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Asian Correspondent: As Thein Sein accepts Honorary Doctorate, Burma’s education system languishes

As Thein Sein accepts Honorary Doctorate, Burma’s education system languishes (click to view article)

Burma President U Thein Sein accepted Honorary Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Technology Management from Thailand’s Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University (BSRU) on Wednesday, The New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported.

BSRU President Associate Prof Ponlasit Noochoochal and party paid a call on the President before the ceremony. The BSRU President expressed their wish to improve people-to-people relations and inter-university cooperation.

According to Prof Ponlasit, Burma and Thailand are encountering new challenges in education. The President of Burma is one of the most influential leaders in ASEAN countries due as he leads the country’s political, economical and social reforms. After recent reforms Burma will be hosting significant international events in the near future, namely the host of the World Economic Forum on East Asia, the SEA Games in 2013, including the Chairman of ASEAN in 2014.

The President said in his words of thanks to the Chairman of the University of Council, Prof. Dr. Prayong Jutha for presenting him the Degree of Honorary Doctor of Philosophy in technology Management.

He said that he regarded the honorary degree as recognition for the efforts concerning the democratic transformation and the development of the State.He added that educational objectives of the State should meet the needs of national development guidelines. The funding of education is a foundation for the nation’s future, he said, adding that the country is required to switch from mishandling of natural resources to a new technology-based economic system.

He also suggested that worldwide aid and experiences ought to be utilized for the purpose of educational development. Simultaneously, student-centered schooling has been introduced to reform the basic education sector. By enacting the necessary law, his government has been striving for all children to complete primary education, he said.

However, this request for foreign aid to boost education strikes a false note. Although his government regularly earns several billion dollars from natural resources exports, but precious little is invested in education. Thein Sein government spends almost all income from natural resources on a military renowned for waging war on the country’s ethnic minorities.

The Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental levels. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available to all and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. But Thein Sein seems to be ignorant of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Burma remains one of the world’s least developed countries, and was ranked 149 out of 187 countries in the 2011 UN Human Development Index. The HDI represents a push for a broader definition of well-being and provides a composite measure of three basic dimensions of human development: health, education and income.

Burma is is regularly ranked among the most corrupt countries in the world by Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index – in 2012, Burma was ranked fifth from the bottom after Sudan, Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia.
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