The Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (henceforth Myanmar) has recently stepped up efforts to strengthen the education sector, recognizing the vital role of an educated population and workforce as essential for sustained economic growth and poverty reduction. This is reflected in the government's critical decision in early 2012 to embark on a Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR) -- the first rigorous and comprehensive assessment of the education sector in 2 decades -- to provide a basis for more clearly identifying sector challenges, priorities, and strategic options. Led by the Ministry of Education (MOE), coordinating inputs by other agencies as well as development partner organizations (DPOs), the CESR will culminate in the adoption of a Costed Education Sector Plan (CESP) document, as a unified framework for prioritized and sequenced investments by the government and DPOs.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been involved from the earliest stages of CESR conceptualization, including participation in a series of forums and working meetings to develop a joint plan for the CESR, which was approved by Myanmar's President on 4 July 2012. The government has requested ADB to provide capacity development technical assistance (TA) to directly support the CESR, in close coordination with support for other DPOs. In particular, within the CESR, the government and DPOs have called on ADB to support analysis and planning for post-primary education (PPE) -- as most DPOs will focus on primary, pre-primary, and nonformal education -- along with facilitation of access to relevant regional experience. In addition to building the analytical and planning capacity of MOE and other relevant agencies through their involvement in CESR analyses, the TA will support applied capacity development activities to build these agencies' analytical and planning capacities.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Myanmar's education sector has made important progress in recent years, perhaps particularly in primary education (grades 1-5) where -- despite persistent gaps and challenges --the net enrolment ratio (NER) reaching roughly 90% in school year SY2009/2010. At the same time, progress has lagged in PPE subsectors, with NER estimates for SES ranging from only 53.0% to 58.3%, and much lower for TVET and HES. More generally, despite progress, the PPE subsectors appear to face particular challenges in key aspects of (i) equitable access; (ii) quality and relevance; and (iii) subsector management. Limited data available suggest that gaps in each of these dimensions and their impacts on PPE subsector performance are sizeable, as outlined in Appendix 2. Alongside continued improvements in primary and pre-primary education, has set strengthening of PPE as a high priority. As Myanmar embarks on dramatic socioeconomic transformations, PPE must play a critical role in promoting inclusive growth and poverty reduction, meeting rapidly evolving labor market needs, and rebalancing and equipping the economy to modernize and climb the technological ladder into higher value-added sectors and successfully enter into the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 and global markets.
At the same time, the dearth of data and information on the education sector (and particularly for PPE subsectors) poses a key challenge for MOE and other agencies, obstructing concrete diagnoses of key problems and identification of effective interventions. Capacities for data analysis and evidence-based sector planning -- incorporating international experience as well as improved national data -- also require strengthening. The CESR will thus be fundamentally important, by more precisely pinpointing sector (and PPE subsector) challenges and providing an evidence basis for identifying needed reforms, defining clear priorities and targets, and developing concrete and sequenced action plans. This process will come to fruition with the government's development of an evidence-based and overarching CESP, providing a roadmap for sector improvement and ensuring that increased financing translates into improved sector performance and contributions to Myanmar's socioeconomic transformations. An array of DPOs have committed to align efforts to support this critical CESR process
The TA directly supports the government-led, DPO-supported CESR. Complementing support from other DPOs (largely focused on primary, pre-primary, and nonformal education), the TA will focus principally on PPE, supporting foundational studies and linked capacity development under the CESR's Phase 1 (rapid assessment), and providing flexible, needs-tailored inputs during Phases 2 and 3, leading up to government approval of the CESP.