The Myanmar government endorses different types of education systems, including basic high school, university, post-graduate diploma, and distance-education.
Many students now attend distance-learning courses. Yet, like a coin with two sides, distance-learning has its pros and cons.
Myanmar students who take distance-learning courses deserve kudos. Living in a country where less than half of the population has access to slow-speed Internet, they are brave enough to endure those technical difficulties. In a country with a wide shortage of skilled labour, Myanmar universities that offer the courses should also be praised for the initiative.
However, the students and the universities as well as the job market can achieve their goals only when they come up with their best efforts.
The students should thank the universities for the available courses. They can learn lessons while they are working. When they graduate, they will be a quality workforce, having both knowledge and experience. To reap the full benefits of distance-learning, students need to have good basic education and a good attitude towards education.
In principle, distance-education is a very good system. It tends to be an inclusive education system for all students who live in rural areas of the country. In other words, the country could nurture effective degree holders efficiently. But at the same time, it must be said that in reality both the government and the students do not value distance-education. Most of the students attend such courses only with the objective of acquiring a certificate.
Some students come to the exam room only to cheat. In fact, they do not even prepare for the exam. Some students seem to have no qualms failing exams. They sit for the exams year after year without learning their lessons properly.
Do they lack inspiration for studying? Or, have they lost their passion for learning? The possible answer might be one of the consequences of the military dictatorship of more than 60 years. Plus, students cannot manage themselves for education purposes. Obviously, most students choose the major subject for university life rather unwisely. They do not consider their strengths and weaknesses and their real interests. That is true, in particular, in distance-education. Students are wasting their youth without passing their annual exams. At the same, many of the youth have lost hopes of finding job opportunities after graduating. This is the scenario in Myanmar’s education sector at the present time.
The job market needs the right workforce. But if the education system cannot deliver the right workforce, students with certificates will never find a job.
In a way, Myanmar will experience structural unemployment due to the insufficient capacity of its labour or the workers in the market.
Education is the key to a bright future. But education without quality can help no one, be they the students who have no inputs to offer or the country that has no idea on how to improve the quality. Creating job opportunities will not help as an entire generation lacks the desired level of knowledge.