October 1, 2020

Following the start of the country’s various reforms in 2011, public funding for education has significantly increased, leading to an important rise in access. The primary net enrollment rate increased from 88% in 2009-10 to 93 percent in 2014-15. Net enrollment in pre-primary education saw an impressive growth between 2008 – when roughly 1 in 20 children were enrolled – and 2014 when nearly 1 in 4 children were enrolled. The National Education Strategic Plan (NESP) 2016-21 represents an important milestone for education in Myanmar, as the country’s very first education sector plan in the context of a major transition towards democracy.

Since the 2011 transition and the 2015 civilian-led rule, the Myanmar government continues to work with the 2008 Constitution–rather than replacing it—while pledging to decentralize key areas of policy to local and state governments. As the 2020 election looms now in the horizon, it is time to take stock of how decentralization has advanced in the country.

The talk features recent fieldwork by University of Toronto under the K4DM Initiative with local partners in Myanmar’s ethnic states of Chin, Kachin, and Kayin.

Dr. Jacques Bertrand, Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto, focuses on ethnic conflict, nationalism, and democratic politics in Southeast Asia.