Thursday, November 8, 2012

Comprehensive Education Sector Review in Myanmar Sets the Path for Improving Quality of Education

©UNICEF Myanmar/2009/Zaw Zaw Tun
Myanmar, 8 November 2012: The Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar together with development partners officially launched a Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR) in the Myanmar capital Nay Pyi Taw on 23 October 2012.  The launching ceremony was chaired by the Deputy Minister of Education H.E Dr. Myo Myint and co-chaired by UNICEF Representative Mr Ramesh Shrestha and Mr Chris Elstoft, Assistant Director General of AusAID’s Mekong, Philippine, Myanmar and Regional Branch. 
The long awaited Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR) is the result of years of advocacy and is initiated at the nick of time as Myanmar’s socio-political transition began under the new civilian governance structure. CESR was endorsed by Myanmar’s President Honorable U Thein Sein at the UN-supported Development Policy Options Conference for Health and Education Sectors in February 2012.  It is the first review being undertaken in the education sector since 1993, and represents a breakthrough towards greater aid effectiveness and an intensely collaborative effort under the new government with a broad range of development partners.
In his Keynote Speech, Deputy Minister for Education Dr Myo Myint hailed the launch as a “historic ceremony” which ushered closer cooperation between government and development partners.
The Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR) will undertake an in-depth equity-sensitive analysis of the current education situation. The findings of the review will shape new policy recommendations and a fully costed education sector plan by 2014.
All partners signed a Letter of Agreement to pledge support to the CESR underlined their joint commitment. The landmark event sent a strong signal of shared commitment at the highest levels to strengthen evidence-based policy and planning, improve equity, and strengthen the education system in Myanmar.
UNICEF along with the Multi-donor Education Fund (MDEF) partners is supporting in particular the research and analysis of the Basic Education Sector Review. The MDEF partners namely are: AusAID, European Union, DFID, Norway and Denmark.
The larger group of development partners participating in the process are Asian Development Bank (ADB), GIZ, JICA, UNESCO, The British Council and the World Bank and NGOs. The Ministry of Education is particularly keen to reach out to a broad range of new partners, especially local NGOs and civil society groups, to ensure an inclusive, consultative process.
Speaking on behalf of development partners, UNICEF commended the Government’s strong leadership in undertaking the Review, and noted that while Myanmar is undergoing political and economic transition, education too must transform itself in order to support and shape that change to ensure improved access to and quality of education for the children of Myanmar. “UNICEF deeply appreciate the strategic opportunity of working together with the Government of Myanmar and development partners to seek new, innovative solutions to the nation’s most pressing education challenges, and help construct an education system that matches the aspirations of the people, especially the most vulnerable, at this time of historic change in Myanmar”, said UNICEF Representative, Ramesh Shrestha.
The Hon. Bill Shorten, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations of Australia, who was also in attendance at the launch, underlined that the people of Myanmar represent the nation’s greatest asset, with education the key to unlocking their potential for transforming Myanmar into a thriving modern economy.
Over the coming months, UNICEF and partners will provide technical and financial support to help the Ministry complete the Rapid Assessment phase of the CESR, which will identify urgent priorities and reform issues to be addressed. The second phase, beginning in January 2013, will conduct more in-depth analysis to fill remaining knowledge gaps on bottlenecks in the education sector for the less privileged and the marginalized children. The review will inform development of a comprehensive education sector plan by 2014 in the final phase. 

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