State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi addressed the International Youth Day 2019 held at the Myanmar International Convention Centre-II (MICC-II) Nay Pyi Taw yesterday morning.
In her address State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said the day’s event was held not only for youths but also for the entire education system. The theme of International Youth Day 2019 was transforming education with youth and looking at the theme will see two main points. The first was reform and another was education. For reform, two things can be considered. One was to reform the past situation as it should be changed and another was to create a new future on our own and reforming.
There were slight differences in the two. For a country like Myanmar that was lagging behind in development both reforms were needed. It was important to change the status of being left behind in the past and to change what ought to be changed. In addition to this a status of being able to change and create the future was needed. A poem prayer was recalled when considering what changes were to be made. The poem prayer says may we have the courage to change.
May we have the courage to change and have the ability to withstand the change and may we have enough foresight to differentiate what ought to be changed and what should not be changed.
Human beings were different from other animals in changing. Animals change through a long and slow process of evolution. Only human beings have the ability to create huge changes during a period of revolution. Due to those changes our world had become better or worse. It had progressed or regressed. That was why we all must think what ought to be changed, what were to be changed and how. Only a person with knowledge can implement this. We need knowledge and foresight. Looking at the word education or knowledge it is more meaningful to have both knowledge and foresight. The main aim of our education system was to have foresight. Providing education was to have foresight towards facing life problems. A decision must be correctly made on how to face and overcome an issue. That was why it would be more complete to have both knowledge and foresight. If knowledge alone was mentioned, it would mean the knowledge or education gained in a class. Having passed grades and acquiring degrees would not make us have foresight.
That was why our education system must aim towards having the ability in both knowledge and foresight. Youths are better than older persons in acquiring education. Due to sharing times between earning a livelihood and giving time for the family older persons could not give full time towards obtaining an education or knowledge. The advantage of youths was having all the time towards obtaining an education or knowledge. But not all youths have this advantage. This was something that needed to be changed. The education system must be all-inclusive enabling participation regardless of being rich or poor or from rural or urban areas. Only then can all youth have the main advantage they had over older persons and use it to the full extent. This would be a matter of the government. Efforts needed to be made to ensure that all youths acquire education according to the government policy.
The effort towards achieving an education would depend on whether Myanmar was rich or poor. When a country was rich it could provide full support towards the youth education system. This could not be done to the full extent in a poor country. Myanmar was not a poor country but neither was it a developed country. She was striving towards development. Thus she could not use as much as she wanted on the education system. How could this be overcome? All this could be overcome through working together in cooperation.
Youths also need to take responsibility for their education. The government would take responsibility for establishing the best education system. Success could be achieved if everyone took care of their responsibilities. Regardless of how good an education system was, look at a rich and developed country and there still would be youth that were not good in education as well as those who were good in education. This did not depend on the country alone. It depended on the families and the youths themselves. For the education system to be changed with the participation of youths, youths must let the government know how best to use the time for the best benefit. This was to be a view of the youth. But having a view alone does not mean it was correct. All need to discuss and exchange views to arrive at an answer. Having an education or knowledge and foresight meant living a meaningful life. All must have a belief of having an ability to give something to the world. This was the main point in an education system.
The main thing was to provide confidence to all Myanmar citizens who went through the education system to have a belief that they were people who would benefit the world. Some thought that this was something only an outstanding person could do. No. Whether a person was of high or low status, from urban or rural area, where ever they were they can all live a meaningful life that benefitted their neighbors. First was to have this will. Nowadays everyone had high values. It must not be forgotten that each one was a part of all. Life would be meaningless if we stood alone. A meaningful life was raising our values to the highest and using it for the best benefit of all. If this could be done we could say the education system was successful.
That was why youths should assist the government to let it know, for their sake as well as for the public, how to use the education system. If there were a will to change, change could be done quickly. In the past two three years the university education system had progressed. But this progress was slow compared to the progress of other universities in the region. Thought should be given to the question why progress was slow. Myanmar was weak in research. Myanmar was weak in language. Myanmar was weak in using website. All three were related. If weaknesses were understood well, more progress could be achieved by putting more efforts in those weak areas. Youths must provide suggestions. Those who were learning could point out the best way to teach in order to learn and those who were teaching also know which way was the most effective.
