The 2008 Constitution of Myanmar neither mentions the terms “information and communication technology (ICT)” and “educational technology (EdTech)” nor defines these terms.
The 2014 National Education Law mentions the term ICT; however, no specific definition of the term is provided. The 2014 National Education Law neither mentions the term EdTech nor defines it. It defines
distance education as “education based on self-study that makes teaching and learning between teachers and learners by using information and communication technology and other public media channels as instructional aids under the supervision of any educational organisation.”
The 2018-2030 Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan does not mention the terms ICT and EdTech.
The terms ICT and distance education are used in the 2016-2021 National Education Strategic Plan but no specific definition of these terms is provided.
The 2018-22 Universal Service Strategy for Myanmar only mentions the term ICT.
The 2022 Cybersecurity Bill mentions the term ICT; however, the bill only defines "information and communication as the utilisation of any online communication including e-government infrastructure, e-commerce infrastructure, forum, blog and social media network within cyberspace or national cyberspace utilising a specific cyber source or Internet of Things (IoT) as Information Communication Technology (ICT) either by an individual or an organisation."
ICT, distance learning, remote learning, e-learning, alternative education, and distance education are mentioned in the COVID-19 Response and Recovery plan, but no specific definition of these terms is provided.
Constitution and laws: The 2008 Constitution of Myanmar recognises the role of technology and its access to national economic development. One of the basic national education principles mentioned in the 2014 National Education Law is to use modern technologies to acquire international standard education.
Preventing cybercrimes, supporting the digital economy, and protecting personal information are some of the important objectives of the 2022 Cybersecurity Bill.
Policies, plans and strategies: The main goal of the 2016-2021 National Education Strategic Plan is to improve teaching and learning, vocational education and training, research and innovation, leading to measurable improvements in student achievement in all schools and educational institutions.
The 2018-2030 Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan highlights technology's role in the country's sustainable growth and economic diversification.
The main mission of the 2019 Myanmar Digital Economy Roadmap is to enable digital transformation, digital government, digital trade and innovation to develop a digital economy across all sectors for inclusive and sustainable socioeconomic development.
Infrastructure deployment for basic voice and broadband services; broadband connectivity and ICT training for enabling the digital future; special projects including content, applications, pilots, and disability are three main program areas of the 2018-22 Universal Service Strategy for Myanmar.
Digital competency frameworks: Myanmar has adopted the International Computer Driving Licence framework. The framework provides digital skills certification to learners.
In 2016, the first draft of the Teacher Competency Standards Framework (TCSF) was developed. Providing a mechanism to support the quality of teacher education in four critical domains of practice: professional knowledge and understanding, skills (directly or indirectly related to ICT) and practice, values and dispositions, and professional learning and development is the main aim of the Teacher Competency Standards Framework (TCSF).
ACER, in collaboration with researchers from the Ministry of Education, UNESCO and the Myanmar Education Quality Improvement Program (My-EQIP), through the Strengthening pre-service Teacher Education in Myanmar (STEM) project, carried out significant revisions to the Teacher Competency Standards Framework (TCSF) for implementation by the Ministry of Education in Myanmar.
In 2020, UNESCO Myanmar Office launched the "Towards Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Competency Framework in Myanmar". From the education sector, the essential MIL stakeholders include basic education students, out-of-school children and young people, public and private school teachers, Monastic school teachers, curriculum planners and writers, teacher training institutions/college officials, and Myanmar Literacy Resource Centre (MLRC) Coordinators.
Changes occurred due to COVID-19: The COVID-19 Response and Recovery Plan of Myanmar aims to provide an overall framework to ensure the continuity of quality and equitable education in Myanmar during the COVID-19 pandemic in the short, medium and long term. In the response phase (May to September 2020), the plan outlined the development and provision of critical strategic actions to ensure educational continuity during pandemic-related closure of educational institutions. In the recovery phase (October 2020 to October 2021), the plan aimed to provide a course of action for the re-opening of early childhood care and development (ECCD) facilities, basic education schools, higher education institutions and TVET institutions (mainly government technical high schools (GTHS) and government technical institutes (GTI)). The plan also included concrete provisions to draw lessons from the current COVID-19 crisis to design evidence-informed crisis-sensitive education sector plans as well as emergency preparedness and response policy frameworks at all levels of education to prevent, prepare for and mitigate the different types of risks affecting the education sector.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
Electricity: One of the main strategies of Goal 5: Natural Resources & the Environment for Posterity of the Nation of the 2018-2030 Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan is to provide affordable and reliable energy supply to all consumers, especially those living in remote areas without electricity. However, Goal 5 of the Development plan does not explicitly mention schools.
