The Role of Higher Education in Socio-Economic Development in Myanmar: External and Internal Perspectives


Political metamorphosis in Myanmar with the mandate of National League for Democracy paved the way for major structural reforms in various sectors. Unsurprisingly, higher education sector is one of them to undergo drastic changes since it is regarded as one of the key sectors in Myanmar’s socio-economic development. And, efforts are made to reengineer the sector with the involvement of intra and international organisations. In this paper, three aspects are discussed to understand the overview of recent reforms and changes of higher education system in Myanmar: the role of Public Higher Education in Myanmar’s Development Policy, triangle relationship between ministries, external agencies and public higher education institutions, formal and living autonomy of public HEIs in relation to national development. The first two aspects focus on the “external” dimension of the relationship public higher education institutions in Myanmar have with national government and international agencies and the last point addresses the “internal” dimension of the universities and their adaptation on national development initiatives. The methodology included review and analysis of scientific papers, policy documents, reports and other relevant sources. In summary, the findings reveals that Myanmar is heading towards decentralisation and increasing autonomy for universities by allowing universities to directly interact with local, intraregional and international stakeholders. However, the implications of enhanced autonomy in university leadership remains as an empirical question. Future researchers are recommended in the area of university adaption towards organisational change in align with recent development .

Author Information
Zin Mie Sharr, University of Oslo, Norway

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2019
Stream: Higher education

This paper is part of the ACE2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon