People of Myanmar, Education
political protests, Myanmar government, regional colleges, literacy rate, developed country
Education is free and compulsory for children from the age of 5 to 10. Secondary education consists of four years of middle or vocational school and an additional two years for high school. Middle and vocational schools are also free, but fees are charged for high school. Secondary schools enroll 36 percent of the secondary school-age population. Instruction in primary and secondary schools is in Burmese; English is the second language taught in many secondary schools. The literacy rate of the adult population is reported to be 91 percent. However, the Myanmar government claimed that less than one-fifth of the population was truly literate when it was seeking United Nations (UN) status as a “least developed country” in the late 1980s.
Yangon and Mandalay have a variety of long-established universities and postsecondary educational institutes. In order to disperse the political protests by students in these two cities, regional colleges were set up in the late 1960s in a number of principal towns. Rangoon University (founded in 1920) and Mandalay University (1925) are the premier institutions in arts and sciences. A bachelor’s degree is also granted by the Defense Services Academy (1955) in Maymyo. An emphasis on science and technology since the 1960s led to the expansion of the Yangon Institute of Technology (1964) and the establishment of the Mandalay Institute of Technology (1991) and an Institute of Economics (1964) in Yangon. Medical doctors are trained at two institutes of medicine in Yangon and one in Mandalay. There are numerous teacher-training institutes throughout the country. As a result of periodic political disturbances, universities have been mostly closed since 1988.
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