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Equivalency Programme for Non-formal Middle School Education: An effective alternative learning pathway for out-of-school youth and adults in Myanmar

Yangon, 19 August 2013 – The Department of Myanmar Education Research Bureau (DMERB) is in the process of drafting the curriculum framework of the Equivalency Programme for Non-formal Middle School Education (EP NFMSE) within the framework of the Gender Sensitive, Flexible and Alternative Learning Programme with the support of the UNESCO – JFIT Project.



The EP NFMSE programme, through its flexible and diverse organization and delivery modes, aims to meet the diverse and context-specific learning needs of all age groups, and provide effective alternative pathways for learning. The expansion of the Equivalency Programme to Middle School, with non-formal basic education and skills development opportunities linked to formal education through recognition, validation and accreditation frameworks, is a strategy by the Ministry of Education to allow EP NFMSE to complement formal education as a pathway and an integral part of Myanmar’s national education system.

The first consultation workshop to draft the curriculum framework was organized and led by DMERB from 8 to 13 August, with technical input from UNESCO expert on Non Formal Education, Ms. Kannikar Yaemgeasorn and Khin Khin Lwin, Programme Officer. In his opening speech to launch the event, the Director General for DMERB and Head of the Comprehensive Education Sector Review, Dr. Myo Thein Gyi highlighted the importance of laying the foundations in beginning of this process by lending thoughtful consideration to Myanmar’s socio-economic and cultural contexts and societal needs, to the foundation skills for the 21st century, the learners’ profile and needs, the teaching and learning processes, pedagogy and learning environment, so as to ensure integration into the education sector.

For six days, staff members from DMERB, the Department of Education Planning and Training, the Departments of Basic Education, Yangon Institute of Education, and Education Colleges, resource persons from the Myanmar Literacy Resource Centre engaged in meaningful discussions and intense debates on the needs and structure of an appropriate EP NFMSE model in Myanmar through a series of group work, discussions and presentations. Recognizing that academic competencies would not be enough for out-of-school youth and adults to succeed in life, Ms. Kannikar encouraged vocational skills, relevant to the country’s needs and appropriate for the diverse local contexts, to be included as a key portion of the core content and to create pathways and linkages to Technical and Vocational Education and Training. Discussing possibilities for certification and value of EP NFMSE, Professor Dr. Soe Than, Head of the Department of Methodology, Yangon Institute of Education mentioned the need to have clear regulations, criteria and guidelines for accreditation of EP NFMSE.

The participants made a major attempt to produce important curriculum components, and the outputs of the meetings covered the rationale, curriculum principle, goals, target groups and curriculum structure. As a next step, the EP NFMSE working team will produce a draft curriculum structure for consideration during the subsequent consultation workshop scheduled for mid-October 2013. The development of the EP NFMSE curriculum framework is part of the Non Formal Education (NFE) component under Phase 2 of the Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR) process.