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MONTHLY Education PULLOUT - JANUARY 2017

“Education is the ability to
overcome life’s challenges
and obstacles.”
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,
State Counsellor,
Technical and Vocational
Education Training Forum,
Nay Pyi Taw, July 15, 2016.

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There are 6.1 doctors per 10,000 people in Myanmar, compared to 11.9 in Vietnam, 19.5 in Singapore and 23 in Japan. (Source: World Health Organization)
Universities and training schools under the Department of Medical Science include: 5 medical universities, 2 dental medicine, 1 public health,
1 community health, 2 nursing, 2 medical technology, 2 pharmacy, 1 traditional medicine. There are also a number of midwife and nursing training
schools around the country. (Source: Ministry of Health and Sports, November 2014)

Starting this month, EduCentre takes a look at what’s out there for school leavers seeking higher education. What are the
top careers? What are the options on these disciplines – meaning, which university/college, which country? What are the
qualifications required? Costs in fees, accommodation, etc. And much more. We kick off the series in this issue with medicine –
still a much sought after career.

Medicine, both good and bad

It’s a reputable job and well paid indeed, if you are in the right place. But are you
ready for the gruelling hours in medic school and afterwards, and ready to cope
with the stressful working hours?
Phyo Wai Kyaw

A

sk anyone in Myanmar
what is the most lucrative
career one could have and
the spontaneous answer usually
is the medical profession, because
the perception is one can expect a
handsome income and, quite likely,
job security for life.
Along with other highly paid
professions like engineering,
accountancy, investment banking
or law, a medical career is often one
of the top choices across the world.
And, it is no exception in Myanmar.
Be it a general physician, surgeon
or a dentist, in many countries
doctors are often well paid. So too
those employed in other areas
of healthcare. No wonder then
that many parents dream of their
children pursuing a career in the
medical profession.
In reality, it can be difficult to
even qualify for it. The present
academic system here stipulates
that a student must obtain between
80 and 90 marks out of a hundred
in each of the six subjects in their
matriculation examination to have
a chance of entering a medical
university. And it’s even tougher
for girls who need to obtain higher
scores than boys, according to the
system.
Getting a seat in a medical
institute is only the first hurdle.
Passing the stringent exams with
high scores is another challenge
and they must be prepared to be
posted to any part of the country to
serve internships as required by the
government.
Currently, under the Ministry
of Health, there are 5 medical
universities, dental medicine (2),

Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Myo Lwin

Dentists have to impart knowledge about dental care to both urbanites and villagers.  Photos: Hlaing Kyaw Soe

public health (1), community health
(1), nursing (2), medical technology
(2), pharmacy (2), traditional
medicine (1). There are also a
number of midwife and nursing
training schools around the country.
Job opportunities and attractive
salaries, though not always in
Myanmar, await graduates once
they complete their studies. Some
may pursue post-graduate courses
at home or abroad, while working
part time to support themselves in
the chosen country.
“Some experts from the
medical field went abroad after
resigning their local jobs due to

Editor: Clovis Santiago

Photography: Aung Myin Ye Zaw, Nyan
Zay Htet, Naing Lin Soe, Zarni Phyo,
Nyein Su Wai Kyaw Soe, Shutterstock, AFP

Sub editor: P Vijian

Cover photo: Shutterstock

Staff writers: Phyo Wai Kyaw, Malarvili

Cover design: Tin Zaw Htway

Meganathan, Khin Su Wai, Than Naing
Soe, Si Thu Lwin, Lae Phyu Pya Myo Myint,
Ei Shwe Phyu, Kyi Tha Maung

Layout design: Khin Zaw

For feedback and enquiries, please contact

c.santiago@mmtimes.com

job opportunities and good income
overseas. But one difficulty they face
there is sitting for theoretical and
practical exams in their respective
areas [of expertise],” said Wai Thet
who graduated from a Myanmar
medical technology university and is
currently working in Singapore.
Often, local doctors apply for
overseas jobs through employment
agencies or using personal contacts
and usually start as an assistant.
To qualify for a specialist position,
they have to sit for a government
certified exam in the country of
choice. These exams can only be
taken twice at most, so applicants
need to be well prepared, Wai Thet
said, recounting her own experience.
“We have to take English language
tests, but if you really persevere
you can surely pass. Once you are
through with the exams, you would
be granted recognition,” she added.
At present, it doesn’t matter from
which local medical institution a
student graduates – be it a medical,
medical technology or nursing
institution – there is competition for
the jobs available.
Locally, most post-graduates or
practitioners with years of services

can secure good positions with
an attractive salary, while fresh
graduates may find it hard to find
an ideal job easily. This is obvious
when the government announces,
for example, ten vacant positions to
be filled up, hundreds would apply.
One way to increase one’s value is
to specialise, which means to attend
a post-graduate course. If one is
going abroad to do that, a good
command of the English language
would be necessary.
Otherwise, experience matters.
Experienced local surgeons, general
practitioners, liver and cancer
specialists, for example, are in the
high income bracket but it depends
on how much time they spend
practising their profession and
whether they are in the private or
public sector. Doctors in private
hospitals are known to earn much
better than their counterparts in
government hospitals. This is the
same for those who are involved
in other healthcare areas such as
nursing.
This is also true in other
countries where those in medical
or healthcare careers earn at the
very least a good income. It must

be noted, however, there is a huge
difference in income between those
doing the same kind of jobs at home
and abroad. Medical or healthcare
related jobs not only include
physicians, they also comprise
nurses, generic/prescription drugs
sale representatives, X-ray or
laboratory technicians.
Interestingly, according to
toptenreviews.com, a website
monitoring careers, nursing tops
the medical/health field jobs’ list in
2016.
When collecting data for this
ranking, besides salaries, the
website took into account job
openings, work time, work area and
conveniences.
Doctors aside, the top 10 jobs
in medical/healthcare: registered
nurses, radiation therapists,
dental hygienists, dietitians and
nutritionists, cardiovascular
technologists, medical laboratory
technologists, health information
technicians, respiratory therapists,
massage therapists, and emergency
medical technicians.
Most of the job vacancies on that
website are open to anyone having
recognised certification in one of the
related subject areas. The new hires
would not be asked to attend longterm refresher courses.
Nurses can draw between
US$66,640-98,800 per annum,
radiation therapists $80,090-118,180,
and dental hygienists $71,52097,390, according to available
information. Emergency medical
technicians, the last on the list, get
over $20,000 to over US$54,000.
According to the US Bureau of
Labor Statistics, there will be about
five million openings in the medical
and health fields this coming
decade. Of those, about 400,000
would be for registered nurses.
Recruits for these jobs need only
attend short worksite refresher
courses, unlike surgical jobs which
would require attending school for a
long duration.
The website also revealed that
these jobs give a good balance to
work and personal lives. The list
considered these factors to rank
respective jobs and stated that
dental hygienists and radiation
therapists have more opportunities
than other occupations in creating

JANUARY 2017

EduCentre

A public institution would be a perfect place for healthcare jobs.

their own personal time.
If a person is looking for a
job in the healthcare field, they
need to assess the demand for
such expertise and job prospects.
Healthcare jobs could be most
suitable at private hospitals, but
public institutions and some nongovernmental agencies would also
be perfect places for employment.
Dieticians, nutritionists and
massage therapists can launch their
own businesses, if they wish.
“What we are studying is also
vocational for us. One advantage
is that we can either work for

the government or open our own
clinic. At present, we can continue
our studies in our dental field to
get a PhD. Regarding dental care,
there is not much knowledge
among urbanites and villagers,
and we have to explain a lot so
they will understand about dental
care. Neighbouring countries like
Thailand and Japan can apply our
dental subject very well,” according
to Htoo Aung San, a fourth year
student at the University of Dental
Medicine in Mandalay.
His statement clearly points out
the importance of channelling one’s

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A better-trained healthcare professional has a better chance to succeed in the medical career.

skills to where they are needed
most. Whatever career one pursues,
one has to consider key factors like
costs of studies, career prospects,
eventual salary, work hours and
leisure time.
For furthering job search and
selecting courses, the internet
should be used effectively and the
contact base has to be expanded.
Anyone could easily obtain
relevant information regarding
job opportunities, top universities,
courses available and scholarships,
if any.
Globally, the best medical schools

are in the US and the United
Kingdom. Harvard and Johns
Hopkins universities from the US and
Oxford and Cambridge universities
from the UK are world famous.
According to information
available on usnews.com, for 2017,
the best medical schools for
research in the US are Harvard
University, Stanford University,
Johns Hopkins University, University
of California – San Francisco
and University of Pennsylvania
(Perelman).
The best for primary care are
University of Washington, University

of North Carolina – Chapel Hill,
and University of California – San
Francisco.
In Asia, universities in Japan,
Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea
and Singapore are also popular for
their medical courses.
The healthcare sector is
evolving rapidly, with sophisticated
technologies flooding the market.
So, essentially, the better trained and
the more up to date medical and
healthcare professionals are, the
better their chances of succeeding at
a challenging and exciting career.
– Translation by Khant Lin Oo and Emoon

