Myanmar is one of the least densely populated countries in South-East Asia and its economy has grown rapidly over the last two decades. Consequently, poverty has declined in the recent years. However, Myanmar’s education and training system has suffered from chronic underfinancing for decades, and still receives low priority. As a result, literacy in the working-age population is low and vulnerable employment is pervasive.
There is wide recognition that Myanmar’s development requires major investment in the country’s long neglected TVET system, which is lagging behind those in other South-East Asian countries and major trading and investment partners like China or India. The ongoing reforms of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) supported by development partners are still at a nascent stage. TVET system is fragmented, with poor quality and limited labour market relevance, and it focuses on multi-year programmes at advanced levels of education despite the large numbers of out-of-school adolescents in the country. Given the scope of the challenges, skills development programmes are not always adapted to respond to changing labour market needs and technological innovations.
In the last years, Myanmar has produced a comprehensive set of documents outlining its development strategies and policies. Nonetheless, progress in TVET remains conditioned by the adoption of the draft TVET law by the Ministry of Education and the ongoing development of a new skills law by the Ministry of Labour. The latter aims to expand and improve the TVET system to respond to the demand for skills in the economy. It is up to international standards and aims at reforming the TVET governance so that (i) ministries are better coordinated, (ii) the private sector is involved, and (iii) TVET institutions and providers are better managed.