International education providers and foreign universities are investing in Myanmar education sector as the market for international schools and private education sector starts to take off. There is a big market in Myanmar as Myanmar parents are eager to invest in their children’s education to get quality education, while staying at their home country. The government has changed its educational policies to promote the education sector both in basic and higher education. Private schools are now allowed to operate with limited supervision from Government. Now in Yangon, there are increasing number of international schools, educational agencies and institutions that collaborate with foreign universities. Because of these changes in the educational sector, Myanmar citizens now enjoy more choices in education and this may also help improve sociocultural sector.
For the strengthening of the education system, the country is also seeking to cooperate with international distance education providers. The Government is collaborating with international organizations in order to promote higher education sector of Myanmar and improve the quality of educational services. The Government committed to spending more money in education sector. The Government spending for education sector is currently MMK 1.4 trillion for 2014-15 fiscal year. And yet the country’s education system has many challenges such as limited or no access to Internet, lack of textbooks or laboratory equipment, and, in many cases, teachers lack the relevant experience to manage overcrowded classrooms and a weak curriculum.
Currently, UK, USA, Australia and Singapore are the most popular among international education destinations for Myanmar students. UK seem to be playing an important role in the development of the higher education sector as UK education agencies and institutions are engaging directly with senior Myanmar stakeholders, and are forming new partnerships that will help develop higher education in Myanmar. Also, UK education providers are very popular among Myanmar students who want to study higher education. Australian uni- versities also seem to be getting popular in finding partner local institutions in higher education.
An increasing number of local professional training centre/institutions, such as the Yangon Institute for University Studies (YIUS) pre-university level studies centre, have come into the market, offering preparatory courses for UK/US exams and professional qualifications to thousands of students. Teaching of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) training is included as well as a curriculum encompassing comparative philosophy and literature, modern world history, environmental biology, comparative life cycles and literature in the English language.
Today, private schools provide pre-elementary, elementary, secondary and higher-education levels courses to meet popular demand for the market in English language, computing, accounting and business-related training. International Programmes providers will continue to engage with the higher education sector in Myanmar, building academic links between international institutions and Myanmar counterparts. In Yangon, some of the leading institutions for higher education include Myanmar Imperial College, Victoria University College, Temasek Hospitality College, Myanmar Nobel college, STI education, Aptech, Gusto Institute, Excel Education Centre, YIUS pre university level studies and MCC that offer certificates and diplomas from their partnered international universities.
Now, some educational organizations are emerging that provide preparatory educational services to the students who want to study abroad or study international educations in Myanmar. These organizations offer pre-collegiate program to help students develop their academic abilities so that they can gain acceptance to and possibly a scholarship from English-speaking universities in the United Kingdom, Japan, New Zea- land, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Singapore or the Philippines. These organizations also help with visa applications, prepare the stu- dent for life in a Western college environment and help with the planning of a career back in Myanmar. The Yangon International School and the Diplomatic School in Yangon are engaged in preparing students for examinations held by overseas universities and professional institutes. Some schools are founded as a business company and some as a service company. Aside from supplementary schools, there are other private education facilities. There are inter- national schools for those who would like stay at home studying equality education to pre-collegiate and higher-education pro- grams that help the students leave Myanmar to study abroad. Local entrepreneurs with overseas universities and colleges established private schools geared towards children who wanted to study.
Educational seminars given by universities from different countries offering scholar- ships are becoming a common thing in Yangon. While attracting students from Myanmar, foreign universities are also exploring new partnership to invest in Myanmar education sector. Now private companies are investing into the primary and secondary school segments which will satisfy local demand for such services.
Now is seen as the right time for educators and businesses to take advantage of the shift in Myanmar’s increasingly competitive educational sector. The market is expanding for both educational services that provide link- ages for foreign study and international institutions that offer basic and higher education. But the market is only significant in the larger cities such as Yangon and Mandalay.
The population of Myanmar who can afford private education is estimated to be small at present, so the market is expected to become more competitive in the near future.