State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi addressed the Education Development Implementation Conference (Basic Education Sector) organized by the Ministry of Education at the Myanmar International Convention Centre 2 (MICC-2) yesterday morning.
Sayadaws from monastic education schools joined the Union Ministers, Union Civil Service Board Chairman, Nay Pyi Taw Council Chairman, chairmen of Hluttaw affairs committees, Deputy Minister for Education, Nay Pyi Taw Council members, states/regions ministers for social affairs, members of National Education Policy Commission, National Curriculum Committee and National Education Standards and Quality Assurance Evaluation Committee, heads of departments, rectors, head of education colleges, education heads of districts and townships, head masters/mistresses of schools, teachers, representatives from Tatmadaw schools and private schools, representatives of development partner organizations, All Myanmar Teachers Association, Student Associations and partner libraries and officials attended the conference.
In her address to the conference, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said, “stability and development of a country depends on human resources and how much it can serve the country. For human resources to develop we’ll have to establish and strengthen a ‘quality education’ and much investment is required for it. The 2015 National Education Law (Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Law No. 38/2015 – Law Amending the National Education Law) has specifically prescribed the aim of national education expenditure to be 20 percent of the total national expenditure and efforts have been made toward increasing annual education expenditure.”
Development partner organizations have been assisting toward investment in the education sector as the Union is investing in the education sector. I don’t think it is necessary to say that to successfully implement the National Education Strategic Plan (2016-2021) the unified cooperation among students, parents, teachers, school managements, partners in education, local and international partner organizations are vital and important.
To survive and thrive in the world it is important not only to remember facts and data but to think, assess and resolve problems too. It is important to transform the students from the practice of rote learning to meaningful learning. When doing this, students are to be taught not only matters in the curriculum but also other related outside matters so that they can collect information, evaluate, resolve problems and conduct discussions. This collective studying habit need to be instilled in them starting from basic education schools with teaching and learning methods.
Youngsters and students need to be trained so that they are not afraid of problems. If there is work, there is a problem. Problems are not something to be feared. It is important just to find the best way to overcome it. This needs to be taught since they are young.
At the moment, our government is systematically eradicating corruption. Corruption is an affront to the country and slows down the development of the people. Morality and ethics need to be strengthened since young. For the honor of the country and development of the people, the value of being corruption free should be taught in basic education schools so that it is well understood. Educative, informative and entertainment methods are being employed using appropriate words and sentences for the respective ages to teach the vices of corruption, and its evil effect to the surrounding. In addition, having upright and honest behaviour, connection between doing things for self and for all, having good morality and ethics also need to be taught. These programs are good not only for the children but also for the country.
In order teach and train children to raise their thinking capabilities and knowledge, teachers themselves need to read and study while instilling the good habits of interest in reading and seeking of knowledge to the students. They are to be trained and practiced so that they can learn on their own knowledge and skills using libraries.
Conducting literary talks, discussions, debates, copying or cutting articles from newspapers, journals and magazines and posting on notice boards will encourage students and youngsters to become more interested in literature.
Becoming a knowledgeable and learned person is not enough to become a valued son or daughter of a country. They need to understand and follow rules and regulations. As per the saying “the value of a person is in his/her discipline,” disciplined people bring honor to their country. National discipline should start at schools. This discipline controls the people from not breaking the rules of society and the laws of the country. Rules and laws need to be obeyed and followed everywhere. This habit needs to be obtained through practice. The subject of civic duty is taught in almost every country under various names. Moral, ethics and civic duty should be effectively taught in our country so that training is provided for obtaining good habits. Valuing and respecting time is a habit that is very valuable in being disciplined. We need to instill in our youth to value and respect time. All need to know that to value and respect time is to value our society and our neighborhood. We need to make the students know this. Our people are weak in valuing and respecting time. At the same time schools need to teach the simple practice of not littering. This is important for our whole country. If the elders and teachers are littering the children will follow and do the same. The good habit and practice need to be instilled for the sake of our country. Even though not littering and valuing time seems not much of a big deal, these are very important so teachers must not litter and value time so that the students and children will follow the good example.
Schools need to develop the students both physically and mentally. Interest in sports need to be raised since the students are young. Age wise sporting events need to be held. Teachers need to be healthy and strong in order to produce healthy and strong students. Some still think sport is for boys. Both boys and girls need to be healthy and strong. I think we are seeing more successful woman/girl athletes. Sports or physical training teachers need to be beefed up in basic education schools. Sports or physical training not only build up the physiques, but also the habit of working as a group or team. A policy needs to be established to have more male teachers rather than female teachers only. Now, 90 percent of the teachers are female. It is important to have more male teachers. Education is related to all. Giving education or being a teacher is a noble thing. This is not a job for women only as men also need to participate in it. This is what I would like to urge.
For all round development of the children, they need not only be trained and taught sports but also in arts and music. Arts support a person’s peacefulness and tranquility. It teaches them to feel and appreciate the beauty of their surroundings. It also creates an opportunity to become acquainted with like-minded people.
Now is the time when we are establishing a true Democratic Federal Union and peace is very important. People who are not peaceful and tranquil do not appreciate and value their surrounding’s tranquility and peace. That is why we need to create a peaceful and tranquil situation where teachers can teach and students can learn. We need to sympathize and understand the life of teachers serving in remote and far-off places. Only with this understanding and sympathy we will know how to support them. Only when their lives are peaceful and calm can they teach, train and develop peaceful and calm youths and students. Equal education opportunities are to be created without differentiating between the hilly regions and low lands. Teachers should see it as a challenge to serve in remote and far-off places. View it as an opportunity to serve the country in the most effective way. Young teachers should have this enterprising spirit. I’d like to appeal to the teachers to nurture the concept that it is more valuable and honorable to provide education in far-off and remote places.
