The Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, the Ministry of Ethnic Affairs and the Nay Pyi Taw Council held press briefings on their 4th-year performances yesterday.
Ministry of Education
Union Minister for Education Dr Myo Thein Gyi first explained implementations of the ministry in line with the12 priority works for national education development, including early childhood care and development, primary level education at minimum and creating opportunities all citizens to access middle and higher level education, completion of primary school all school-aged children and prioritizing children facing physical, mental, nutritional, economic hardships or those in remote areas to access education, collaboration with state/regional government in adopting school curriculum into ethnic languages for children of ethnic nationals at the primary level through, and elevating ethnic languages and culture, management on suitable teacher to student ratio, generating the subject expertise and teaching capabilities of teachers of various schools, helping all citizens have access to basic education and prioritizing schools or underdeveloped regions (especially middle schools and high schools with inadequate school supplies), organizing supplementary vocational training for individuals without insufficient educational opportunities, providing assistance to colleges and universities to develop their own curriculum and academic autonomy to develop international standard curricula and education systems, promoting technological and vocational training to same level as university education, avoiding burden on student parents or the community due to the education system, systematic allocation of educational budgets provided by the Union Government, the private sector and from sources home and abroad are used in the most efficient manner and working on education reforms, management and research programmes based on accurate information.
The Union Minister detailed about these topics, focusing on the numbers of basic education schools, teachers and school children across the country in the previous academic year, the basic learning programmes in 2018 and 2019; direct entrance applications to the University of Yangon and the University of Mandalay, as well as the affiliated universities of these universities, own management of these universities, coordination with foreign universities and institutions, education exchange programmes; applied education for respective areas, creating burden-free education services with supplying school children with books free of charge, and the 9-times increase in educational budget from 2011-2012 to 2019-2020 academic year.
The Union Minister added the budgets are allocated transparently under monitoring of the people, Hluttaw representatives, region/state governments and other stakeholders, tender procedures of the ministry is carried out in line with the Order 1/2017 of the President’s Office after posting tender invitations on the websites of Union ministry, relevant departments and universities.
The Ministry of Education is implementing the Education Management Information System (EMIS), creating software for the module (5) of HR, BE, HE/TVET, AE, Procurement/Finance and training programmes for this software, drafting the Departmental Annual Implementation Plan (DAIP), the drafting of School Quality Assurance Standards Framework (SQASF), Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, preparing for the phase 1 of Communication, Situation Analysis and creation of social inclusion posters.
In response to the media questions, Director-General from the Department of Myanmar Examinations U Myo Nyunt said about the ongoing works for issuing the results of 2020 matriculation exams, and the media will be informed on the date of exam results which will be announced first online on the situations of COVID-19 to prevent social distancing and the norm announcement will be made when the situations have returned to normality.
The Union Minister and officials answered the questions about teaching and learning of ethnic languages at the primary schools, appointments of teachers, safety measures against COVID-19 when schools are reopened, special plans for the schools in the areas of confirmed cases, budget expenditures, accommodation, management on the shops under the ministry at Bogyoke Market, supplementary salaries to the teachers for teaching ethnic languages, preparations for distancing in classrooms.
Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement
Union Minister Dr Win Myat Aye explained the 4th- year performance of the his ministry. He said the ministry continues to ensure the rights of every citizen in order for them to develop and grow safely. In order to do that, the ministry has increased its budget proposals every financial year and received K120.8 billion in 2019-2020 financial year, a seven-fold increase from K18.5 billion in 2016-2017 financial year.
The Department of Social Welfare is working in line with the Child Rights Law enacted on 23 July 2019 and the Early Childhood Development Law to ensure the safety of children and their regular development. In the 2017-2018 financial year, the ministry provided K15,000 to each mother in Chin, Rakhine, Kayin and Kayah states, and the Naga Self-Administered Zone which are low on the child nutrition index, and will expand the programme to Ayeyawady Region and Shan State in 2019-2020 financial year.
The ministry has opened 7 residential nurseries for orphaned children and will be able to open an additional one that can house a hundred children in Nay Pyi Taw within this year thanks to a donation from the Orphans Reduction and Protection Association. New nurseries are opened each year and ten new ones were opened in 2019-2020 and ECCD training courses for teachers are opened to ensure nurseries are run systematically. The ministry has opened 1,202 maternity circles in areas that are unable to open nurseries yet.
The Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) was conducted as a pilot project in Yangon, Ayeyawady and Sagaing regions and Mon State where it was implemented on 7,536 persons in 2019-2020 financial year. A policy related to developing youths has been drafted in the ministry’s fourth year and is on track to be approved. Youth centers are being established across the nation with first one opened in Sagaing Region.
The ministry has opened youth training centres for young people serving punishments in Thanlyin, Nghat Ou San, Mandalay and Mawlamyine. Since the legal definition for children is anyone under 18 years of age, the number of children requiring protection has increased threefold and requires setting up additional dormitories and training centers and assigning more staff.
The Myanmar National Committee on Women was formed with 11 civil society organizations and aims for female development. The ministry is working for the enactment of the Prevention and Protection of Violence Against Women Bill and is also drafting a bill related to sex workers. The ministry began issuing monthly stipends to senior citizens above 85 years old in 2017 and has provided K34.9 billion to 470,821 elderly persons as of 2020.