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13 ministries, including the Ministry of Education, are conducting technical and vocational education training (TVET) courses at 247 training schools
and more than 210 courses on 16 types of TVET are being launched by the private sector. (Source: tvetmyanmar.org)
For out-of-school children and youth, Education for Youth (E4Y) offers prevocational education and vocational training courses in five professional fields:
commercial assistant, cabinet maker, metal worker, electrician, and hotel and gastronomy assistant. (Source: tvetmyanmar.org)

In demand, skilled Myanmar workers
Getting a job will not be an issue if more undergo vocational training to
acquire the skills that both local and international companies need

A small scale culinary training in progress.  Photo: Aung Myin Ye Zaw

The education system needs a major overhaul in vocational training to produce skilled workers.  Photo: Supplied

Malarvili Meganathan

A

fter decades of political isolation and economic stagnation, Myanmar is pushing to
develop its human capital. According to the World Bank, the country’s
Gross Domestic Product is projected
to rise by 7.8 percent driven by
political and economic reforms.
Yet, despite emerging as the world’s
fastest growing economy, Myanmar
faces major stumbling blocks in
building a skilled workforce.
For one, the significant shortage
of skilled workers is a reflection
of Myanmar’s high dropout rates.
More than one in five children in
Myanmar aren’t educated beyond
the primary level and less than 70
percent complete primary education
at the correct age. The United
Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
estimates more than one million
children don’t attend school.
While there are now policies to
strengthen the education system
through the introduction of the
National Education Sector Plan
– Myanmar’s new educational
blueprint aimed at prioritising
critical thinking – more needs to
be done to bridge the skills gap. A
recent report by the Organisation
for Economic Co-operation
and Development revealed the
education system needs a major
overhaul in vocational and skills

training to produce skilled workers
who would fill jobs created by
companies pouring investment
into Myanmar. Currently, only
0.5pc of upper secondary students
are enrolled in vocational training
compared to, say, almost 45pc in
China, the report adds.
“The heavily fragmented
vocational education system is
unable to meet the qualitative and
quantitative skilled labour needs
of Myanmar’s rapidly changing
economy,” Isabelle Boittin, a project
development officer at the Agency
for Technical Cooperation and
Development (ACTED) said.
ACTED provides vocational
training support to government
technical high schools and
technical institutes under the
Ministry of Education (MoE) by
developing short courses cum
internships that meet the demands
of the local market for semi-skilled
and skilled workers. This model has
been implemented in Kayah State
with the Loikaw Polytechnic School
and in Kayin State with the Hpa-An
Technical School.
The Myanmar-based French
humanitarian agency has also
been providing vocational training
services in nine refugee camps
along the Thai-Myanmar border
since 2013 to prepare refugees for a
voluntary return to the country.
According to Boittin, Technical

Vocational Education and Training
(TVET) becomes a major challenge
when attempting to introduce
industry-related courses with
an emphasis on “soft skills” such
as customer service, leadership
and English proficiency. “These
programs could include sewing
to train employees to address
the requirements of the garment
industry, plumbing, motor-vehicle
mechanics, and steel working
specialisation for masonry
students,” she said.
“The capacity to deal with
demanding issues at work, digital
literacy and critical thinking are
key elements in bridging the local
workforce constrains and competing
in the regional job market.”
In 2015, the Association
of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN) established the ASEAN
Economic Community (AEC),
a significant milestone in the
regional integration agenda. The
AEC aims to integrate Southeast
Asia’s diverse economies, which
comprised 622 million people and
a combined gross domestic product
of US$2.6 trillion in 2014. The endgoal of the economic pact is to have
a single market that allows the
free flow of skilled labour, goods,
services and investment.
Germany, a development
partner of Myanmar, has been
actively involved in establishing

Practical courses are vital for training apprentices.  Photo: Supplied

a TVET system which meets
the requirements of a growing
labour market through its
Deutsche Gesellschaft für
Internationale Zusammenarbeit
(GIZ) programme.“ A holistic
TVET system should be capable
of fulfilling its crucial role in the
socio-economic development of
Myanmar,” Dr Jeanette Burmester,
head of GIZ TVET Project said.
GIZ cooperates closely with the
Industrial Training Center in Sinde
under the Ministry of Industry.
By the end of this year, up to
650 young men and women are
expected to complete their training
at the “centre of excellence.” So
far, 56 school managers from 22
vocational training institutes under
the MoE and 700 teachers have
received capacity building training
under the project.
According to Dr Burmester, there
is an urgent need to promote a
widely recognised technical and
vocational skills qualification
scheme and a system, particularly
for the certification of workers
who otherwise would fall into the
unskilled labour category.
Another critical challenge is the
limited involvement of the private
sector. As a result, the TVET system
has become largely supply-driven
instead of catering to the demands
of the labour market and skills
needed by industries and small and

medium enterprises (SMEs).
The competency-based
apprenticeship program by the
Centre of Vocational Training
Berufsbildungszentrum (CVT)
Myanmar, an international
non-governmental organisation,
is geared to create “smart
partnerships” with relevant SMEs.
“Our curriculum is developed by
world renowned Swiss educational
experts, who work together with
local lecturers at CVT to create a
holistic curriculum that suits local
demands,” Khin Myat Sandar, CEO
of CVT Myanmar, said.
Apprentices complete a threeyear scheme with a partner
company and attend theory-based
classes once a week. The project is
mainly funded by sponsors from
Switzerland and supported by the
Swiss government.
The centre is a brainchild of Max
Wey, a former Red Cross delegate.
It was the first in the country to
introduce the dual Swiss-style
apprenticeship and offer diploma
courses to aspiring entrepreneurs,
cabinet makers, electricians, metal
workers, commercial assistants and
hotel and gastronomy assistants.
“My ambition is to be a successful
entrepreneur. I would like to be an
example for girls of my age to start
dreaming big,” said Khin Zar Chi Oo,
a 20-year-old commercial assistant
student at the centre.

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A very, very special time in Myanmar history
Mindful that English is the language of globalisation, more people here are
beginning to master it and the British Council is playing a pivotal role in it
Clovis Santiago

I

t might surprise some, but the British Council
has been in Myanmar for exactly 70 years and,
if anything, is now even more involved than
ever. The mission is education, and more education, to usher the people of Myanmar into the
world of the English Language.
In a recent interview with The Myanmar Times,
Lynne Heslop, British Council’s Director Education,
explained how the organisation’s aspiration is tied
to its mission. “The British Council’s aim is to build
a friendly knowledge and understanding between
people in the United Kingdom and Myanmar
and we think education is a great way to do
that. Through this work, we create international
opportunities for people and build trust between
them worldwide.”
Ginny Rowlands, British Council’s Director
English, said she was excited over the
organisation’s undertaking. “During the last
four years, education has been in everybody’s
mind through the education review which we
contributed to, helping people to think of new
ways to organise education in this country. This is
a very, very special time in history. We’ve always
been here to support education, but now this is a
real chance for us to make a big leap forward, in
terms of what can happen in this country. We’re
very excited.”
At the heart of it all are specific programs in
line with the ambitions of the National League
for Democracy government which has earmarked
education as a priority in its push for progress and
democracy for the people.
The British Council works with students,
teachers, researchers, leaders and policy makers.
As part of its mission here, it has a core education
team, specialist English language personnel, a
library workforce and an exams panel. Over 170
staff work directly for or support this education
undertaking.
On how someone can take advantage of all the
opportunities the British Council offers, Lynne said,
“Who you are determines your starting point. We
like to have multiple entry points to the British
Council so that we can reach as many people as
possible, no matter where they come from or at
what stage they are in their education level; we
aim to be as inclusive as we can in our work.”
One entry point is through its Yangon Teaching
Centre, where 2350 students (from seven-year-olds
to 70-year-olds) are currently enrolled.
Parents send their children to this centre to
complement their English language studies at
school and to develop communicative skills,
particularly spoken English. The methodology
ensures children enjoy their learning and gain
confidence to use English through child-friendly
activities such as stories, songs, games and

