The policy and advisory technical assistance (PATA) directly supports Myanmar's Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR), which is led by the Ministry of Education (MOE) coordinating involvement by relevant government agencies and support by multiple development partner organizations (DPOs). As the first rigorous and comprehensive assessment of the education sector in 2 decades, the CESR will be fundamentally important in helping the government more precisely pinpoint sector challenges and providing a strengthened evidence base for needed reforms and investments. In particular, the CESR process will culminate in the formulation (by around end of 2014) of a costed National Education Sector Plan (NESP) as unified framework for prioritized and sequenced investments by both the government and DPOs. The CESR process consists of 3 phases, focusing on: (i) rapid assessment (Phase 1), (ii) in-depth analysis (Phase 2), and (iii) NESP formulation (Phase 3). The NESP will include (i) a 1-year plan covering FY2015, and (ii) interim planning for education sector investments during FY2016- FY2020 and input into formulation of the national multisector Sixth Five-Year Plan.
More specifically, the PATA directly supports MOE and other agencies in undertaking analysis, policy dialogue, and planning related to the post-primary education (PPE) subsectors consisting of the secondary education subsector (SES), technical and vocational education and training (TVET), and higher education subsector (HES) under the umbrella of the government-led, DPO-supported CESR. In particular, the PATA will provide flexible, needs-tailored support for in-depth analysis and policy dialogue and advice during CESR Phase 2, and formulation of viable PPE elements within the broader CESP to be approved at the end of Phase 3.
Inputs under the PATA TA involve close cooperation with a small number of other DPOs supporting PPE-related elements of the CESR (e.g., GIZ and UNESCO), while support for secondary education curriculum reform is closely dovetailed with JICA support for primary education curriculum reform. More generally, the PATA is closely harmonized with and complement other DPOs' support (largely focused on primary, pre-primary, and nonformal education), and also complements and builds on foundational analysis, capacity development, and other front-end support under ongoing ADB capacity development technical assistance CDTA 8187-MYA (in partnership with Australia).
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
The Government of Myanmar has recently stepped up efforts to strengthen the education sector, recognizing the vital role of an educated population and workforce as a prerequisite for sustained economic growth and poverty reduction. In addition to increased budgeting, this is reflected in the government's critical decision in early 2012 to undertake the CESR, which will culminate in the noted CESP to guide sector investments by the government and DPOs. In recent years, education sector development in Myanmar has been obstructed by a dearth of data (particularly affecting PPE subsectors), and the lack of concrete quantitative targets, hence the CESR will be vitally important in developing evidence-based, prioritized and sequenced sector planning as well as longer-term strategies and reforms.
The 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) reached roughly 90% in school year SY2009/2010. At the same time, progress has lagged in PPE levels, and SES, TVET, and HES face particular challenges in key aspects of equitable access, education quality and relevance, and subsector management. As Myanmar undergoes dramatic and accelerating socioeconomic transformations, these subsectors must play a particularly 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 global markets as well as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. Development of evidence-based policies, planning, and investments to address such gaps thus represents an urgent priority.