Roundtable discussions on Educational Reforms

Education5 72By Nandar Win, Win Win Maw, Photo: Win Win

In a broadcast on the Myanma Radio and Television in collaboration with the Department of Alternative Education (Non-formal Education and Lifelong Learning), the topics of roundtable discussion on the role of teachers and additional recruitment of male teachers are discussed. The panelists are Dr. Than Oo, Director-General (Retired), Basic Education Department, Ministry of Education; U Ko Lay Win, Director-General (Duty), Basic Education Department, Ministry of Education; Dr. Aung Aung Min, Deputy Director-General, Higher Education Department, Ministry of Education; Dr. Win Aung and U Tun Hla, Members of National Educational Policy Commission; U Soe Tun Tun Naing, Principal, Basic Education Middle School No. (9), Insein Township, Yangon Region; U Lin Lin Htaik, Senior Assistant Teacher, Basic Education High School No. (4), Thingangyun Township, Yangon Region; Maung Arhman Htet, Fifth Year Student, Yangon University of Education.

Moderator: Kindly explain the vital role of teachers.
Dr. Than Oo: Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The SDGs are part of Resolution 70/1 of the United Nations General Assembly. Goal number four is quality education, and that lifelong learning opportunity is also included. This vision has been incorporated in our Myanmar Educational Policy in 2016-2021 with emphasis on the role of teachers.
Myanmar National Education Law, enacted on 30 September 2014, is designed to reform the country’s outdated education system. Chapter 9 clearly outlined for the teachers that they shall be broad-minded to contribute to national and community development; shall love, value, protect and develop democratic practices; shall have a sense of responsibility regarding their job, love and value their occupation, and be good models for students; to teach at the basic education level, shall have a teacher education degree, diploma, certificate or equivalent certification.
In accordance with our Myanmar tradition and culture, the teachers are highly valued and receive esteemed in Myanma society. When we talked about teachers, it covered female teachers as well as male teachers. We could look back the situation of male teachers and female teachers in the past era.
Before the Second World War, there were three types of private schools such as that of English medium teaching schools, that of Anglo- Myanmar bilingual schools, and that of Vernacular schools.
At that time, the number of male teachers is more than female teachers. At the end of Second World War, most of the teachers went on retirement, and then reorganized the schools into two types namely State Primary School and State Post – Primary. At that juncture, the number of male teachers decreased.
I was serving as Principal of High School in 1954 and found that most of the schools had lesser male teachers. When I was serving as Principal at the Teachers Training School, I had noticed that the number of male teachers is much less. After 1964, the number of male teachers went down and the number of female teachers increased. At this roundtable discussion, we would find the cause and its solution.

Moderator: Please tell us why it is necessary to have balanced gender of teachers.
U Tun Hla: According to the. The Five National Education Policy, we are driving for the multifaceted development including five powers of strengths. The five Strengths are physical strength, mental strength, wealth strength, social strength and moral strength. Therefore, we need equal ratio of male teachers and female teachers.

Moderator: Please discuss on the number of gap between male and female teachers.
U Ko Lay Win: In the basic education sector, we have (47,005) schools, assigned with (402,374) teachers with the ratio of (17) per cent males and (83) per cent females. As we are heading towards multifaceted development with the aim of five powers of strength in nurturing students as fine citizens, we need gender equality in teaching.
In some schools, we found that not even a single male teacher is there, and, it is quite obvious the need in recruiting more male teachers for these schools. With this backdrop of female and male gender gap, we need to formulate better education policy through the roundtable discussion.
Moreover, the intended reform in the education sector is required to inform the public through the roundtable dissuasion as desired by the Ministry of Education and the Union Minister. The aim and objective is in convincing the public to appreciate and approve the profession of teachers and to attractive male teachers.

Moderator: Please explain the selection plan.
Dr. Aung Aung Min: Those who passed the Matriculation Examination are allowed to attend the Yangon University of Education. When we checked the information and data for the past five years, we found that the number of female students that passed the exam is more, and that the number of female applicants to the University is more.
In the selection process, we have to consider in all aspects to get gender equality on the basis such as that of the different townships, that of the combination of different subjects, that of the male and female ratio in particular township, that of the number of students to fill in the gap from other district and region. However, the statistics and information showed that the number of male students from Yangon Region and Mandalay Region is far to less in the application for teaching profession.
Moreover, the data and figures from Kayah State and Shan State (East) showed that the number of male applicants is not many. Our selection process is mainly based such as that of the situation of township, that of the subjects and combinations; that of the number of basic education students, that of the male and female gender equality.

Moderator: Please explain the status and situation of the application for teachers training.
Dr. Aung Aung Min: We invited applications through the newspaper advertisement, and we processed the selection through proper rules and regulations.
We found some difficulty this year as we have (5914) students passed the Matriculation Examination with arts combination, and that (3463) students had applied to attend University of Education. The number and situation is quite satisfactory, and the condition is favorable as we desired.
However, our selection rule and standard is based on township circumstances, which started five to six years ago permitting the students in applying as they preferred in the whole of the country.
It was also based on the examination marks achieved. Therefore, those who passed from Yangon and from Mandalay may choose to attend in Shan State or Kachin State as they preferred, where they would pursue education at Educational Colleges.
After that, they would join as teachers of Basic Education Department, and they might work for one or two years. Next, they would transfer back to the State or Region that they have belonged either in Yangon or in Mandalay. These transfer cases are occurring heavily in the basic education sphere that we have to deal with, and that when they transferred to another place, they had made vacuums in the schools without basic education teachers.
It has been two years that we started the fresh selection system at various townships for the applications, and accepted them at relevant Education Colleges. When they graduated from the college, the Department of Education assigned them to the nearest school with the home of the students. This is best option in assigning the teachers and also in the subsequent transfer cases, and therefore, we are sensibly applying this principle.

(To be continued) Translated UMT (Ahlon)

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