British
Council
on the
education
reforms
British Council’s Director Education Lynne Heslop (left) and Director English Ginny Rowlands.  Photo: Nyan Zay Htet

collaborative language tasks.
The centre provides courses for primary and
secondary students as well as young adults
(ages 16-18) at all levels of language proficiency
(beginners to advanced levels). The courses are
tailored to children’s needs and interests, and
develop children’s grammar and language skills
through ‘active’ learning.
Adults also choose the centre’s English language
courses to develop their ability to communicate
through English. The ability to operate in English
is widely recognised as a key skill. Adult courses
cover the same proficiency range (beginners
to advanced levels) and stimulate spoken and
written English through contemporary texts and
collaborative tasks.
According to English language expert Ginny,
“Jobs need good communicators, researchers
and people that can engage on a global scale.
English has turned out to be the lingua franca of
this region, partly because of the influence and
importance of Singapore and Hong Kong. Also
globally, most people know English enough to be
able to interact in business, development, arts or
in everything.”
On her expectations of Myanmar people’s
command of English in a couple of years, Ginny
said, “It would be very difficult to put a time scale.
For some people the challenges of just attending
a school make any sort of timeline a long one.
There’s a lot of work needed to provide access to
school for many communities in Myanmar. That
would take a long time, I think.
“But from my experience of working and
teaching in Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar, the
Myanmar learners are a step ahead of the other

Yangon library is a haven for study and open dialogue.  Photo: Nyan Zay Htet

two. I think the learners here have a very strong
ear for language. They don’t seem to have so many
pronunciation problems that I’ve noticed in other
ASEAN countries. We can be very optimistic for
those that have the opportunities, the time and the
investment in self-improvement. Although I don’t
teach anymore myself, my teachers tell me that all
the Myanmar students are really clever, incredibly
enthusiastic, work very hard, do their homework
and attend every single lesson, even though it’s an
add-on challenge to their working or student life.
“I think the future should be very optimistic for
the English language in this country.”
Myat Lay Tint, the British Council’s Education
Programmes Manager, said the English language
team is getting requests to conduct training for
government policy makers to enable them to
communicate on an international level.
Ginny added, “We’re now in the second year
of a program teaching officials from the Ministry
of Planning and Finance, and they range from
deputy director general level down to office
staff, and they all need English. This is part of a
modernisation of finance programs that is funded
by the Department for International Development
[DFID] and the Australian Agency for International
Development [Australian AID]. As part of a big
opening up of the finance sector, they need to be
able to read case studies, articles and journals in
English.”
Another entry point to the British Council is
its library, which welcomes all. Its Yangon library
enjoys a long-standing reputation as a haven for
study and open dialogue, and for the quality of
its materials. The Yangon and Mandalay libraries
offer their 10,000-plus current members access
to nearly 50,000 resources in the form of high
quality books and periodicals, a large collection of
electronic resources, DVDs and audio packages.
The libraries also have some fabulous resources
on many different subjects. The children’s section
is very popular and filled with educational
materials to stimulate young minds. Also, there
are various cultural and educational activities for
its members. Across the country, the library has an
outreach program, supporting local communities,
libraries and 19 remote learning Millennium
Centres.
If you are a teacher of English, there’s another
entry point. Through our work in ‘English for
Education Systems’ we run teacher training
courses and workshops – some in our teaching
centre and others off site. Ginny said they have
a number of courses that help teachers expand
their repertoire of teaching methods. The aim of
Continued on page 6

T

he government has
given education top
priority. On its part,
the British Council has been
very supportive of the positive
initiatives and is keen to
share its expertise to improve
education here.
“The government has placed
education reform as one of its
top priorities and they are trying
to move ahead quickly. They
believe in the transformative
impact of education on social
and economic development,
and the ability of education
to change people’s lives for
the better,” said Lynne Heslop,
British Council’s Director
Education.
“We are very supportive of the
government’s priorities and 100day plans. The British Council is
working with every department
on teacher education, higher
education, technical/vocational
education, basic education and
curriculum development.
“I think the government has
made a very good start because
it enables them to focus on
the priorities and to make
some headway early on. We
understand the challenges the
government faces to reform
Myanmar’s education system
and the UK is deeply committed
to do whatever it can in the
areas that we can offer some
help or expertise.
“I think there is a strong desire
in this government to really
make progress and to show
results quickly. And there’s a
real strong impetus to get things
done, which we are very happy
to respond to.
“We see our work in education
as a mutual partnership. By
linking UK and Myanmar
education, there are benefits on
both sides. Both Myanmar and
the UK have shared needs to
ensure that our young people
reach their potential and are
ready to live full, happy and
peaceful lives in a globally
connected world.”

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Continued from page 5

Yangon Teaching Centre provides courses for primary and secondary students as well as young adults at all levels
of language proficiency.  Photo: Supplied

these techniques and methods is to get students
communicating in English at various levels of
fluency and to give them the confidence to do
that.
She said these courses are for teachers of
English in Yangon and Mandalay regions and
they have been going on for four or five years
now. In the end, the teachers get a Cambridge
University qualification that is recognised by
many private schools. Some teachers are from
state schools, others from the private sector.
Each course lasts either 30 or 60 hours.
“Last year, we ran a very intensive entry into
Teaching English as a Foreign Language [TEFL],
which is a Cambridge qualification,” Ginny said.
“We had ten graduates from that. And this is
a very prestigious qualification from England,
meaning you can teach anywhere in the world.
“Twenty percent of our teachers are
bilingual Myanmar teachers who have the
basic qualifications of Certificate in English
Language Teaching to Adults [CELTA] or
Master’s in Teaching English to Speakers of
Other Languages [TESOL], and some of them
through Hornby Educational Trust scholarships.
Currently, we have 33 full-time teachers and
about 12 part-timers.”
Twice a year the British Council hosts a twoday English Language Teaching Conference,
in Yangon in September and in Mandalay in
January, which attracts international speakers
and presenters who share their perspectives on
English language teaching. Every year over 800
teachers from upper and lower Myanmar fill the
workshops, which showcase innovative ideas for
the classroom and discussions of key issues like
motivating learners, developing communicative
language skills, assessing learners’ progress in
the English language and developing critical
thinking.
“We bring in some fantastic international
speakers, experts in English-language teaching,
to share their expertise with the audience. We

like to do most of our work in Myanmar – we
don’t send a lot of teachers abroad. It’s very
expensive. There are one or two programs where
we might, but generally speaking, we want to
do the training here. In this way, we can train
more teachers more effectively and sustainably,”
Lynne said.
Another landmark event jointly supported
by the British Council and a wide range of
education organisations, in partnership with the
government, is the Joint Education Conference,
the biggest conference for teachers and teacher
educators from both formal and non-formal
education sectors across the country. Held
every November, it was hosted at the Yankin
Education College in Yangon in November, with
the theme “Relating Learning to Real Life”.
Yet another project, the English for Education
College Trainers (EfECT), is to provide training
for teacher educators – those who train teachers
new to the profession It’s co-funded by DFID
and the British Council and has worked in
partnership with the government and Voluntary
Service Overseas, an organisation of native
speaker volunteers and highly qualified teachers.
“We’re now in the second year of this project,”
Ginny said. “The idea behind this project is to
upgrade the teacher educators’ skills to enable
them to modernise and rethink, perhaps, what
happens in schools and classrooms. Right now,
we have 2200 teacher educators based in 25
educational institutions who are getting direct
training – two native speaker trainers in each
place. We’re in a unique position, having such
close contact with the driving force behind
education – the teacher educators. And they’re
working with about 12,000 young people
training to be teachers.”
A further entry point is through a relatively
new project called Connecting Classrooms.
The aim is to improve what the British
Council calls “core skills”, sometimes referred
to as deep learning skills or 21st Century skills.

Developing these skills helps young people
grow into creative citizens who are able to think
critically, make effective decisions and solve real
life problems. They should be ready to shape the
future for themselves and future generations.
The focus is on six core skills: critical thinking
and problem solving, digital literacy, student
leadership and personal development,
creativity and imagination, collaboration and
communication, and citizenship.
“This is another program that is co-funded
by DFID and the British Council. It’s a global
program that’s going to train 45,000 teachers
in nearly 40 countries. We’re delighted that
Myanmar teachers and schools have the
opportunity to be part of this program for the
first time this year,” said Lynne.
“We have drawn on our experience in
international education to ensure the program
suits the country’s cultural and educational
context and that teachers can help their
students develop these skills as an integral part
of their classwork.
“In partnership with the Ministry of
Education, we’re going to expand this 21st
Century Skills project to five states and regions
in the next few months to include a hundred
government, ethnic and monastic schools.
“One of the first skills involves critical
thinking and problem solving. Connecting
Classrooms helps teachers understand what
critical thinking is and how it can be taught in
real classroom situations in Myanmar. Schools
don’t need to have all the latest technology or
special equipment to teach critical thinking.
You can teach it in the present conditions with
adequate training, support and techniques. Our
workshops help teachers to develop the skills
they need to do this effectively.
“The next core skill, we hope, will be digital
literacy. Digital technologies are changing the
world, and if you are involved in education, it is
good to be aware of what’s out there. Students
are using the internet and teachers need to
know how to enhance students’ learning

using these resources. But as well as being a
knowledge treasure trove, the internet also has
some dangers – students also need guidance
from their teachers and parents about how to
use the internet safely and effectively. This is
what training in digital literacy is all about.
“The third area we aim to focus on is
student leadership to help students develop
the personal skills to take responsibility for
their own learning and be able to contribute
positively to their school, their community and
to wider society.”
The British Council’s higher education
partnerships are another entry point.
Describing this cooperation, Lynne said,
“We’ve been building partnerships between UK
and Myanmar universities where academics,
students and university leaders can collaborate
in research and teaching. We hope that there
will be many more opportunities for this kind
of international collaboration in the months
and years to come. We already have some
strong partnerships, and we are doing training
for Myanmar researchers to enable them to
seize the growing opportunities they have to
collaborate on the international stage. This is
really important in building a strong higher
education system for the future and it’s a big
priority for us.
“As many will be aware, the University of
Oxford has had a very special relationship
and partnership with Yangon University for
about four years now. Because of an historical
relationship with [State Counsellor] Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi, Oxford has a strong commitment
to building the capacity of Yangon University.
There are also many other universities in the
UK which are keen to link up with universities
in Myanmar to co-deliver courses, work
on groundbreaking research together and
learn from each other. Once the door is wide
open, I think, there will be a lot of interest in
international collaboration here.”
Part 2 of this article will appear in
next month’s EduCentre.

