2014 Myanmar Population and Housing Census - Policy Brief on Education
(1) Literacy among young people (15 to 24 years old) is now high, at 94 per cent, but focussed efforts are needed, particularly in Shan and Kayin, to achieve universal literacy.
(2) Among young adults, aged 25 to 29, nearly 3 in 10 (27.8 per cent) never attended school or failed to finish primary school. This provides strong justification for a policy to make primary school free and compulsory.
(3) Many children do not start primary school at the correct age (age five). Informational campaigns will help, and an improvement in birth registration will assist in implementing compulsory schooling.
(4) One in six children who should be attending primary school were not. Two-thirds had dropped out and one-third had never even started school. Possible reasons are the unavailability of schools nearby, and the involvement of children in economic activities, among others. A clearer understanding of the reasons is needed so that appropriate policies can be put in place to address both avoidance of school and dropout rates.
(5) After age 11 school attendance declines from over 80 per cent to 35.9 per cent by age 16. This decline reflects high dropout rates at the end of primary school and at the end of lower secondary school. Attendance after the age of 11 is lower in rural than urban areas, suggesting problems of access to secondary schools that need to be remedied.
(6) Women outperform men in university graduation and post-graduate qualifications. Opportunities for women to obtain employment in line with their high qualifications must be ensured.
(7) Large inequalities in education exist. Children from poor families are disadvantaged and there are severe literacy and school attendance problems in Shan and Kayin. Increased educational investment in these two states and more generally in poorer districts will reduce inequalities.
(8) At the national level, the slight decrease in the number of school-age children over the next few decades will help in increasing school attendance and the quality of education. However, because of migration and variations in fertility levels, some states/regions will see a rise in school-age numbers. Allocation of educational budgets need to take this into account.