The first National Education Strategic Plan (NESP) launched

School children at work in school in the Chaung Saunt village primary school near Nay Pyi Taw. Photo: EPA

The first National Education Strategic Plan (NESP) was launched yesterday in Nay Pyi Taw by Myanmar’s State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The Plan includes a common policy framework which sets the strategic directions for the next five years; a clear road map for guiding all investments in the sector, both domestic and international; and a vehicle for coordinated implementation efforts.

“The Plan is based in fundamental principles, namely that education in Myanmar is a right of every child, regardless of race, sex, socio-economic and citizenship status, and abilities, and regardless of where they live; as well as that those who were not given the chance to go to school or dropped out should not be left behind”, affirms Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF Representative to Myanmar and Development Partner co-chair. “This is a historic moment for the country, an affirmation of what Education in Myanmar should always have been - a key to the country’s development, social cohesion, peace and national unity”.

The Plan reaffirms that creative solutions and partnerships must be built to ensure that everyone is equipped with the skills to help them to continuously learn, chose and seize opportunities, and actively contribute to the country’s progress to democracy, peace and prosperity, according to a statement.

Thousands of teachers, headmasters, education experts, civil society organisations and parliamentarians have been contributing to the nation-wide comprehensive education sector review (CESR) initiated in 2012. The Plan launched is a culmination of this effort, and is based on evidence and inputs through an unprecedented consultation effort in Myanmar’s recent history.

“The launch of the Plan is the achievement of a long journey which started with the education sector review, but it is also the beginning of a new one”, affirms Nicholas Coppel, Australia's ambassador to Myanmar and Development Partner co-chair. “We must continue to support this roadmap for the benefit of all children in Myanmar, so that it is owned by all stakeholders, and helps unite all actors in support of education.”

The Plan can be a flexible instrument in the discussions on decentralisation and convergence of systems between those run by the Government and those run by Ethnic groups; as well as on performance improvement with full involvement of headmasters, teachers, parents and children.

“Education is the key that unlocks the potential of individuals and of society as a whole”, adds Nicholas Coppel

“At the same time, we need peace for ending displacements that interrupt classes and we need to make schools more respectful of minorities, their identities and their languages to fulfill every girl and boy’s right to education in Myanmar”, concludes Bertrand Bainvel.

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