British Council’s EfECT project provides training for teacher educators.  Photo: Supplied

How to take advantage of British Council programs
Yangon Teaching Centre

Libraries

• Who can apply: primary and secondary age
students, young adults (aged 16-18) and adults
(aged over 18) – for beginners to advanced levels
• How to apply: arrange for a one-hour placement
test (to check English language proficiency,
assess written and oral skills) on Mondays/
Wednesdays
• Placement test fee: K15,000
• Venue: 78, Kanna Road (near General Post
Office), Kyauktada Township, Yangon
• Contact details: Phones – 01-370933, 370944
• Course duration: 10 week terms (April-July, JulyOctober, October-December, January-March);
holiday courses (three weeks in March); flexible
schedule (Mondays-Saturdays 7am-8:15pm,
Sundays 9am-4:30pm)

Yangon Library
• Who can apply: anyone
• How to apply: bring identification card, two passport-sized photos
(also, original logo for corporate membership)
• Membership fee: individual (K25,000), express (K5000), family
(K40,000), corporate (K100,000)
• Opening hours: Mondays-Fridays 8:30am-6pm, Saturdays 9am-6pm,
Sundays 9am-1pm
Mandalay Library
• Who can apply: anyone
• How to apply: bring identification card, two passport-sized photos
(also, original logo for corporate membership)
• Membership fee: individual (K15,000), family (K30,000), corporate
(K70,000)
• Opening hours: Mondays-Fridays 9am-6pm, Saturdays 9am-4:30pm

Outreach Programs
• Mobile Libraries: provide resources to 15 monastic
school libraries in Yangon suburbs; assisted by
volunteers, teachers and host librarians
• Millennium Centres: provide resources and
professional advice to 19 remote learning centres in
Bagan, Dawei, Hakha, Hpa’an, Inle, Kalay, Keng Tung,
Lashio, Loikaw, Mandalay, Mawlamyine, Meiktila,
Myaungmya, Myitkyina, Pathein, Pyin Oo Lwin, Sittwe,
Tamu and Taunggyi; each mini-library/resource
centre open to public for negligible monthly/annual
membership fee
• Reading Challenge: encourage sixth and seventh
graders at public schools to make own book selection,
maximise reading potential and help discover reading
pleasure; since 2014

JANUARY 2017

EduCentre

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LEARNING WITH
An Explanatory Note

I

n accordance with the education
sector being given top priority by the
present National League for Democracy government, The Myanmar Times, in
collaboration with the British Council, is
honoured to play a part in this most crucial area for the people of this country.
We are devoting four pages of our
resourceful EduCentre pullout for
LearnEnglish Print, a series of high-quality
English-language learning articles and
activities, produced by the British Council.
The English-language levels of these
LearnEnglish Print series follow the standards
of the Common European Framework of
Reference (CEFR) for languages. According to
CEFR, there are six levels:
• A1 (Breakthrough) – a basic ability to
communicate and exchange information
in a simple way.
• A2 (Waystage) – an ability to deal with
simple, straightforward information
and begin to express oneself in familiar
contexts.
• B1 (Threshold) – the ability to express
oneself in a limited way in familiar
situations and to deal in a general way
with non-routine information.
• B2 (Vantage) – the capacity to achieve
most goals and express oneself on a
range of topics.
• C1 (Effective Operational Proficiency)
– the ability to communicate with the
emphasis on how well it is done, in
terms of appropriacy, sensitivity and the
capacity to deal with unfamiliar topics.
• C2 (Mastery) – the capacity to deal
with material which is academic or
cognitively demanding, and to use
language to good effect at a level of
performance which may in certain
respects be more advanced than that of
an average native speaker.
The Kids Stories series (with activities)
on Page A are for primary kids. Each story
features a QR code in the bottom righthand corner that will enable readers with
smart phones to watch the videos of the
stories on their mobile device.
The Teens Skills series on Page B are
suitable for teenagers at CEFR A1 and
A2 levels. Some items are for practicing
reading skills and the others are for
writing. Each item includes simple practice
activities based on visual prompts.
The General English series on Page C are
appropriate for CEFR B1 level and cover a
broad range of topics. Each is accompanied
by a vocabulary comprehension task and
features cartoons, fun word searches and
language jokes.
The Professionals series on Page D are
pitched at CEFR B2 and C1 levels and aimed
at professional people who may use English
in the workplace. Topics covered include
knowledge management, business ethics
and change management.

LEARNING WITH

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JANUARY 2017

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It’s all been done before
by Linda Baxter
Today’s amazing newspaper headline:

First family of four to walk to the South
Pole wearing Mickey Mouse ears and
clown’s shoes
No, not really. It isn’t true. I invented it. But I
wouldn’t be surprised to see it one day soon. It
seems that every week someone becomes ‘the first’
or ‘the youngest’ or ‘the oldest’ or even ‘the first
married couple’ to do something that doesn’t seem
to be very useful to the rest of humanity.
In the last decade, I’ve seen headlines saying: ‘The
youngest person to sail the Atlantic alone’, ‘The
youngest Briton to climb Mount Everest’, ‘The first
person to cross the Pacific Ocean on a windsurfing
board’, and ‘The first people to fly around the world
in a hot-air balloon’. Why do they do it? Don’t they
have better things to do with their time and money?
And why should I be interested anyway?
Human beings have already climbed the highest
mountains, sailed across the oceans and flown
around the world. People have already reached
the most remote parts of our planet. Many of these
things were done a long, long time ago. There just
isn’t anything left to explore nowadays. I suppose
there’s still a lot of the universe left, and the bottom
of the oceans is still a bit of a mystery, but you
need a lot of technology to explore areas like that.
So, those people who feel the need for adventure
can only do things that have been done before.
So they have to try and do it in a new way, or be
‘the fastest’ or ‘the youngest’ or ‘the oldest’ – to do
something that isn’t really new at all. Or they can
start new combinations of achievements: ‘The first
woman to walk to both the North and South Poles
and skateboard down Mount Everest’. (I invented
that one too, but I think you get the idea.)
What is so great about climbing Mount Everest
these days anyway? It’s become a popular tourist
trip. People pay thousands of dollars to be taken
up the mountain by the local Sherpas, who lead the
way and carry the bags. At any one time there are
about a thousand people either climbing up or on
their way back down. As a result, Everest is covered
with rubbish and the Sherpas have to make special

trips up the mountain to pick it up. The climbers
are often inexperienced and when they get into
trouble other people have to risk their lives to bring
them down to safety. Helicopter crews have been
killed trying to reach people who were stuck on the
mountain.
Not so long ago, a British man became the
first person to walk alone from Canada to the
geographic North Pole. Personally, if I wanted
to visit the Arctic, I’d rather go as a tourist on a
cruise ship, with a helicopter trip to the North Pole
included in the price. But OK, this man decided
that he wanted to walk. Fair enough. And I’m sure
it was a difficult thing to do. The problem was that
he went in the spring, when the ice begins to melt
and break up. So he got stuck on an isolated piece
of ice and a plane had to be sent in to rescue him.
It’s very difficult to land a plane on breaking ice and
the people who risked their lives to do it weren’t
very happy. They called the timing of the expedition
‘a bit stupid’.
In January 2003 a helicopter carrying two British
men crashed into the sea near Antarctica. I’m not
quite sure what they were trying to be ‘the first’ or
‘the youngest’ to do. The Chilean navy picked them
up after a nine-hour rescue mission that cost tens
of thousands of pounds. All paid for by the Chilean
and British taxpayers.
Talking of taxpayers, many Australians are getting
a bit fed up with record breakers. A lot of people
trying to break sailing or rowing records get
into trouble in the seas around Australia, so the
Australian navy has to send ships to save them.
There have been a lot of difficult, time-consuming
rescue missions in recent years costing the
Australian government millions of dollars. I suppose
we can’t just leave them to drown but, personally,
I think we should give the bill to the people who
are rescued. Perhaps they would think twice about
doing it if they had to pay for expensive insurance
premiums. Then I wouldn’t have to read about them
in the newspapers either.
What do you think? Are these explorers heroes or a
danger to other people? Examples of courage and
determination which should inspire the rest of us?
Or a waste of time, energy and money?

