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Assessment Study of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Myanmar

Client: International Labour Organization

Context: As the second largest country in Southeast Asia (second to Indonesia), Myanmar’s GDP performance was on average about 12% between 2010-12 and is expected to grow modestly to a little over 6% in 2013. Favorably located between South and East Asia, Myanmar has access to the fast growing economies of China and India, together with access to ASEAN countries. The country has further growth potential, with its rich variety of natural resources, a rich and diversified agricultural base and open access to sea. This means that even if the labour productivity grows in the future it will remain the largest sector in terms of employment for the next years, and complementary areas of agriculture and agri-food processing are marketing, storage, transport and logistics. The importance of these activities will especially grow with the share of agro production for export and will require development of new skills. The ADB identified investment opportunities in other sectors to significantly influence creation of jobs and skills requirements. They see the potential for Myanmar investment opportunities in labour-intensive and export-oriented manufacturing, including the garment sector. Vocational skills development for the sector as well as measures to ensure decent working conditions and health of the workforce will be necessary.

One of the most serious constraints of Myanmar’s development in general is the poor infrastructure. Investments in infrastructure are necessary for the development of other industries. Telecommunication and hydroelectric energy are promising sectors in terms of development even if they do not have the highest labour intensity. These sectors will need qualified human resources and lack of skills has been identified as one of the issues in the power industry.

Recent reforms contribute to opening the country for tourism which could create employment opportunities in these sectors and related services such as hotels, restaurants, travel, art and culture. The tourist potential of the country is high due to the natural environment and cultural heritage and can profit from being a new destination after several decades of relative isolation.

The tourism sector together with growing export has a potential to generate employment opportunities in transport and logistics.

All the above mentioned services will require skills development at various levels of qualification from vocational qualification at lower level up to very professional skills in logistics etc. Entrepreneurship, business and marketing skills, especially for SMEs, cannot be omitted.

No educational system is more important to the economic development of countries, than technical/ vocational education and training; yet in many developing countries TVET systems have not been able to flexibly adjust to the modern world of new and changing technologies, much less provide quality and accessible TVET.

Objectives: This assessment study is meant to provide a critical analysis and assessment of the current state of technical vocational education and training in Myanmar, reviewing past and current policies, strategies, programmes and trends and implications for the country’s socio-economic development and impact and/or implications to employment.

Lead researcher: Dr Simona Milio, Associate Director, Social and Cohesion Policy, LSE Enterprise