The Department of Disaster Management is aiming to establish a society resilient to natural disasters and has successfully provided aid to 30 per cent of areas struck by natural disasters within 24 hours, to 60 per cent within 2 days, to 70 per cent within 3 days, and to all occurrences within 7 days.
Meanwhile, the Rehabilitation Department has managed to increase the speed of providing aid and information, increase cooperation with other departments, groups and international organizations, register persons living with disabilities and categorize them, and reintegrating survivors of human trafficking into society.
The ministry has drawn a master strategy to resettle internally displaced persons and close down temporary IDP camps and is currently implementing it. There are 127 IDP camps across Myanmar with 18 in Rakhine State, 84 in Kachin State, 23 in Shan State, and 2 in Kayin State. He said the ministry aims to ensure IDPs can return to their normal lives with security, dignity, and independence.
Dr Win Myat Aye then replied to questions raised by the media on support given to IDP camps. He said action plans for IDP camps were approved in March and are being implemented. He said the nation has spent K2.1 billion and is carrying out action plans for the entire nation, including hard to access locations like Paletwa.
Ministry of Ethnic Affairs
Director-General U Min Aye Ko explained the fourth year performance of the Ministry of Ethnic Affairs. He said auspicious days and traditional celebrations of ethnic races are held at the National Races Village in Yangon. He said they arrange weekly entertainment programmes for the ethnic nationals, including those organized by the various ethnic literature and culture groups, and programmes for gazetted holidays in cooperation with the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture. Courses for traditional dances and instruments of ethnic people are organized as cultural heritage.
The Ethnic Sustainable Development Forum was held in 2018 and the Myanmar Ethnic Entrepreneurs Association was established. The MEEA opened branch offices across the states and regions and have helped MSMEs owned by the ethnic entrepreneurs to showcase their regional products to domestic and foreign markets and create job opportunities. Multiple business forums were held in the states ahead of the Ethnic Sustainable Development Forum in 2020.
Bylaws for ethnic rights protection were enacted on 23 August 2019 to support the Ethnic Rights Protection Law in delivering transparent implementation and effectively resolving disputes. The Ministry of Ethnic Affairs cooperated with the Ministry of Education to develop the ethnic education sector and is replacing language teachers for ethnic languages with teaching assistants and language teachers from abroad in the government schools across the nation in 2019-2020 academic year.
With support from UNICEF, the 25 ethnic literature and culture groups in Kachin, Kayah, Kayin and Mon states completed compiling regional curricula and the ministry will continue cooperating with UNICEF for the remaining curricula for other ethnic races. The ministry has printed 34 million KG storybooks in 66 ethnic languages and Burmese and distributed 1 million of them across the states and regions.
The Ministry of Ethnic Affairs has coordinated with the Ministry of Education to allow the use of ethnic names when first registering for schools, with the Ministry of Health and Sports for registering ethnic names in birth certificates, and with the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population for including ethnic names in NRC cards.
Ethnic youths can now learn how to produce finished gems products at the vocational schools set up by Su Htoo Pan Education Foundation and were given verification by the relevant regional/state ethnic affairs minister and vetting process of the Ministry of Ethnic Affairs. The first batch of the school was given free education for a year, with six months on school learning and 6 months of on-job training, in Mandalay starting on 18 June 2019. The same foundation helps the graduates set up SME businesses as well.
Next, Director-General U Win Naing replied to a question from the media on teaching ethnic literature and appointment of teachers. He said they coordinate with the regional literature and culture groups and government officials and teach within school hours in some states and regions while doing so outside schools hours in others.
U Win Naing said the teachers in some schools teach the ethnic languages themselves and the ministry reviews additional applications for language teachers. He said 67 ethnic literature is being taught in this academic year and will continue to strive for the remaining ethnic literature as well.
Nay Pyi Taw Council
Nay Pyi Taw Council Secretary U Khin Maung Aye explained the works on development programmes in education, health and other infrastructural developments with the Union funds, Union Hluttaw Development funds, Nay Pyi Taw Council funds and private donations in the previous four years of present government, spending a total of K275,249.948 million.
All the annual projects were implemented in Nay Pyi Taw, and the approximate figure on amount of average production and service value of individuals for 2017-2018FY was K1,028,894.6 million and has been targeted to reach K2,029,952 million for 2019-2020FY. The Nay Pyi Taw Council has been allowed to spend K112,266.554 million for 850 projects under the six topics for 2019-2020 FY. Permanent Secretary U Myo Aung and Director-General U Min Min Zaw from the Nay Pyi Taw Development Committee answered to the media questions about the land plots for foreign embassies in Nay Pyi Taw, changes of land plots between Chinese embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other discussions with respective embassies on this issue.
The countries which have contracted for land use are Bangladesh and Malaysia; those which have contracted for changes of land lots are Brunei and China; those which are in the process of land lease agreement are Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Brazil; the United States, the Philippines, Indonesia, Nepal, Russia, Turkey, Singapore, Kuwait, Korea, India, Thailand and the World Bank have proposed to lease the lands at the diplomatic zone.
Officials also explained tax relaxation plans for the retreatants in Nay Pyi Taw for the three months of closures during the COVID-19 crisis and other development programmes.
Next press briefings
The Union Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Construction and the Central Bank of Myanmar will hold press conferences on 15 June.—Han Myo Soe, K Tar (Translated by Aung Khin, Zaw Htet Oo)