Exercise 1
Match the words with their definitions.

1
2
3
4
5

remote
crew
rescue
navy
bill

a. the section of the armed forces which
controls the seas of a country
b. free somebody from danger
c. a statement for money owed for goods or a
service
d. the people who work on a ship, plane, etc.
e. describes places where no people live which
are often difficult to get to

Exercise 2
Now use the five words to fill the gaps in the
sentences below.

1. The ……… of the plane apologised for the
delay and handed out drinks and snacks.
2. If you get stuck in the mountains in bad
weather, we might not be able to ……… you
for days.
3. When you have finished repairing the car,
send me the ……… and I’ll send you a cheque.
4. Their honeymoon was on a ……… beach, miles
from the nearest town.
5. The government sent their ……… to defend
the island from attacks.

Word search

Exercise 3

Complete the
missing letters and
then find the words
in the grid. They
can be horizontal,
vertical, diagonal
and backwards.

Decide whether these sentences are TRUE or
FALSE according to the text.

D

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RESCUE

4 A man who walked from Canada to the North
Pole had to be rescued.
5 The Australian government has made recordbreaking illegal.

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1 A woman has skateboarded down Mount
Everest.
2 People are only able to explore places that
have already been explored before.
3 Mount Everest is being polluted by Sherpas.

Joke teacher
Question: What do you give to a sick lemon?
Answer: Lemonade.
This English joke works because of words that sound the same
in English. When you say ‘lemonade’, it is pronounced in the
same way as ‘lemon aid’. This double meaning is known as a
pun or a play on words. Can you find the double meaning in
this next joke?
Question: Why should you never play cards in the jungle?
Answer: Because of all the cheetahs.

Answers

5 navy

5c

4 remote

4a

3 bill

3b

2 rescue

2d

1 crew

1e

Ex 1

Ex 2

5 False
4 True
3 False
2 True
1 False

Ex 3

Want to find more learning activities? Visit www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish
Send your feedback to learnenglishprint@britishcouncil.org

© British Council 2016

JANUARY 2017

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LEARNING WITH

EduCentre

Pre-reading task
1 Before you read the text, match the expressions with their correct meanings in the vocabulary section
in the right-hand column (Exercise 1).
Now read the article.

Change management
by Graham Bradford

The rate of change and development in the business world
is always increasing. New competitors, new markets, new
technologies, new products all result in an enterprise having to
embrace change to remain successful.
How can an organisation know when change is necessary? Charles
Handy, a former professor at the London Business School, suggested that
organisations should embrace change when they are doing well, not wait
until things take a turn for the worse. It is doubtful that many organisations
follow this advice. It is more likely that traditional indicators such as sales
information can be used to decide when and what to change. Changes
in the external environment need to be monitored – what are your
competitors planning? Do you suddenly have a new competitor? How can
an organisation achieve change? Financial and accounting information can
help in the planning and implementation of change. However, for Professor
Senger of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), this isn’t
enough. He suggests that a vital factor in the successful implementation of
change is that organisations must ‘learn to learn’. The traditional top-down,
authoritarian way of doing things is not flexible enough to cope with today’s
rapidly changing business environment. Senger lists five factors that help make an organisation a ‘learning organisation’:
1. ‘Personal mastery’ – an employee’s desire for lifelong learning to continually update his or her set of job skills.
2. ‘The creative use of mental models’ – all employees should question all aspects of a company’s organisation.
3. ‘Building a shared vision’ – the vision of the company’s future must be positive, innovative, constantly evolving and
something that all employees wish to achieve.
4. ‘Team learning’ – employees need to think and learn together; teams need to learn, not just individuals.
5. ‘Systems thinking’ – this requires a wide vision across all sectors of an organisation. In fact, the concept of ‘a sector’ within
a company is not very useful – activities in a company should be seen as a whole. It is also important to recognise patterns
across an organisation, even in complex circumstances.
If a company can become a learning organisation then it should be able to bring about successful organisational change.

Word search
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BUSINESS
ORGANIS_TI_N
COMPET_T_R
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DEVELOPM_NT
THINK_NG
EMPLOY_E

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TRADITION_L

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1. d; 2. f; 3. b; 4. e; 5. a; 6. g; 7. c

Ex 1

K R

P

Complete the words below with their missing
letters and then see if you can find those words
in the grid. They can be horizontal, vertical,
diagonal and backwards.

Match the phrases taken from the text (1–7)
with their correct definitions (a–g).
1
2
3
4
5
6
7

embrace change
take a turn for the worse
traditional indicators
external environment
top down
implementation of change
lifelong learning

a. coming from above in a hierarchy
b. sets of information that have been used for
some time
c. learning as a continual activity
d. agree that change is necessary and achieve
it
e. conditions outside an organisation
f. become worse
g. making change happen

Exercise 2
Choose the correct words to fill the gaps in the
sentences.
achieve / change / learning / vision / embrace /
individuals / indicators / organisation / lifelong
The rate of [1] ........ in the business world is
always increasing. Charles Handy suggests
that companies should not wait for [2] ........
such as poor sales to tell them that change is
necessary. A company should [3] ........ change
when it is doing well. Professor Senger says that
[4] ........ organisations are better at embracing
change. Such organisations share five
factors: employees embrace [5] ........ learning;
employees are encouraged to question all
aspects of the company’s [6] ........; the vision
of the company’s future should be something
that all employees wish to [7] ........; employees
need to learn as teams, not as [8] ........; and wide
[9] ........ across all sectors of an organisation is
required.

Answers

J O W T

L

Exercise 1

1. change; 2. indicators; 3. embrace; 4. learning; 5. lifelong;
6. organisation; 7. achieve; 8. individuals; 9. vision

Ex 2

Want to find more learning activities? Visit www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish
Send your feedback to learnenglishprint@britishcouncil.org

© British Council 2016

QUICK READ

JANUARY 2017

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Basic education schools: 2007-08 (39,398), 2008-09 (39,421), 2009-10 (39,445), 2010-11 (39,519), 2011-12 (39,722), 2012-13 (39,947), 2013-14 (43,181)
Teachers: 2007-08 (259,332), 2008-09 (261,472), 2009-10 (265,369), 2010-11 (273,346), 2011-12 (277,644), 2012-13 (280,090), 2013-14 (281,759)
Students: 2007-08 (7,776,148), 2008-09 (7,763,086), 2009-10 (7,851,003), 2010-11 (7,885,220), 2011-12 (7,993,955), 2012-13 (8,179,549), 2013-14 (8,597,348) (Source: Ministry of Education, 2014)
Compared to 39,100 basic education schools, 216,039 teachers and 6,906,065 students in 2001-02, there were 43,181 basic education schools (10.4% increase), 281,759
teachers (30.4% increase), and 8,597,348 students (24.5% increase) in 2013-14. Most of the schools (nearly 90%) exist in rural areas of the country. (Source: Ministry of Education, 2014)

Fixing a failed system
No thanks to past education policies, and ineffective
implementation, the country’s schooling system is at a
crossroads. Change won’t come easily.
Khin Su Wai

M

yanmar’s current education
system, based on rote learning, has come under scrutiny
as it continues to fail to produce
students with creative and critical
thinking abilities. The raging debate
among academics and policy makers,
not to mention parents, is how to fix
this decades-long problem.
With the National League for
Democracy (NLD) in power, people are
now anticipating that its education
blueprint will be somewhat similar
to those in other free societies – and
create a new generation of thinkers,
movers and shakers.
Whatever the final shape of the
blueprint, it is an immense task,
attempting to revamp an entire
system, change mindsets and address
what is already a huge problem. Case
in point: after the last matriculation
examination, of the 650,000-plus
candidates who sat for the exam,
only 150,000 passed. The examination
system also drew fire on social media
and elsewhere, with a sizeable number
questioning why students failed just
because they did not fare well in one
subject even though they had done
well in others.
It’s also undeniable that people are
losing faith in an education system in
which parents try to bribe teachers to
have their children enrolled in famous
schools and in which teachers ask
even kindergarten kids, under a new
system launched this academic year,
to attend their tuition classes. The list
of issues seem unending. Tuition fees
have ballooned. Teachers complain
of lack of resources to teach the new
kindergarten courses. Exam questions
are known to have been leaked.
Policy changes also occur
on a whim. During the former
government’s term, there was a
remedial test system for students
failing in the fourth and eighth
standards. This was an ineffective
system where students who even
failed miserably (some would even get
zero in marks in some subjects) were
soon passed after another test was
held especially for them.
To tackle that issue, township
education offices informed schools at
the start of the 2015-16 academic year
that there would be no more remedial
test system. An official Ministry of
Education directive was sent to schools
on January 19, 2016. But just after the
schools’ final exam results were out
after the water festival holidays in late
April, this failed policy was reinstated
verbally again by the new government.
A high school principal, who
declined to be named, said, “Teachers
feel frustrated when they hear of

