Working with Myanmar Ministry of Education to improve quality of pre-service teacher education
The importance of teachers is well-recognized in the context of Sustainable Development Goal 4 on inclusive and equitable quality education for all. In Myanmar, there has been an urgent need to reform teacher education to deliver quality, inclusive education in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Currently, primary and lower secondary-school teachers in Myanmar receive pre-service training through 25 Education Colleges (ECs), which are spread across the country. Despite the crucial role that ECs play in developing the teacher workforce, however, they have struggled to adequately address student teacher needs in the face of several challenges, including outdated curricula and textbooks, as well as limited teaching and learning resources.
In tandem with wider education reform efforts outlined in the National Education Strategic Plan 2016-21, the Ministry of Education has outlined strategies to improve pre-service teacher education and enhance quality assurance and management to achieve a transformation, so that “teachers support, develop and apply interactive classroom teaching and learning benefiting all students”.
UNESCO is a strategic and technical partner to this MoE reform through the “Strengthening pre-service Teacher Education in Myanmar” (STEM) project. The first phase of the project was launched in July 2014 with support from the Government of Australia, the second phase in January 2017 with support from the Government of Finland, with the Governments of Australia and the United Kingdom providing further support to Phase 2 in April and September 2018 respectively. With Phase 2 ending in June 2020, STEM will be entering Phase 3 through 2023, under a multi-partner trust fund with the Government of Finland joining a basket fund.
The STEM project works in partnership with the Ministry of Education to address critical issues in pre-service teacher education through technical and capacity-development support for the formulation of key teacher policy frameworks, the restructure and redesign of pre-service teacher education curriculum and programmes, and the strengthening of the institutional management of ECs, including investment in ICT. An emphasis on developing national capacity and ownership as well as promoting the rights of teachers, human rights, gender equality, and education for peace and sustainable development are mainstreamed in these core areas of STEM support.
Initiatives have strengthened capacity under national leadership for a range of products and processes to advance teacher education reform in Myanmar. STEM addresses four important aspects of pre-service teacher education:
- Formulating a policy framework of pre-service teacher education and providing technical advice on developing teacher policies and a teacher-competency standards framework;
- Improving the system and operations of ECs by restructuring and redesigning the curriculum and building networks for knowledge and experience sharing;
- Developing the institutional and human-resource management capacities of ECs;
- Mainstreaming inclusion and equity issues in teacher education.