NAY PYI TAW, MYANMAR - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Australia are providing $570,000 in technical assistance to strengthen planning and reforms in post-primary education in Myanmar, including secondary education, technical and vocational education and training, and higher education, a vital component to ensuring the country is prepared for opportunities created by ongoing democratic and financial reforms.
ADB will administer the technical assistance, which includes $200,000 from ADB and $370,000 equivalent in co-financing from the Government of Australia.
"As Myanmar embarks on dramatic socioeconomic transformations, education must play a critical role in promoting inclusive growth and poverty reduction," said Christopher Spohr, a Senior Education Economist with the ADB's Southeast Asia Department. "This will help Myanmar meet rapidly evolving labor market needs, rebalance and equip the economy to modernize and move into higher value-added sectors, and successfully enter regional and global markets."
The assistance comes as part of harmonized development partner support to the Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR) launched by Government of Myanmar today. As the first rigorous and comprehensive assessment of the education sector in two decades, the CESR will be fundamentally important in pinpointing sector challenges and providing an evidential basis for reforms, defining clear priorities and targets, and developing concrete and sequenced action plans.
Already, challenges of management, equitable access, and quality and relevance of curricula have emerged as issues to be addressed. A dearth of data and information also poses a substantial obstacle to government efforts to strengthen the education sector.
ADB's technical assistance will support post-primary education subsector analysis, learning from relevant regional experiences, and strengthened analytical and planning capacities.
With its focus on post-primary education subsectors, the technical assistance will complement and closely align with support to the CESR provided by other development partners, which will largely center on primary, pre-primary, and non-formal education.
The Ministry of Education will lead the CESR and coordinate inputs by other agencies, as well as an array of development partners. The CESR will culminate in the formulation and adoption of a costed education sector plan in 2014, which will provide a unified framework for investments by the government and development partners.