this kind of sudden policy change
on a whim, for which they were not
prepared for the whole academic year.
It’s difficult for me to comment on this
kind of policy. It seems the government
is considering the case of dropout
students. Looks like they thought it
was ruthless to be failing students. I
suppose they thought children should
not become dropouts and end up on
the streets.
“I hear that, in future, students’
report cards will not mention how
many marks they got in the tests.
Instead, they would be graded as A,
B, C or D. Eager parents need not put
needless pressure on their children to
achieve top position in their classes.
I also heard the government would
be adopting an alternative education
system because the dropout rate at
ninth and tenth standards is high.”
He said the government needs
to introduce a firm policy to help
enhance teachers’ skills as some
don’t have the opportunity to improve
themselves.
“To be frank, the curriculum is not
that substandard. It is set at General
Certificate of Secondary Education
‘O’ level. But the main weakness is in
the teaching and learning methods.
For example, when we were young,
we studied Newton’s Law by rote
memorising, and if we did not miss
out any word, we even got a distinction
in the exam. But we never got to
know the essence of that law. The
government and respective schools
need to support students so that they

would understand what they are being
taught.”
Dr Hla Moe, a member of
parliament, sees a difficult road ahead
after decades of system failure. He said
an education policy that supports the
democratic system, encourages critical
thinking and benefits outstanding
students should be implemented.
“It would be very difficult to
immediately change something that
has been systematically destroyed.
The parliament is trying very hard
to reform it and the Ministry of
Education must put all its efforts into
it. Teachers should become perfect,
capacity-wise, and parents need
to have education awareness. The
government should also implement an
education policy that comprises all of
the five strengths of Buddhism [faith,
energy, mindfulness, concentration
and wisdom],” he added.
Budget constraints, which derailed
attempts to change the system in
more recent times, would be another
issue. Those previous attempts were
“not successful because there was only
one teacher for 60 students and we
didn’t have enough budget. Teachers
were also not paid properly”, said Dr
Hla Moe.
He said the school system would
need over 800,000 teachers nationwide
to properly implement any new
government policy.
“Any policy will fail if there are
not enough teachers to carry it out
and high policy matters cannot
be implemented without their

Universities must be able to produce outstanding students.  Photo: AFP

cooperation. A policy may be good but
without proper incentives for teachers,
it is bound to fail. Besides, skills and
salaries, teachers must enjoy what
they are doing and give them the
rightful prestige they deserve,” he said.
He pointed out that although the
Ministry of Education’s budget was
increased for the 2016-17 academic
year, there was no funds left for
training courses to improve teachers’
skills.
“This is the first time a large
amount of K1.4 trillion was allotted
for the academic year. Half of the
money was spent on increased
salaries and, from the remaining
balance, the basic education
department received K300 billion.
This allocation was barely enough
to fund free primary classes as well
as both middle and high school
classes, which were made free during
the former government’s tenure.
There was no more budget to recruit
more teachers, build new schools or
improve teacher quality,” Dr Hla Moe
said.
The struggle to improve the system
continues. Under the NLD’s 100-day
plan, it announced major reforms
to revitalise the education system.
It promised teachers from basic
and higher education departments

and vocational institutes would
receive their salaries in full and
training would be given. Experienced
lecturers could also pursue doctorate
courses and there would be leniency
in promoting lecturers to joint
professors, and joint professors to
professors.
While attempts are being made to
reform the education system, students
are already heading abroad to seek
better education, which clearly shows
that urgent reforms are needed at
home.
According to managing director
Myat Thandar Tin of Thitsar Yarzar
Training and Development Centre,
which recruits students to pursue
MBA and PhD courses at Thailand’s
Shinawatra University, there are
tremendous opportunities to study
abroad. Between 2010 and 2015, more
Myanmar students took that step
abroad.
Meanwhile, more private
institutions here are offering
internationally recognised courses
through arrangements with foreign
colleges and universities.
If anything, with increasing foreign
interest in education here, the setting
of proper policies is needed now more
than ever.
– Translation by San Layy and Khine Thazin Han

JANUARY 2017

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Teaching kids about money
Piggy bank basics

I

n a rapidly changing world,
teaching your children about
managing money has never been
more important. Here we explain
how to raise money smart kids.

Why teaching kids
financial skills is important
If kids develop good financial skills
from an early age they’ll be ready
for the financial challenges during
adulthood.
Giving your kids a good
foundation and teaching them
about money matters is critical
for their personal development.
Showing children the basics such
as how to budget, spend and save
will establish good money habits
for life.
Invisible money
In a time of credit cards, internet
banking and online shopping,
children don’t often see people
buying products with physical
money like notes and coins.
Not seeing money exchanged
for purchases makes it harder for
kids to get their heads around what
things cost. They might see this
invisible money as an abstract and
unlimited resource rather than real
money coming in and out of their
family’s bank accounts.
Talk to your kids about money
often to help them make this
invisible money real.

When should you talk to
your kids about money?
Teaching younger kids the value of
money through real life situations
and examples will help them
understand where money comes
from and how it is earned. Here are
a few examples of how you could
approach this with your kids.

At the ATM
The ATM is a great place to start
teaching kids about money. You could
explain to your child that the ATM
holds the money you have made by
working hard and saving. It is not just
a hole in the wall where money comes
out.
When you withdraw money out of
the ATM, it is taken from your bank
account and you’ll have less in your
account to spend later.
At the supermarket
When buying items at the
supermarket, you can explain to your
kids how items are priced and that you
can get cheaper or more expensive
versions of the same product. This is
also an opportunity to discuss how
you can shop around for the best price.
You could get them to compare
prices for you and pick the cheapest
one. If they want a particular brand
then explain the price difference to
them.
Paying bills
If you receive bills in the mail or
online, this can be an opportunity to
explain that electricity or your internet
connection costs money. You could
explain that to pay a $150 power bill
it took you so many days at work to
earn the money. This will help create
a connection between time spent at
work and money, as well as the fact
that electricity and the internet cost
your family money. It might also make
them think twice about leaving lights
and appliances on.
Doing a budget
Involving your kids in discussions
about your family budget is another
way you can talk to your children
about money. This helps give them the
big picture about costs and spending.
By explaining how much money
your family has to spend every week

Teaching younger kids the
value of money through
real life situations will help
them understand how
money is earned. 
Photo: Shutterstock

and how this money is spent your
kids will better understand the costs
of family life and how much can be
saved for other things.
Giving pocket money
Pocket money can help children better
understand the value of money.

Money concepts at different
ages
Smart tip
Let your kids pay for small expenses
with their pocket or birthday money.
This will help them work out how far
their money will go.
As your children grow up, they will
have different experiences and require
a better understanding of money.
Here are some ideas about the sorts
of things your children will need to
know at different ages:
Younger children (Preschool age)
• You need money to buy things
• Money includes notes and coins
that have different values
• You earn money by going to work
• There is a difference between things
you need and things you want
School age children (Primary School)
• Comparing prices and shopping
around before you buy something is
a good habit to get into
• Be careful when shopping online
and never share your personal
information online
• You need to be patient when saving
up and you can make choices about
how to spend your money
Teenagers (High School)
• It is better to use cash than credit
• Credit is money that you borrow
and have to pay back with interest
• It is good to have savings in case of a
money emergency
• If you work a part-time job, you
need to check your pay slip to see
that you are being paid the correct

amount and if you are paying tax
• Keep track of mobile phone data
and expenses to make sure you
don’t run out of credit or get stuck
with a large bill
• Bank accounts can help you to track
and keep your money.
• Doing a budget helps you work out
how you should spend your money