Teaching the school curriculum alone is not enough for a teacher. They need to teach their students how to live safely. Information programs on the danger of drugs need to be arranged in basic education schools.
At the time when technology is advancing at a rapid pace, the pros and cons of technology need to be taught to the students. It is important for teachers and parents to cooperate and work together in conducting such works. Not only drugs, but smart phones are also bringing much data and information. There are things that are appropriate and inappropriate for the youths. All of these are reaching the youngsters. Parents and teachers need to know what they are seeing, hearing, reading so that parents and teachers can guide them on what to accept and what to reject.
We have a historic duty to train and produce youths who will serve the country well in the future. This is the requirement in the world. In our country, we need to support vocational education as it is in much demand. There should be students who will go on to universities as well as students who take up vocational education. Vocational education is not a second rated or low level education. It is valuable not only for those who are acquiring it but also for the country and the world so it needs to be developed and raised as required at the present moment.
“Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” is the Sustainable Development Goal 4 of the world’s development index that we must strive towards and implement during the 15 years period of 2016 to 2030. In doing this, we need to create equal opportunities for children with disabilities as well as children with special requirements.
Teachers should not think that students at school are the only ones that they are responsible. They need to strive towards creating education opportunities for youths and children who are outside of the schools. Teachers and parents need to work together in this. If teachers found youngsters out of schools while others are attending schools, they should be questioned. What are they doing? Are they not attending school? Are they unable to attend school? The teachers need to be curious and interested in this. It is not good to see school-age youngsters or children out of school. We all need to strive toward having all youngsters and children in schools.
In the past, I heard that people are proud of creating a silent and soundless environment where lessons are taught and learnt at schools. We should not encourage students to fold their arms and listen humbly to whatever they are taught. I don’t mean to say they shouldn’t listen when they are being taught. I mean that teaching shouldn’t be one way with the teacher talking to the students only. We’ve reached the age where students interact with teachers by raising questions. Students should participate in the teaching/learning by being keen and interested in the lessons. Not only should this be in normal classroom subjects but also in sports, music, arts and agriculture too. Youths should be trained for all-round development. Teachers need to train our youths and children to have the guts to speak out and do things. Democracy starts in the school room and democratic habits and practices should be nurtured and taught. Thoughts and ideas that are valuable and beneficial not only for them but also for the country need to be trained and taught. I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you all about my satisfaction in meeting with primary and high school students recently. Both spoke out their minds freely without being timid or cowed. When asked, they answer whatever they have in their minds. There are some who look a bit shy but they are not afraid or scared. This is not the same. It is normal for some to be shy. But they are proud of what they know. Even though they may know only a little, they are proud. That is why the job of teachers is noble. It is the biggest ability of the teacher to teach and train students who value and are proud of themselves. Please help our youngsters and children to face their lives with courage and optimism. To transform the National Education System of Myanmar the skill to innovate and evaluate, select cultural and ethical values and create job opportunities for oneself need to be nurtured and trained. Only then can the education be an education that benefits the socio-economic development of Myanmar.
Children need to be healthy and strong to have a “quality education.” Only when they are healthy and strong can they learn enthusiastically of what they want to learn. Schools should teach students how to live a healthy, strong and nutritious life. When I ask parents, especially in rural areas, they put education in front of health. This is interesting. Parents want a good future for their children and want them to have a good education. That is why I always cautioned them. Educated but an unhealthy person wouldn’t live a long in life. That is why both education and health should be valued at the same level. Teachers need to teach this. Parents need to understand this. Giving health education is giving a good life.
Teachers play a vital or key role in education. Teachers need to be full of knowledge as well as having a good heart. Education is a thing that is transferred. The transfer should be both heart and mind. Learn and increase your knowledge through life-long learning and pass it on to the students so that they become better than you. Don’t leave anything for yourself. A good teacher produces students who are better than the teacher. Those in the management and administration of education should have the ability to lead, guide, administer and manage teachers. They must be fair and unbiased. Skilled and outstanding educators or teachers should be assigned in appropriate places. Here the responsibility is on the government too. The government needs to be fair and unbiased in administering and managing the education department. We need to teach teachers to be fair and unbiased in the school rooms. They must not look at who the parents are. Some teachers favor outstanding students which is natural. But they also need to care more for those who are in need of coaching and teaching. Why are they not catching up? What problems are they facing? Why they are not interested? It is an important duty for the teachers to fulfill the shortcomings of the students. A dutiful teacher is one who makes good students better and pulls along those who are lagging behind.
Education is the equalizer that levels differences and reduce poverty. It increases family income. It raises individual and family health. It sustains peace, helps economic development and national unity. It is hoped that this conference will bring forth discussions that will establish a firm and effective basic education system that is beneficial for the country.
Elders usually say to youngsters may you be healthy, wealthy, free from dangers. But to educate is to make a person do things or accomplish things for his/her self. They need knowledge or education to be healthy both physically and mentally as well as to be wealthy and free from dangers. I want to conclude and say that we should learn for life and then give education to our youngsters so that they may be healthy, wealthy and free from dangers. Thank you. After her speech, the State Counsellor took commemorative group photos with conference attendees and then viewed the education exhibits displayed in the hall. — MNA