In today’s global economy a nation’s success depends fundamentally on the knowledge, skills and competencies of its people. Countries which invest in education are likely to reap substantial long-term benefits, such as greater economic and social prosperity. Education provides individuals with the opportunity to improve their lives, become successful members of their communities and actively contribute to national socio-economic development. In Myanmar society education is traditionally valued as a key determinant for social mobility and it is widely recognised as a critical building block for nation building, national unity and sustainable development. Furthermore, education and poverty alleviation have been identified as two key drivers to support the democratic and peace-building process and to achieve the national goal of Myanmar becoming an upper Middle Income Country by 2030. In recent years Myanmar’s national education system has come under increased public scrutiny and debate due to growing expectations among students, parents, employers and citizens for education reforms that will improve access, quality and equity in the main education subsectors — preschool, kindergarten, primary, secondary and alternative education, and technical, vocational and higher education. Furthermore, there is broad consensus that major shifts are required in the coming years to transform the national education system and ensure that all students progress through the education cycle, achieve quality learning standards and fulfil their career and lifelong learning goals and aspirations. Executive summary In response to these expectations, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has undertaken a three-and-a-half-year Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR) involving three phases: a rapid assessment (Phase 1); in-depth research and analysis of critical sub-sector challenges (Phase 2); and drafting and building ownership for an evidence-based and costed National Education Strategic Plan (NESP) for the period 2016–21 (Phase 3). The NESP provides the government, education stakeholders and citizens with a ‘roadmap’ for sector-wide education reforms over the next five years that will dramatically improve access to quality education for students at all levels of the national education system.
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