How to raise money smart
kids
When children get to an age where
they are earning pocket money or
working a part-time job, they will start
to spend their own money.
Here are some things you may
want to do with your children to help
develop their financial savvy and
independence:
Shopping lists – Ask your kids to help
you compile a shopping list of needed
items for home.
Research purchases – Work with your
children to research online or shop
around to find the best price for an
item they want.
Set goals – Help your kids to set a
goal and track their savings through
a chart (for example, they could
colour in coins on a chart to show
their progress). For older children and
teenagers set up a bank account and
help track saving and spending.
Plan an event – Involve your children
in planning and budgeting for special
occasions such as outings or birthdays.
If you are going on an outing, work
through all the costs including

transport and food as well as any
admission prices.
Shop safe online – Make sure your
kids are safe when online shopping
and know how to spot an online scam.
If it sounds too good to be true, it
probably is.
Needs vs wants – Help your kids
avoid spontaneous purchases and
set goals to think about whether they
want an item before parting with their
money. Discuss the difference between
needs and wants and encourage your
children to think about this before
spending.
Check mobile use – When your child
receives their first mobile phone, show
them how to check and minimise
data usage, set boundaries on use and
involve them in selecting pre-paid or
a plan.
Criticise ads – Get your children
to review advertising on TV and in
catalogues with you. Ask them what
the ads are trying to sell, how they try
to sell it to you and if they need the
product they are advertising.
Teaching kids about money is an
important skill. Money skills should
be developed from an early age and
fostered into young adulthood. The
more financially savvy your children
are the better spending decisions they
will make throughout their lives.
Reproduced with permission of
Australian Securities & Investments
Commission (ASIC)
Source: ASIC’s MoneySmart website,
moneysmart.gov.au, 18 Dec 2015

Preschools replacing parent’s bosom
Than Naing Soe

W

IN Thandar Oo wakes up
at 6am every morning to
do her daily marketing.
For the next two hours, her mornings
are quite hectic as she prepares her
regular chores, including breakfast
for the family and lunch box for her
young kid.
At 8am, the child is already at a
preschool not far from where the
family resides.
The dutiful housewife from Maha

Aung Myay township in Mandalay
said, “If I allow my kid to stay at
home, he is not going to improve in
any way. At his school, he has a lot of
friends to play with and his teachers
make sure he is not as playful as
when he is at home.”
It is not unusual for Win Thandar Oo
to send her three-year-old to preschool,
as it is now becoming a trend for
almost all other eager parents to enroll
their young kids to these institutions
which are turning out to become a
second bosom for them.

Private preschools are competing among each other to give extra services as much as they can. 
Photo: Than Naing Soe

“The government has also opened
some preschools for kids that are too
young to attend regular schools, but
are at an age where they could have
their skills developed. For parents,
this is an additional benefit as they do
not have to worry about babysitting
while they have their children’s
interpersonal and living skills
improved,” Aye Su Mon, an employee
with a media organisation said.
At present, parents have a whole
lot of options in choosing the best
preschool for their kids based on
their income or how much they
could afford. Government-run
institutions cost only around a few
thousand kyats a month, while
private preschools could run above a
hundred thousand kyats.
One similarity with all private
preschools is they are competing
among each other to give extra
services as much as they can. Those
having a flair for language would have
teachers trained so they can interact
with the kids in English, while others
would converse in Myanmar language.
Principal Soe Lwin from Best
Preschool explained that there are
two types of teaching methods for
children, namely, the Early Childhood

Care & Development and Early
Childhood Education.
Besides, he enumerated six
points that are to be carried out for
a young child’s progress. They are
social and emotional development,
cognitive skills, physical and motor
development, pre-literacy skills,
environmental awareness and
creativity.
“They are taking the wrong
approach in Myanmar where children
are taught the Myanmar alphabets
the first day they arrive in school. It’s
a great loss for kids as it is like forcing
them lose their infancy,” he explained.
According to Horizon International
Kindergarten’s Mandalay Campus
supervisor Saliha Kaya, preschool
programmes must enable kids to
meet future educational challenges,
and the regular school curriculums
should link the knowledge and
experience the child has already
received and enhance their new ideas.
“Parents, teachers, staffs and school
administrators take a vital role in
motivating kids to active learners,”
she said.
Therefore, it is essential that
teachers have adequate qualifications
and are well-experienced so that they

can give correct guidance to nurture
well-balanced children.
In Pan Nu Yaung Preschool,
children of government and private
sector employees and even those of
ordinary families study together.
The preschool’s principal Khin Ohn
Thwin said the centre adopts strict
guidelines to ensure children spend
time in a pleasant environment.
Kids who are emotionally hurt due
to family squabbles are discouraged
from talking about their problems to
their peers in the centre.
Principal Soe Lwin recommended
that as preschools are playing a
crucial role in society, they should
only be managed by staff who are
known to have genuine love for
kids and have deep interest in their
education.
Principal Khin Ohn Thwin agreed
and suggested that preschool teachers
should display a parental attitude.
Apparently, preschools have
become second only to parents,
offering a basic and secure
foundation for future learning where
youngsters are nurtured to develop
their character, social skills and
intelligence.
– Translation by Emoon

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JANUARY 2017

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99

To date, 159 private schools have been opened in 10 regions/states and Nay Pyi Taw. Out of 46,665 private school students, the number of high school
students is 58.1%, middle school 27.2% and primary school 14.7%. Due to smaller class size (about 30 students) and student-teacher ratio (15:1 on average),
private school students receive more personal attention from teachers. (Source: Department of Basic Education, 2014)
Yangon: private schools 57, teachers 1183, students 15,601 Mandalay: private schools 46, teachers 1250, students 11,213
Nay Pyi Taw: private schools 4, teachers 79, students 1178 (Source: Department of Basic Education, 2014)

The big edge in
education?
Parents are making a beeline to
private schools, hoping to give
their children quality education
along with personal guidance,
which is hard to come by in public
schools
Parents believe private schools are far better than public schools because students are given personal attention.  Photo: Supplied

Si Thu Lwin

I

N pursuit of quality education,
more students are joining private
and boarding schools hoping
to find a more conducive learning
environment and greater personal
attention.
Increasingly, the perception
among parents is that private
schools offer a more efficient
teaching system, enforce strict
discipline and conduct regular
assessments to monitor academic
performance.
Overall, parents believe, they
are far better than public schools
because students are given personal
attention and teachers emphasise
high standards of academic
excellence. It also relieves parents
of having to spend on private tuition
classes, which has become a must
for most students in government
schools.
Private high schools are supposed
to run as an alternative education
system. In reality, they teach
their students the same lessons
prescribed in the government’s
school curriculum, but in a more
meticulous manner. Some teach
additional excerpts from the same
set of courses using their own
teaching techniques.
“We don’t teach anything out of
the ordinary. We rely mainly on the
government-published text books.
We don’t teach from special books
or from question compilations,”
said Han Myint Maung Private
High School founder, which is
his namesake. He has had about
20 years experience managing a
boarding school.
Although all private schools do
not have the same entry guidelines,
most require that a few basic
criteria be met, like a student’s
dressing habits, hairstyle and
whether they have tattoos.
“The fundamental requirements
for accepting a student include that

they don’t have unkempt long hair
or wear outlandish clothes. First,
we tell parents to check the school’s
day-to-day activities and if they
are satisfied, we tell prospective
students to do the same. Then, we
discuss with the students to see
whether they can settle here or not.
A student’s outlook is imperative
as he or she is the one who will be
staying here,” said Unity Private
High School founder Nilar Than,
who has had 16 years in private
education.
Some private schools require
students to sit for an entrance test
and others admit only selected
highly qualified students.
“Some boarding schools accept
only outstanding students. Ours has
no special prerequisites like that.
The only stipulations would be that
a student must first and foremost
abide by the school discipline and,
second, he or she must be prepared
to stay in school for the whole
term. We would accept any student
who can comply with these two
requirements,” Han Myint Maung
said.
Most private schools assess a
student’s performance at least once
a week and send progress reports to
parents.
“We also give an aptitude test
once a month. Then we show the
graded answer sheet to the student
and discuss their weak points,
before informing the parents about
their performance. In this way,
parents are able to know their
children’s academic progress,” Nilar
Than said.
The most stringent regulations
at boarding schools would include
abstaining from fighting, drug abuse
and using electronic devices, such as
mobile phones.
If students are found flouting
these rules more than once, parents
are summoned to the school and
disciplinary action, up to expelling a
student, is taken.

