Key Education Reforms Will Start at Rangoon University, Suu Kyi Says
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Key Education Reforms Will Start at Rangoon University, Suu Kyi Says

Singer  Wine Su Khing Thein  in NLD Education Network 2 Years  fundraising event  on Dec 27.

Singer Wine Su Khing Thein in NLD Education Network 2 Years fundraising event on Dec 27. (Photo: JPaing / The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON—Reforming Burma’s underfunded and outdated education system is a key priority for raising living standards in the country and rebuilding higher education will start with improving academic education at Rangoon University, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Thursday .

Education reforms, Suu Kyi said, “cannot wait until our country has peace. Work needs to begin now.” “The day we can build a good foundation for education in our country will be the day that we do not have to worry about our future anymore.”

Suu Kyi was speaking at the start of a two-day NLD youth event organized by the party’s Education Network near Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon, which was attended by hundreds of people. It aimed to put a focus on rebuilding education and raise funds for this effort.

“Our country is poor because of the [old government] system and it was not because of the people. In order to change the system, we need good education,” the NLD leader said. She added that rebuilding higher education would start with raising academic standards at Rangoon University.

“We have chosen to start our reforms of the education system with Rangoon University, because it is easy to start here and effective. It is not because it is located in Rangoon,” she said. “This university used to have a good reputation in Asia. But, it has no place any more in Asia … as we had a bad [government] system.”

The Burmese schools system suffered greatly under the former military junta as all aspects of teaching came under tight control of the central government after 1974. Education budgets were slashed in favor of military spending, which took about 25 percent of spending, compared to 1.3 percent for education.

President Thein Sein has pledged to improve education and seek foreign expertise to lift education standards. Education spending was increased from US $340 million to $740 million, although this is still considered inadequate. A new higher education bill is currently being drafted by the Lower House.

Aung Min, a minister of the President’s Office, also attended the rally and briefly addressed the crowd. “Education is a national interest for all our people. We need to work together on this issue,” he said.

He said achieving peace with ethnic groups was important for this effort, adding, “We need national peace and reconciliation to let our children get an education.”

Suu Kyi said, “I want all people to think about what you can do to reform the education system in our country. Those who have money they can donate it, or those who only have labor, please donate your labor or encourage the success of the reform.”

She also stressed that Burma’s different population groups should learn each other’s language to foster mutual understanding and urged people to respect and aspire to have a good education.

At the NLD event, a hand-knit woolen sweater that the democracy icon had made for her children while she was living in England was auctioned for $49,000 to Shwe FM. “It is priceless because the sweater was made my `Amay’ herself,” Daw Nan Mauk Lao Sai, chairwoman of Shwe FM radio station, told the AP.

Several companies also contributed money. Sky Net donated about $150,000, MDG gave about $12,000 and $58,000 came from the Htoo Company—which is owned by Tay Za, a business crony of the former military regime who is on the US sanctions’ list.


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11 Responses to Key Education Reforms Will Start at Rangoon University, Suu Kyi Says

  1. This is so wired….our Noble prize holder is busy with fund raising while Kachin ppl are dying cos of Thein Sein’s government..and she didn’t say a single word or concern about that….oh..come on..tell me who gave you this Peace prize…and you are still saying that you want to become a president..it will be the same result like Thein sein government…

    • My Kachin girl,Education is for all.Neither kachin nor Burmese.Don’t mass-up between humanization and political.Talking about the war that kill on both side this is the one that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the Government working on it and be patience .Please,Understand the situation and the root cause that created the WAR.Look, What type of weapons that they are carrying and where is come from ? Who is behind the KIA?I believed you know the answer, no doub that, is CHINA.This is become complicated matter,Unless KIA understand,what going on and what we going to loss to China ?China was never been good to Burma. That why we can’t achieve the PEACE and can’t stop the WAR.Right now, KIA must realize the situation accept the negotiation and PEACE talk with Burmese government to save innocent kacchin people.I love Kachin people as well as Burmese .We are the same root.Irrawaddy was born by the mother of Mount Kakaboyazy.I hate Myanmar army before and now not anymore.We are now started looking for the lost needle in the ocean.Be Patience my Kachin girl.

    • Do not blame her. While KIA had the ceasefire DASSK was in detention and other ethnic were butchered. I am sure she is doing the best and there is one Kachin girl in Burma parliament push her to talk about the Kachin’s plight instead of resources sharing.

  2. Thein Sein is the president in name, but our Daw Suu is the one who is running the country. Without Daw Suu, Burma might be still 100% under military. Now, education reform is in her hands. What does Thein Sein do? Does he have any single idea how and what to reform?

  3. Both Aung Min and ASSK said the right things. A civil war is no basis for anything good. Nor can education wait. But relying on charity is no proper basis for anything good either in a civilised state. More to the point when are the students going to reoccupy RU? It’s long overdue. And where’s the new union building? One might be forgiven to think Thein Sein could play Santa Claus. Peace on earth and goodwill to all men, huh? Maybe not all men, women or children.

