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Back to School 2013

Back to School 2013

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Published by The Myanmar Times

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Published by: The Myanmar Times on May 14, 2013
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UNTIL 2012, only about onepercent o the budget was allocatedto education.Last year the government raisedthe allocation or education to4.3 percent, and this gure hasincreased by a urther 1.54pc this year, bringing it to 5.84pc o thenational budget.“The education budget is stilllow compared to the number o students. The government shouldincrease it urther,” said Dr TheinLwin, an education expert rom theNLD Education Network.In cash terms, the percentageincrease means a leap rom aboutK643 billion to K908 billion — anincrease o more than K260 billion,out o a total national budget o about K7721 billion adopted in the2013 union budget law o March29. The government has estimatedthe income or the Ministry o Education at only K14 billion, which includes K2.7 billion rominternational aid. This means thatthe budget decit is K83 billion.“We’re going to increase theeducation budget every year toensure improvements are made ineducation,” said U Thein Nyunt,Pyithu Hluttaw representativeor Thingangyun township, anda member o Pyithu Hluttaw Education Promoting Committee.In March, the education ministeralso pledged to reallocate K31.27billion rom the budget or thebasic education sector to oceexpenditure o the ministry.“Any budget increase oreducation is good but it must bearruit. There are a lot o needs ineducation, such as teacher training,transportation and other supportor teachers in remote areas, as well as or teaching materials in theclassroom,” said Dr Thein Lwin.Despite a history o opacity, theeducation ministry is now sharing more inormation with the publicas well as engaging more with it –although contacting high-ranking ocials remains a drawn outprocess.Starting this inancial year,the ministry introduced reecompulsory primary education, which also includes disbursing ree textbooks. The governmentprovided textbooks and exercisebooks worth K2.87 billion tomore than 5.2 million primary students in the 2011-2012academic year. A total o 5.5million primary studentsreceived ree textbooks andexercise books in 2012-2013 too,according to the ministry.The ministry is also going toappoint at least 10,000 juniorassistant teachers (JAT) orprimary schools around thecountry, and will renovate 1000basic schools and oces at districtlevel. There are already 52 districteducation oces, 18 state andregional education oces and 300township-level oces.“District education ocers’oces are unnecessary. It’s enoughto have school administrationboards involving teachers andcommunity leaders. The money should be spent in other educationsectors,” said Dr Thein Lwin.Education minister Dr Mya Ayetold a seminar in April that theministry would renovate schoolsand build new inrastructure,appoint more teachers, and undteacher training.The ministry has added one year to the duration o highereducation degrees starting romthe 2013-2014 academic year.“We need more inrastructures orthis extension,” said Dr Mya Aye,adding that the ministry will needto spend more on reorm in orderor it to be eective.The government will also useK3 billion to support 6303 teachersacross 1579 monastic schools at theprimary, post-primary, middle andhigh school levels. The allocation was discussed at a meeting in Yangon on April 28 between theministry o religious aairs andsupervising 
in monasticschools. Monastic school teachers will receive a government salary orthe rst time this year. Administration, ineriorinrastructure, technology andeducation policy are key issuesthat international engagementcould help resolve. Lack o undsis one o the major hindrancesin accomplishing educationdevelopment goals, and theMinistry o Education is trying to engage with the internationalcommunity more than ever.UNICEF, Japan International Co-operation Agency and AUSAIDare working on educationalprojects in Myanmar.
The government is taking some positive steps in the education sector – notably budget inBut is this enough to lift Myanmar’s education standards out of the doldrums? 
Education budget
Myo Lwin, Jessica Mudditt
Shwe Yee Saw Myint, Jessica Mudditt, Cherry Thein, Noe NoeAung, Thiha Toe, Zon Pan Pwint, Aye Nyein Win
Cover photo:
Kaung Htet, Noe Noe Aung,Jessica Mudditt, Aung Htay Hlaing
Cover & Layout Design:
Tin Zaw Htway, Ko Pxyo, Khin ZawFor enquiries and feedback:myolwin@myanmartimes.com.mmjess.mudditt@gmail.com
A Myanmar TimesSpecial Report
Children at a school in eastern Shan State.
Pic: Aung Htay Hlaing
reases and introducing free and compulsory education.
oost: is it enough?
Education Highlights
Budget allocation or education5.84 percentEducation BudgetK908 billionBudget DefcitK83 billionBudget Allocation to Monastic SchoolsK3 billionNumber oschools to renovate and rebuild1000Number oteachers to appoint or primary education10,000Number obasic education school (Basic Education)40,876 (2011)Number oinstitutions (Higher Education)163 (2012)Number ostudents (Basic Education)8 million (2011)Number oschool teachers (Basic Education)0.3million (2011)Number ostudents (Higher Education)0.5million (2011)Number oteachers (Higher Education20,000 (2011)
A child rides a water buffalo to school in Shan State.
Pic: Aung Htay HlaingSource: Ministry of Education

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