Except for major healthcare
expenses and buying of notebooks,
most boarding schools take care of
all logistics, such as food and living
costs and laundry services.
“We take care of our students’
health by retaining our own school
physician and we also consult the
student’s family doctor if needed. If
a sick student has an appointment
at a specialist clinic, we inform the
parents and they accompany us. We
feed our students nutritious food
so they are always in good health”
Nilar Than said.
Boarding schools usually accept
students from surrounding areas
but popular institutions have
students coming from across the
country as well.
More students enroll in boarding
schools because parents are unable

to monitor their kids’ educational
progress due to time constraints,
and parents from far-flung areas
also prefer these institutions so
as they have a better learning
environment.
“There are more boys than girls
in most boarding schools. To be
candid, parents are not able to
manage their children or monitor
them full time. That’s the main
reason they are sending their
kids, especially boys, to boarding
schools. The different atmosphere
motivates students to keep abreast
of their studies. This kind of a
unique lifestyle changes their
unmanageable behaviour and
makes them more studious,” said
a Mandalay-based boarding school
teacher.
Theingi Win, mother of a

matriculation student, said, “I
am busy every day with my own
workload and I’m not able to give
full attention to my children’s
education. That’s the reason I have
been sending my kids to boarding
schools for the whole term. I feel
assured that they are going to
obtain the necessary knowledge as
they are being nurtured in social
skills and gain experience in life on
a daily basis.”
The average cost of sending a
student to a boarding school for a
year could be a minimum of K2.5
million and this amount can be paid
in three installments.
There are 128 private high
schools, including boarding, in the
Mandalay region alone for the 20162017 academic year.
– Translation by Emoon

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Students from Myanmar International School Yangon visiting The Myanmar Times office.  Photo: Naing Lin Soe

Education in Brief
Lae Phyu Pya Myo Myint and Ei Shwe Phyu
Inauguration of the French International School of Yangon
The new French International School of Yangon – Joseph Kessel was inaugurated on
October 17. Created in 1993, the French School is now joining the vast French School
Network that reunites 495 schools and about 342,000 students in 137 countries.
The school in Yangon is welcoming 100 students from 25 different nationalities and
is planning to grow bigger providing a bilingual (French-English) world class education
from toddlers to high school students. The aim is to make them benefit from the French
academic excellence and prepare them for further studies in the best universities in France,
Myanmar and around the world.
Youth Event at Foster Education Foundation
Foster Education Foundation held its Youth and Future Educational Choice event at
Sanchaung township’s Coffee Circle on August 6. The foundation, established one and
a half years ago, is an organisation providing school education and vocational training
to young people in villages. Youths in remote areas with poor transportation, especially
in Chin and Shan states, Sagaing and Yangon regions, do not have access to this kind of
education.
The foundation was established by Salai Bawi Vung Thaung and Yan Naing Oo, and its
leading members are Nay Oke Saint Paul, Zin Mar Oo, Sui Cia Kham and Tha Uke. Some
of them, who are involved in teaching the youths, explained about the activities and
challenges of the foundation. They also mentioned how students, teachers and parents
have difficulties regarding their kids pursuit of education, the prevailing situation of
education in villages and the role of the Youth and Future Educational Choice project.
Launching of Fulbrighters’ Diaries
A book launching ceremony for Myanmar Fulbrighters’ Diaries was held on July 3 at Orchid
Hotel in Botataung township. The book outlines the experience of nine former Fulbright
scholars who spent their time in the United States. They revealed how they persevered
in securing the scholarship and their struggles in a new environment. The book contains
personal details and also their outlook on politics, education and health sectors. The
Diaries was published by the Myanmar Fulbright Alumni Association.
The Fulbright Scholarship Program was founded by US Senator J William Fulbright in
1946. Since then, the US Department of State annually selects students across the globe
who aspires to study in America under the scholarship. Although, Myanmar students were
selected for the scholarship even before 1950, the process to send them was suspended
in the late 1980s. However, the selections resumed in 2007 and 73 students have won the
scholarship until this year.
MISY students visit The Myanmar Times
Students from Myanmar International School Yangon, led by teacher Rose Curato, visited
The Myanmar Times office on June 2. They were on a study visit to witness firsthand how an
international-standard newspaper is being published. During a question and answer session
with the paper’s then Executive Editor Myo Lwin (now the deputy Editor-in-Chief), students
raised several questions, especially how the paper is produced daily. Some interesting
questions were who owns the newspaper, CEO’s salary, do reporters and editors draw cartoons
themselves, who does the daily pagination and how editors come up with punchy headlines.
Curato and her fun-loving students were indeed pleased with the visit, as she explained
later, “It inspired the class to do their project [newspaper and TV news] better. They said
after their visit to the Myanmar Times, the way they read newspapers will take a different
meaning in their lives from now on.”
– Translation by Thiri Min Htun

Opening of the French International School of Yangon.  Photo: Zarni Phyo

Guests at the youth event at Foster Education Foundation.  Photo: Supplied

Attendees at the launching of Myanmar Fulbrighters’ Diaries.  Photo: Supplied

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4

6

2
8

Trendy
Myanmar
accessories

a hit among youngsters

3

1

5

7
  Photos: Nyein Su Wai Kyaw Soe (Courtesy of Vestige Store)

Lae Phyu Pya Myo Myint

A

ccessories carrying brand name
with authentic Myanmar designs are
becoming popular among youngsters.
Despite foreign products flooding the
local market, teenagers treasure caps,
clothing, bags, books and key chains printed
with ancient Myanmar kanoke (wavy floral
designs) on historical figures, such as General
Mahabandoola who fought against the British
in the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824-26) or
olden-day Myanmar damsels and places, such
as Mandalay or Bagan.
Young hipsters are also seen strutting
around wearing necklaces and earrings
artistically crafted and studded with natural
gem stones.

Some fashionable accessories for
youngsters:
1. Warm clothing and T-shirts with Myanmar
design. Available for both genders.
2. Young people are interested in caps
designed in Myanmar art patterns.
3. Girls, especially, like colourful coarse cloth
backpacks, designed like gunny sacks, with
different traditional art sketches.
4. Both boys and girls like Myanmar art design
books.
5. Necklaces and earrings artistically crafted
and studded with natural gem stones.
6. Myanmar alphabets on ancient Myanmar
art design bags.
7. Postcards depicting olden-day Myanmar
women and Myanmar lion paper clips.
8. Look-alike palm-leaf inscription accessories.
– Translation by San Layy

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Which techno-trainings suit me best?
For students wishing to be part of the digital economy, plenty of courses are now
available and they can study from the comfort of their homes
Kyi Tha Maung

P

roliferation of mobile phone
users and easy access to the
internet via mobile devices
have a great impact on the social
life of everyone in Myanmar. However in offices, personal computers
(PCs) are still widely used. Although
giant tech companies are trying to
narrow the gap between PCs and
mobile devices, the future of tablets
replacing PCs in offices is not on
the horizon yet.
The aim of learning new
information and communications
technology (ICT) is to utilise them
in whatever one does. If there is a
disparity between what a person
learns and where one employs it, it
would just be a waste of both time
and labour. The same holds true,
for learning something without
knowing for sure what your
objective is.
Therefore, young high school
students or university graduates
who often attend ICT trainings
should have a clear picture of the
specific course they plan to attend.

Today, keyboards have replaced
paperwork and most office work
is being done on computers. So, if
someone has basic knowledge in
using the computer, such as the
Microsoft Office Suite application,
and is internet savvy, there will be
more opportunities for them during
their studies or at work.
In the past, computer training
lines in Myanmar were generally
divided as software or hardware
courses. Beginning 2005, Web
Developer and Web Designer
subjects became popular. A decade
later, a new trend with specific
major like programming language
courses, mobile application
development courses and mobile
phone repair studies emerged.
There are basic computer skills
classes for those who do not aim
to be IT professionals but just
wish to acquire fundamental tech
knowledge to do their job well. For
this group, there are many training
schools like the KMD Computer
Centre, MCC Computer Training
Centre and Assembler Computer
Centre in Yangon, Mandalay and in

Basic computer skills classes are available for those wishing to acquire fundamental
tech knowledge.  Photo: Staff

An online teacher reaching out to students across the globe.  Photo: AFP

major towns and cities across the
country, where one can complete
the training within a few months.
For students living in remote
areas or those who have
perseverance, there is another
option – self-study – which can
be done by purchasing their own
tutorial text books and by surfing
the internet at home or at any
other place where a computer is
available for a designated time.
Basic computer skills classes
aim only at understanding the
computer system and being able
to use different kinds of office-use
software.
Hardware courses are for
computer repairing and they
are often offered together with
networking subjects. There was a
time before the infiltration of the
internet when hardware courses
were more popular and there were
a lot of job opportunities for serious

learners of that course. Right now,
under the hardware category,
mobile phone repair courses have
become the most favourite.
Desktop Publishing (DTP)
courses, once generally known
among local students as “computer
composing and typing”, mainly
teach page formatting design
courses, including Photoshop or
PageMaker software. Now, there
are separate courses for design
software and, moreover, everyone
can have easy access to self-study
lessons, instructional videos and
websites for learning Photoshop
and PageMaker.
There are many more options to
choose from for software engineer
courses. Where once software
engineering was taught as a general
subject, now there are separate
modules as Web Developer, Web
Designer and Mobile Application
Developer.

Until recently, 90 percent of job
recruitments for programmers used
to be graduates from universities
specialising in ICT. But, during
this internet age, applicants who
have a thorough knowledge of a
specific programming language
and experience in line with job
requirements are more likely to be
hired.
On-job-training (OJT) is becoming
a common practice here. Lessexperienced programmers are
being called in as interns and
some OJTs may charge fees for the
training.
With a sudden explosion in
the mobile market in Myanmar,
it is not unusual to witness more
people having an interest in mobile
application and mobile repairing.
Even then, we still have to be
dealing with computers and PCs at
our offices for some time to come.
– Translation by Zaw Nyunt