Assembly discuss education, digital literacy, intellectual property
The 5th-day meeting of the 11th regular session of the Second Pyithu Hluttaw was held in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.
MPs raised questions on possible impediments in student enrolment, supporting university students from remote areas, and consequences of matriculation exams during question time, read a report from the Government’s Guarantees, Pledges and Undertakings Vetting Committee, tabled a motion for a digital literacy framework, and approved the Intellectual Property rights Bill sent back from the Amyotha Hluttaw.
Relinquishing recommendation processes for student enrolment
Firstly, U Myo Nyunt from Homalin constituency raised a question on whether there were plans to lessen the requirement for (a) students two months younger than the required age for school enrolment to acquire a signed recommendation from the township education officer, (b) students three months younger than the required age for school enrolment to acquire a signed recommendation from the district education officer, and (c) acquiring a signed recommendation from the township education officer for procuring transfer certificates (TC).
The Union Minister for Education, Dr. Myo Thein Gyi, replied that children under 5 years old are given an assessment test at the school and is decided by the evaluation board on whether to accept the child or not. He said if the board approves, the child is given immediate entry into the school. He said the requirement for a township or district education officer’s recommendation is a formal office procedure to maintain a transparent record, and will not create any hinderances to students’ education opportunities.
The Union Minister said beginning from the capacity building courses for educators initiated at the Administrative Training School (Htaukkyant) in May 2018, only TCs between states and regions require a signed recommendation from the Tsp education officer. He said transferring within the state or region no longer requires the signed recommendation, unless the school in question only has an interim principal in charge.
Supporting university students from remote areas
U Tin Nu (a) U Tin Nu Aung from Manaung constituency raised a question asking if there were any plans to support students from remote areas, and townships receiving stipends, who have passed the matriculation exams and are willing to attend higher colleges and training schools. Dr. Myo Thein Gyi replied that according to the pre-workplace teaching diploma course selection for students from remote areas who passed the matriculation exams, the State and Regional governments have increased the acceptance quota of relevant education college courses up to 10 per cent of the selected applicants. He said Sagaing University of Education and Yangon University of Education also accepts applicants who meet the specified criteria. In addition, Yangon, Mandalay, and most universities select matriculation exam qualifiers from remote areas as students up to 2 per cent of their intended quota for every subject.
Consequences of matriculation exams on practical development
U Saw Kyaw Win Maung of Kyaikmaraw constituency raised a question asking if there were plans to amend the matriculation exam result requirements to enter specific universities, as it can damage the practical development of students.
Dr. Myo Thein Gyi replied that they have planned for the practical development of college-entry students by providing vocational trainings, undergraduate courses, and diploma courses in order to acquire job opportunities. He said there are also plans for students who wish to attend advance education universities by providing help in the application process and to design a lifetime learning roadmap for students pursuing tertiary education.
Dr. Myo Thein Gyi said they are planning to provide high school diplomas to external students who pass the high school exams, adding that this will help them pursue their preferred vocational training courses without disrupting their jobs.
Following this, the Union Minister for Education and Union Election Commission Member U Than Htay replied to questions raised by U Aung Khin Win from Myaing constituency, U Stephen from Kengtung constituency, U Tin Aye from Metmung constituency, and U Maung Myint from Mingin constituency.
Report read and submitted
Next, U Aung Thein from the Pyithu Hluttaw Government’s Guarantees, Pledges and Undertakings Vetting Committee read his committee’s report. Speaker U T Khun Myat then called for MPs interested in discussing the report to register their names.
Motion to establish digital literacy framework
Daw Zin Mar Aung from Yankin constituency tabled a motion urging the Union government to establish a national strategy and a digital literacy framework to swiftly raise digital literacy in the country.
She explained that while the number of mobile phone users continue to rise in Myanmar, the vast majority of users do not have the knowledge or skills to use their phones safely or effectively. She said Myanmar has just signed the ASEAN Work Programme on Electronic Commerce 2017-2025. She said digital literacy is essential for implementing goals 4 (quality education) and 8 (decent work and economic growth) of the Sustainable Development Program. She said 75 per cent of mobile users possess smartphones but do not have the knowledge to effectively use it to its full potential. She said most people in Myanmar do not know how to use smartphones to support their education and employment opportunities and are instead stuck on using social networks. She said the Union government needs to establish a digital literacy framework to ensure Myanmar’s citizens can reap the full benefits of the Digital Age.
U Sai Oo Kham of Hsenwi constituency seconded the motion. The Hluttaw approved of discussing the motion and Speaker U T Khun Myat called for MPs interested in discussing the report to register their names.
Amended Intellectual Property Bill approved
Next up, The Intellectual Property Rights Bill, send back with amendments from the Amyotha Hluttaw, was submitted by committee member Dr. Wai Phyo Aung, who proceeded to read the bill. The Speaker approved the bill after gathering the deliberation of the Hluttaw.
The 6th-day meeting of the 11th regular session of the Second Pyithu Hluttaw will be held tomorrow.
By Aye Aye Thant (MNA)
(Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)