"The Government recognises education as a top priority for the development of the country. The EU shares the same vision, and it is why education is one of the key focal sectors of EU's development cooperation with Myanmar. Education is the backbone of every country. Myanmar needs an educated and skilled population to become economically strong and even more important, to be at peace," said EU Ambassador Kristian Schmidt ahead of the high-level meeting in Nay Pyi Taw on 6 December.
Earlier in 2019, the European Union had agreed with the government to assist education reform in Myanmar with EUR 221 million as direct contribution to the Myanmar treasury over the next four years. This so called "education sector budget support" comes in addition to a number of EU-funded projects already working on improving access to quality education and vocational training across the country. The programme is linked to regular policy dialogue and technical expert meetings to take stock of and assist the reform efforts, and comes hand in hand with an EU-funded capacity building programme for the Joint Public Accounts Committee of the Myanmar parliament to help strengthen the budget oversight system.
Union Minister for Education Dr Myo Thein Gyi and EU Ambassador Kristian Schmidt alongside local and European education reform experts discussed inter alia the progress and challenges in the implementation of the National Education Sector Plan 2016-2021, the state of play in the implementation of modernised curricula in secondary schools, priorities in expanding Technical and Vocational Education and Training beyond Yangon and Mandalay to meet the workforce requirements of Myanmar's growing economy, and access to education in Rakhine and ethnic areas.
"Union Minister Dr Myo Thein Gyi and EU Ambassador Kristian Schmidt meet students and teachers at a high school in Pyin Ma Na Township, Nay Pyi Taw.
More information on the Education Sector Reform Contract:
What exactly is budget support? It is a means of delivering effective aid and durable results in support of EU partners' reform efforts and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It aims to strengthen the capacity of partner countries in by building on the country's policy and public finance systems rather than creating parallel structures by third parties.
As part of its EUR 221 million grant to the Ministry of Education, EU assistance will take the form of an education sector budget support until 2023, providing up to EUR 175 million to the Government for financing these reforms. The funds will thus be used as part of Myanmar's education budget spending, being an expression of the EU’s support to the democratically elected government. The additional EUR 46 million is used through a traditional technical cooperation approach, for complementary education and TVET as well as PFM measures.