As the country begins to modernize, Myanmar’s university system has come under intense scrutiny. Many university students complain about the importance placed on the matriculation exam for entrance into university and, once accepted, the lack of choices for course majors. The university system needs to be reformed in order to develop and prepare more students to enter modern careers. The matriculation exam, which is held each year in March, is the sole factor in determining which students get accepted to university. The exam tests students’ knowledge on Myanmar, English, Math, Science, and the Arts. If a student does not pass the exam or is unable to sit for the exam, they are unable to attend the university.
To date, the University of Medicine is one of the most selective universities as it demands the highest exam score. Additionally, the Technical Institute, Myanmar Maritime University, National Management College, and the University of Foreign Languages are also highly sought after because many students are able to find job opportunities abroad with these degrees. However, a lot of high school students end up studying subjects they are not interested in. Because of shortage of job opportunities in Myanmar, students end up working at working in jobs not related to their degree and they cannot utilize the skills which they have learned. For example, many people who graduate with a medical doctor do not end up working as a doctor.
The universities do not offer course matter that is applicable to the job market. For example, subject; like Human Resource and Marketing are not offered. Students have to rely on private educational institutions to take up such courses. Since Myanmar has opened up to the world, being able to speak and write well in a foreign language has become very important for young people looking for jobs. While universities do offer English as a subject, many students find the teachings inadequate and they still have to rely on private tutoring.
Reforming Myanmar’s university system to meet students’ needs will be a determining factor in how well and how quickly the country develops.