Computers and devices: The 2019 Myanmar Digital Economy Roadmap aims to increase unique mobile subscriptions by 55% by 2025. Furthermore, by the end of 2025, the 2019 Myanmar Digital Economy Roadmap seeks to increase the Mobile network coverage in 98% of the population and improve its ranking in the ITU ICT Development Index.
According to the Connect to Learn program (led by UNESCO and other funding partners), 31 Basic Education High Schools (BEHS) in rural /semi-urban areas in Myanmar received six laptops for specific teachers, 100 tablets, computer servers, and projectors.
Internet connectivity: Key internet connectivity targets for 2020 of the 2015 Myanmar Telecommunications Masterplan were to provide internet access to over 85% and a high-speed internet connection to over 50% of the Myanmar population.
The 2020 Strengthening Pre-Service Teacher Education in Myanmar (STEM) Project contributed heavily to the internet connectivity of education colleges, providing 8Mbps broadband internet.
One of the priority areas of the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Plan was to establish partnerships with internet providers for the deployment of distance learning and distribution of learning materials.
In October 2018, Campana Group secured funding to build a new subsea link between Singapore, Thailand and Myanmar. The group will establish the four-fibre pair 2200-km Singapore-Myanmar Submarine Cable System (SIGMAR) that will connect Campana's International Gateway facility in Myanmar, Tuas, and Singapore.
The Ministry of Education's 2018-22 Universal Service Strategy for Myanmar aims to provide every school in Myanmar with a password-protected WiFi network with a downloading speed of 5MBS. Furthermore, the 2018-22 Universal Service Strategy for Myanmar seeks to extend telecom services to more than 90% of the population, internet access to at least 85% and high-speed internet to more than 50%.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
Expanding access to both the hard and soft infrastructure necessary to enable access to a comprehensive, quality, and free basic education has been identified as one of the action plans to achieve Strategy 4.1: Improve equitable access to high quality lifelong educational opportunities (Goal 4: Human Resources & Social Development for a 21st Century Society) in the 2018-2030 Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan. The action plan also ensures the provision of gender and disability-sensitive school facilities and technologies, including water and sanitation services.
Initially launched by the Ministry of Education (MoE) in 2019 to provide students who had failed their matriculation exam to retake the assessment without having to attend classes, the Myanmar Digital Education Platform (MDEP) is now designed to offer a range of online teaching and learning services that are widely accessible to educators, teachers, student and other stakeholders. The overall aim of the Myanmar Digital Education Platform (MDEP) is to provide technology-related services that will support the development of high-quality digital education at all levels of the education system to complement existing delivery systems in schools, colleges and HEIs.
To provide an overall framework to ensure the continuity of quality and equitable education in Myanmar during the COVID-19 pandemic in the short, medium and long-term, the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Plan of Myanmar aimed at ensuring education continuity through diverse distance learning modalities during the response phase, i.e., from May to September 2020. While setting up various learning modalities, the COVID-19 Response and Recovery plan focused on the most vulnerable and marginalised children and youth, including those not currently enrolled and those speaking ethnic languages that are not Burmese. Diverse learning modalities include both digital options (including, for instance, the use of the Myanmar Digital Education Platform (MDEP) Web and the Myanmar Digital Education Platform (MDEP) App) and, but also low tech and no-tech options, including Department of Basic Education (DBE) Boxes for the basic education sector, TV, radio, and distribution of textbooks/print outs through regular distribution channels where possible or the postal service.
The COVID-19 Response and Recovery Plan also highlighted the extensive use of smartphones and social media, notably Facebook, to provide distance support to students through two-way mobile communication and set up effective communication channels between teachers/facilitators/professors and learners. Furthermore, it emphasised continuous investment in distance learning during the recovery phase, i.e., from October 2020 to October 2021 and beyond.
Providing massive open online courses and online learning modules to improve learners' digital skills is one of the strategic longer-term goals of the 2019 Myanmar Digital Economy Strategic Roadmap.
