate of returns to investment in higher education.

3.1 Special Four-Year Plan for Education (2000-2001 FY to 2003-2004 FY)

With the aim of further developing the education sector, and in particular, to strive for the development of highly qualified human resources and to introduce regional human resource development programmes, the Ministry of Education formulated the Special Four-Year Plan for Education to be implemented from 2000-2001 FY to 2003-2004 AY. The Special Plan defined 21 programmes to be implemented by the higher education sub-sector.
The 21 programmes which produced a wide-ranging agenda for the development of higher education are:
1. to review and revise the curricula of universities, degree colleges and colleges to be on parity with international standard. (The contents of subjects to be reorganized and multi-disciplinary subjects to be introduced.)
2. to revise the assessment system in line with curriculum changes to conform to international practices
3. to enhance originality, creativity and analytical skills, ability to grasp and utilize modern technology and development of maturity through changes in curricula and teaching method
4. to reduce constraints to produce an education system that promotes and conserves human resource development
5. to develop an education system that advances lifelong learning and continuing education
6. to seek ways and means to transform distance education universities into open universities
7. to undertake research not only related to academic concerns but also be of relevance to the needs of private enterprises and organizations seeking modern technology and be directly beneficial to the nation
8. to establish collaboration and networking with Southeast Asian and international universities
9. to establish a self-sustained system in the management and financing of universities, degree colleges and colleges
10. to create educational programmes that fulfil community needs
11. to upgrade science laboratories so that research can be carried out using modern technology and equipment from undergraduate to doctoral levels
12. to establish an education Intranet system
13. to utilize information technology in multimedia resource centres in higher education institutions for teaching and research purposes
14. to utilize information technology in the learning centres of open universities to enhance learning
15. to establish language laboratories in higher education institutions
16. to upgrade the Universities’ Central Library and libraries at higher education institutions using information technology so that users will be able to utilize library facilities without having to come to the library
17. to establish the necessary structures for the establishment of an open education system
18. to fulfil the need of higher education institutions for improved facilities
19. to produce and distribute audio and video teaching and learning materials produced in departmental studio utilizing modern technology and equipment that will suit local conditions and needs
20. to produce and distribute audio and video learning materials on practicals and lessons based on the curriculum to be utilized in multimedia classrooms of basic education schools and
21. to produce video and audio materials related to individual courses to facilitate Universities of Distance Education students in their study.
The 21 programmes focused on five core areas:
* Promotion of the quality of education
* Introduction of ICT in education
* Advancement of research
* Development of a lifelong learning society, and
* Enhancement of international collaborations.
Major achievements by the higher education sub-sector due to the successful completion of the four-year plan are:
* establishment of ICT facilities, namely e-education learning centres, e-education resource centres, computer training centres, multimedia lecture rooms and language labs at all higher education institutions
* introduction of new curricula at higher education institutions from 2000-01 AY and production of textbooks and coursebooks for undergraduate programmes in line with curriculum revision
* initiation of new programmes including the doctorate programme
* introduction of new specializations and multidisciplinary courses at universities, degree colleges and colleges
* introduction of teaching methodology that promotes critical thinking, and analytical skills
* development of skills development courses at human resource development centres of higher education institutions to meet community needs
* upgrading of library, research and recreation facilities at all higher education institutions and
* increasing linkages with regional and international educational institutions and organizations.
The successful implementation of the Four-Year Plan for education has led to the renewal of core capabilities and facilities and the extensive applications of ICT in both the basic and higher education sub-sectors.

