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Daily Digest | Can tech solve Myanmar’s education crisis?

Written by The Uptake Published on     2 mins read

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There are online alternatives to public schooling in Myanmar, but systemic shortcomings prevent many students from utilizing them.

Hey. It’s Brady again.

Try to think of one or two teachers who shaped who you are. There are a few who left a huge impact on me—one who introduced me to Li Pi-Hua’s writing, another who described the romance of asymptotes as two lines that never meet no matter how close they come to each other. Anyone who has ever been under the wing of a good teacher knows how clearly their imprint can be felt even years later.

When we at KrASIA saw that 30% of teachers in Myanmar have been barred from doing their job after the February coup, we were disheartened. More devastating yet is that only 25% of Myanmar’s students have signed up for the new school year.

The National Unity Government—essentially the Burmese government in exile—stepped in to initiate a mobile learning project that incorporates web-based tools for a hybrid learning scheme. It’s an effort with merit, but the obstacles are manifold: plenty of areas in Myanmar have limited or even no internet access. Physical distribution of lesson materials through CDs and USB drives can be, well, difficult with unrest persisting throughout the country.

For households that have a stable internet connection, there are online alternatives. But incoherent education policies and a shortage of teaching personnel limit their repertoire. More generally, nearly half of university students are against the idea of online classes in part because not enough households have personal computers.

Tech isn’t a panacea, but it’s being utilized as part of the stopgap in this situation. Hopefully, the innovative minds behind some of these initiatives will figure out a way to manage and deploy their finite resources, so the nation’s youth will be able to recover their lost learning.

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