If teachers and students came together and discuss, the quickest way for developing Myanmar would be found. Although Myanmar was lagging behind in development, socially and culturally, education was not dependent on social status or class. Myanmar’s social and cultural traditions did not say education was for the upper class. There were no norms or standards in this country which said educated persons come from the upper class. There would not be such norms or standards in the future too. The type of education system that needed to be established was an education system where education could be obtained by anyone from any social class. At the moment there were private schools and public schools. To be quite frank about it, public schools should be developed. A system where the well-off parents send their children to private schools should not be encouraged.
Parents send their children to private schools with a view that private schools provide good education. Looking at the world, in some developed countries rich parents send their children to private schools. But some countries were not like that. Development was the same. Public schools were on the same level as private schools. Some were even better. Such a system should be established in Myanmar. We want our country to have an education system that benefits our citizens equally, irrespective of whether they are rich or poor, from urban or rural areas. On a day like today, the International Youth Day, such matters were to be discussed and suggested.
What should be done for public schools to be developed and strengthened? How could support on our education system be increased? Some may have noticed the many changes in these two or three years. Two years was not that long. If a correct policy had been laid down, much progress and obvious changes could be made in two years. The progress and development of our education system must be in line with the world. Myanmar could not go against the world trend. Myanmar must develop as the world develops. Myanmar’s good cultural practices and cultural values should not disappear. Youths need to take note of this. Youth normally envy what others are doing and imitate. But think through clearly. Education or knowledge is the ability to evaluate matters independently. It was not doing what others were doing. That was not the mindset of an educated or knowledgeable person. Myanmar youths must be given the ability to evaluate benefits for themselves as well as for their surroundings.
These abilities will provide innovative power for the future as well as to change the situation of the past. All must know that education or knowledge was not for one only. Some thought education was for one person only. This was due to an education system that competed for marks. With a view that the best person was the one with the highest mark, people forgot the other values of education. They thought education was to achieve the highest mark.
These mindsets need to be changed. The responsibility to change lies not only in the teachers and the students. Parents also have the responsibility. Some parents put much pressure on their children. Such pressures were not good for the children. Encouragement must be made towards learning the education or knowledge keenly and to use it correctly. A change would be made gradually from a system that emphasized on marks. Depending on marks will dim the other qualities of youth. In the old system the more you learnt everything by heart the more points or marks you got. Deep thought should be given to whether learning everything by heart could make a person understand what was being taught or learnt.
In changing an education system with the participation of youths, youths need to change first. Without them changing, they could not change other things. The government department that was mainly responsible to change the education system must also change.
Youths change from generation to generation. Youths does not always remain as youths. It should not be forgotten that they would become elders in the future.
A correct path must be for self as well as for others. It must be for Myanmar that was lagging behind in development. At the moment the country was feeling the effect of climate change causing citizens to suffer. All must come together and help the government that was doing the best it can for the security and development of the people. Myanmar and Myanmar society should have the education and knowledge capable of handling and changing the effect of the changes that were beyond the control of the people, said the State Counsellor.
Next, the State Counsellor, Union Ministers, Nay Pyi Taw Council Chairman and officials posed for a group photo with youth officials and committee members of Myanmar Youth Affairs Committee, Nay Pyi Taw, state and region youth affairs committees, representatives of women organizations and youth organizations.
Afterwards, the State Counsellor observed the International Youth Day exhibition in the hall displaying state and region youth affairs committee exhibits, youth travel exhibit and ethnic national traditional cultural exhibits. The ceremony was also attended by Myanmar Youth Affairs Committee Chairman Union Minister Dr Win Myat Aye, Union Ministers Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, Lt-Gen Sein Win, Lt-Gen Ye Aung, U Kyaw Tint Swe, Dr Pe Myint, Dr Myo Thein Gyi, Dr Myint Htwe, Nay Pyi Taw Council Chairman Dr Myo Aung, Nay Pyi Taw Council members, Permanent Secretaries, Directors General, Chairpersons and officials from Myanmar Women’s Affairs Federation, Myanmar Association for Prevention, Care and Protection of Abandoned Children, Myanmar Women Entrepreneurs Association, Myanmar Youth Affairs Committee members, officials and representatives of international organizations.— MNA(Translated by Zaw Min)