For 70 years, education has served as a litmus test for the openness of Myanmar governments, and this book now applies that test to the recent period of profound and ongoing transformation. Set within the context of Myanmar’s peace process and the wider reforms since 2012, Marie Lall’s analysis of education policy and practice serves as a case study on how the reform programme has played out.
Drawing on over 15 years of field research carried out across Myanmar, the book offers a cohesive inquiry into government and non-government education sectors, the reform process, and how the transition has played out across schools, universities and wider society. It casts scrutiny on changes in basic education, the alternative monastic education, higher education and teacher education, and engages with issues of ethnic education and the debate on Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) as part of the peace process. In so doing, it gives voice to those most affected by the changing landscape of Myanmar’s education and wider reform process: the students and parents of all ethnic backgrounds, teachers, teacher trainees and university staff that are rarely heard.
Marie Lall argues that, despite a commitment to greater equality expressed in the Ministry of Education’s priorities, Myanmar has missed a historic opportunity to make use of education reform to engage with deep-seated social injustices. Inequalities persist in the long-term outcomes for poorer sections of society and between the majority Bamars and ethnic nationality communities. This is the portrait of a country constrained by internal tensions and competing international priorities that serve to divert the professed course towards social justice.
Marie Lall is Professor of Education and South Asian Studies at the UCL Institute of Education.
1. The state of education, pre-reform
2. Education reform and effects on basic education
3. The alternative: monastic education
4. Higher education: towards international standards in a neoliberal world
5. Teacher education and training: is changing practice possible?
6. Ethnic education: language and local curriculum issues
7. Ethnic education: recognizing alternative systems run by ethnic armed organisations
Conclusion: whither social justice in Myanmar?
Open Access PDF
1 line drawing, 19 colour illustrations, and 5 B&W tables
November 01, 2020