  4. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has touched on a very critical area for our homeland- education….which needs to be revised and upgraded to reach the levels necessary for our present and future needs. First of all, not only do we need to upgrade the academic levels but the urgency also is in raising our moral and ethical standards….there have been instances of parents helping their children to cheat in exams for higher grades…what is the use of that when the grades they receive are through dubious means?…Parents and teachers are supposed to be the models of behavior..they are the ones who socialize these children at young ages..they are supposed to exercise moral authority for young and old…maybe it is pure idealism to regard them as such but they have much responsibility and accountability….plagiarism is rampant throughout Asia….Someone had mentioned that it is a form of flattery in Asia to copy another person’s writing…but please give that credit also to the author who have spent time doing research and hopefully coming up with new ideas. Many senior academics have been using their knowledge and writing skills for generating projects and papers for the new university students…many might be doing that for practical reasons..they do not have enough to survive in the run-away inflationary environment? But….are they contributing to increasing knowledge for the younger generation?

    How do we change the mind-set of the people to instill self respect in themselves? How can we prohibit them from engaging in activities which condone cheating, lying, stealing etc., ?How can we get them to become independent thinkers and not depend on others for ideas and views? How can we get them to enhance their creative thinking skills?
    Can Burma handle all these changes? WE cannot be discouraged easily by unchanging situations ..We need keep on the track before these changes materialize. It would take a strong sense of discipline, responsibility, accountability on the part of everyone to uplift Burma to stand tall in this global age. I hope and pray we can do it!!!

    • Blame it on the people, workers, teachers, doctors, civil servants, everyone else but the rulers and policy makers, why don’t you? They are all doing it the world over. It’s never the socioeconomic order in which the captive populace is compelled to live and work in BSPP (Ma Hsa La) before, SLORC and SPDC next, now the UMEHL and the cronies, all great role models.

      A cultural sea change with the morals turned on their head happened. It’s going to be an unenviable and arduous Herculean task undoing the damage and healing the deep festering wounds, and we haven’t even taken the first tentative steps yet, only an awful lot of rhetoric.

      Oh, just a teensy weensy problem. The fox is still in charge of the chicken coop. And our bountiful land? They are trying to cut the goose open because they can’t wait for a whole bunch more of the golden eggs.

  5. Education is top priority. Education is more than school and classroom or skill training. Given the right education, we can learn to live in harmony and peace.

  6. George Than Setkyar Heine

    Daw Suu looks like an “OCTOPUS” day by day I say.
    Given the situation and scope of what’s happening today in Burma Thein Sein would be OUT OF A JOB sooner than you think guys!
    I reckon San Zarni Bo’s prediction ” Daw Suu would become the president of Burma in 2014….” could be right and forthcoming as well.
    However, in case his above prediction – Daw Suu getting the president job in 2014 and continuing well beyond 2015 – holds true then Than Shwe’s Nargis constitution could be inevitably ‘amended’ to facilitate Daw Suu getting the president post in 2014 and continue way beyond 2015 no doubt.
    That is MOST WELCOME for the people of Burma of course.
    However, my question of the day is …
    What would be your priority….Daw Suu becoming president of Burma in 2014
    or
    Preventing KIA stronghold LAIZA falling into the hands of China chosen Min Aung Hlaing’s Burmese forces imminent and inevitable if left unattended like today and at the mercy of the Burma Army (mercenary force) paid by the Chinese Reds in Beijing to protect their interests (Myitsone Dam Project, rails,roads and pipelines etc.) and meet their deadline in 2013?

  7. When we say Burmese education is outdated and behind most of the countries around the world, the statement may be generally true. But, I like to break down education branches to criticize more precisely. First of all, lets us split 2 breanches of education and discuss on the subject. We can split education into 2 groups (1) Science and (2) Arts. In science it includes Math and it’s related subjects (Which Burmese students can still be proud of their knowledge), Physic, Chemistry, Biology, Drafting, Designing, Archetect, Engineering, anatomy (Both human and animals), medical studies, Mechanist and techanitions, computer science, software engineer and designer and many more are leg behind global standard as much as a century. The important question is how will government and Aung San Suu Kyi help to fix it? Every oxymoron knows we have the problem and publicly speak out the existing problem for popularity and did not contributing any solution to solve really bother me. I just mention science part.
    Lets take a look at art. (1) Language studies (Can Burmese people study any languages?). Are there enough resources in the country to study languages? (2) Creative writting (Can Burmese people be free thinker after more than 60 years of tyranny?) (3) Philosophy (4)Political Science (5)Law and justice (6) business administration (8) Global stock exchange systems and many more subjects. Many of the subjects doesn’t exist in Burma or just existed in name and under seriously control by Military regime. Can Burmese education reform in reality? Can Education reform by government control? If the government do not stay out of the students’ class room reform is just a pretty word for vote collection, nothing more. Schools do not need government except funding. Government should reform itself before government talk about reforming Education.

  8. I approached the Myanmar Embassy in Washington DC and their UN Rep office in NY 6 times in the last 4 months offering them new professional websites that were as good as Irrawaddy.org (built on WordPress) but they are too preoccupied and overwhelmed with their basic jobs to even respond to me. Sooner or later they will start to get it that they need massive technology investments immediately and their inadequate 1990′s web technology is holding the entire nation behind. It’s sad really. To be offered a hand to pull their entire Foreign Affairs Department into this century but refuse to even respond. They could process 10 times the amount of visa’s they do now with modern websites and online forms. Irrawaddy.org uses the “LinePress Theme” http://www.gabfirethemes.com/themes/linepress/ and it’s beautifully maintained. When the government finally get’s it, 100 departments there will run on WordPress as well.

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