3.2 Thirty-Year Long-Term Education Development Plan (2001-2002 FY – 2030-2031 FY)

The Thirty-Year Long-Term Education Development Plan (2001-2002 FY – 2030-2031 FY), being implemented in six phases of five-year duration, each of which is now in its fifth year of implementation. It is the most ambitious of the plans launched by the Ministry of Education. The plan contains 36 programmes for the higher education sub-sector. The 36 programmes for the higher education component of the long-term plan focus on six areas that would generate qualitative development of higher education and contribute to national development endeavours and preservation of national identity and culture. The six core areas under focus are as follows:
* Development of human resource
* Utilization of technology
* Expansion of research
* Development of a lifelong learning society
* Promotion of the quality of education, and
* Preservation of national identity and national values.
The 36 programmes are as follows:
Human Resource Development Section (2 Programmes)
1. To extend programmes that cater to the demands of the communities by exploiting the disciplines and the excellent academic environment and the respective resources and facilities and
2. To develop highly qualified human resources and regional human resource development needed by the State.
Utilization of Technology Section (6 Programmes)
3. To be able to use information and communication technology, which is changing and developing with the times, not only as a teaching technology but also as a learning technology
4. To give priority to communication technology and electronic technology, to enhance skills at all levels of undergraduate and postgraduate studies, especially in continuous education programmes
5. To include Microtechnology from the undergraduate level and to give priority to carrying out research on fields related to it
6. To transform the libraries in higher education institutions into Electronic Information Resource Centres
7. To establish Electronic Resource Centres as Myanmar Electronic Information Network (MEIR_ Net)
8. To establish the Myanmar Higher Education Network (MHE_Net) that will link all the higher education institutions with the Internet
Research Section (3 Programmes)
9. To conduct research not only for the advancement of the discipline concerned, but also for businesses, organizations and enterprises that are in need of modern technology, and those that will benefit the nation directly
10. To establish higher education institutions specializing in research and to collaborate in research work with international research centres and organizations
11. To establish a research organization/centre that can carry out full time research on education activities in order to evaluate to what extent the actual outcomes match the visions, objectives and outcomes of education programmes, to discover and evaluate the weaknesses, if necessary to redefine the visions, objectives and outcomes laid down previously and to add, reduce or change programmes
Lifelong Learning Society Section (9 Programmes)
12. To establish higher education institutions that will unceasingly take responsibility for the education of their respective region and community
13. To conduct vocational courses in collaboration with basic education schools, factories and work establishments so that a pathway can be created to confer Associate Degree and other Degrees
14. For higher education institutions to implement programmes for re-education and continuing adult education
15. For higher education institutions to implement programmes related to learning to learn and continuing to learn opportunities by using contemporary technology and focusing on life-long learning
16. To create opportunities for higher education institutions to deal freely with external work establishments and for learners to be given the opportunity for open entry and re-entry to education
17. For higher education institutions to innovate and introduce teaching programmes that can fulfil community needs
18. To transform the whole work force into a learning force rapidly linking all work establishments with higher education institutions
19. To transform into open education system, to introduce credit bank system and to establish an organization to take charge of these undertakings
20. Aiming at the emergence of an immense learning society in the future, to create an open education system that will provide opportunities regardless of region and for higher education institutions, to create an education system that will be able to cope with diversity and the increase in the number of disciplines and varying educational needs.
Qualitative Transformation of Education Section (15 Programmes)
21. For the future higher education system to aim at qualitative transformation, to transform breadth of learning to breadth and depth of learning, and to promote the abilities to carry out generative synthesis, to be creative and undertake critical evaluation, and visualize new fields of education
22. To create a combination system which serves as a sound basis for cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches
23. To find ways and means to enable the curriculum, teaching methods and evaluation to give emphasis to the development of learner creativity, analytical skills, ability to utilize modern technology and to construct a system that will enhance maturity
24. For higher education institutions to bring about a sound academic atmosphere and knowledge environment and create the right conditions for the establishment of linkages with international education domain
25. To reduce the rigidity in the distinction between formal education and non-formal and informal education of higher education institutions until it disappears
26. To implement diversification and specialization programmes that will provide the right to pursue discipline and combination of one’s choice
27. To find effective ways to expand the distance education system and transform it into an open university, to expand new teaching programmes, to provide programmes leading to degrees, as well as introduce programmes that will promote skills and to provide the highest and most extensive learning opportunity by utilizing technology
28. To devise programmes that will promote competition on equal terms and cooperation with international distance education systems
29. To create part-time courses at higher education institutions
30. To create education programmes which will overcome the rigidity of traditional education system since it is no longer adequate for higher education institutions to merely provide a fixed body of knowledge
31. To expand the teaching of foreign languages and to provide undergraduates the opportunity to learn another foreign language, in addition to English, for communication and effective use in their respective field of study
32. To establish a Higher Education Curriculum Centre and to set up an Education Curriculum Council in order to evaluate whether basic education is in consonance with higher education or not
33. To form the Academic Evaluation and Assessment Council for the higher education sector
34. To carry out restructuring and reorientation of higher education management system
35. To carry out changes in the institutional structures of higher education institutions in accordance with the times and to fulfil the need for physical facilities of higher education institutions by setting a basic standard
Preservation of National Identity and National Values Section (1 Programme)
36. No matter how extensive globalization occurs, so that national identity, national values and national well-being do not diminish, curricula, new teaching programmes, researches and public educative programmes must be undertaken after careful consideration, with due regard given to this aspect.
The implementation of the long-term education development plan has led to marked accessibility to both basic and higher education sub-sectors. It has brought about noticeable development in the quality of education, the teachers and the learning facilities. It has also created diversity in the education sector producing new modes of learning and new fields of studies.