The Ministry of Education's 2018-22 Universal Service Strategy for Myanmar aims to support alternative digital learning centres, which provide access to ICT and digital literacy to a wider audience. This will provide ICT access and training outside of schools, that will benefit students but also other non-formal learners and the wider public. Furthermore, the Ministry of Education's 2018-22 Universal Service Strategy for Myanmar also aims to support special projects that focus on developing content and applications of value to regional or rural and underserved communities, as well as lower-income parts of the population. These could include websites, mobile apps, online education and training materials, user interactive and multimedia applications, and other targeted ICT content.
The National Education Strategic Plan 2016-2021 mentions learning and innovation, information, media and technology, and life and career skills as 21st-century skills.
Developing a comprehensive national curriculum which will provide the youth of Myanmar with 21st-century skillsets has been identified as an action plan to achieve Strategy 4.1: Improve equitable access to high-quality lifelong educational opportunities (Goal 4: Human Resources & Social Development for a 21st Century Society) in the 2018-2030 Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan are in alignment with the 21st-century skills mentioned in the 2016-2021 National Education Strategic Plan.
Improving students' and graduates' digital skills is one of the essential goals of the 2019 Myanmar Digital Economy Strategic Roadmap. The 2019 Myanmar Digital Economy Strategic Roadmap aims to increase qualified tech-related graduates to 10000 yearly by the end of 2025.
The Ministry of Education also has identified nine transformational shifts to achieve this goal. These shifts include providing access to quality education (from preschool to higher education and TVET); implementing a quality assessment system to improve student learning achievement; developing a curriculum which will help students to develop 21st-century skills; applying interactive classroom teaching and learning; applying evidence-based actions to assure the quality of education. The use of information and communication technology is incorporated in most transformational shifts.
The development of learners' digital skills is enshrined in the 2018-22 Universal Service Strategy for Myanmar. Identifying fake news, searching installing and using digital applications, online safety, and data protection are examples of digital skills mentioned in the 2018-22 Universal Service Strategy for Myanmar.
Demonstrating the capacity to apply educational technologies and different strategies for teaching and learning is one of the minimum requirements of the competency“Teach curriculum content using various teaching strategies” as mentioned in the Teacher Competency Standards Framework (TCSF).
Initiated in 2015 with funding from the Government of Australia, the Strengthening Pre-Service Teacher Education (STEM) in Myanmar project aimed to improve the quality of primary and middle school teachers in Myanmar by entitling national and institutional stakeholders to improve the policies, management of institutions, teacher education curriculum and its roll-out, with particular attention to inclusiveness. Phase II of the project began in 2017 with funds from the Government of Finland, followed by Australian and UK contributions. Phase II of the project ended in 2020.
The Connect to Learn program (led by UNESCO and other funding partners) provided training on basic ICT skills for teachers and 25 staff from the Department of Basic Education (DBE).
The 2016-2021 National Education Strategic Plan highlights the need for teacher training to deliver subject content with greater efficiency and use modern technology.
The COVID-19 Response and Recovery Plan focused on providing teachers training in basic education (BE) through home-based learning via different channels (MDEP Platform/social media/DBE Stick, transmission by Education Channel/MRTV, hard copy distribution of teacher guides). The COVID-19 recovery phase also featured training of BE teachers, volunteer teachers, community teachers, non-formal education facilitators, as well as Township education officers through a) a digital school-based distance training system, (b) print school-based distance training system (PDTS), and c) blended school-cluster training system (BSCTS) in targeted basic education (BE) schools.
The 2018-22 Universal Service Strategy for Myanmar also highlights the role of teachers' ICT training for the successful implementation of digital literacy programmes.
2.4.1. Data privacy
Myanmar does not have any general data protection law.
The 1996 Computer Science Development Law does not refer to data protection and privacy against cybercrime.
The 2008 Constitution of Myanmar highlights that the Republic of the Union of Myanmar shall protect the privacy and security of home, property, correspondence and other communications of citizens, however, the 2008 Constitution of Myanmar does not explicitly state the types of communications and mention ensuring data privacy from the use of technology in education. There are also no constitutional guarantees of media freedom or access to information in the 2008 Constitution of Myanmar.
Data protection and privacy concerns are mentioned in Section V of the 2013 Telecommunications Law, which ensures that "the telecommunications service licensee maintains securely the information and contents transmitted or received through the telecommunications service and confidential personal information of each user and shall not disclose".
The 2004 Electronic Transactions Law (amended in 2014) also aims to protect the public's personal information.
The 2017 Law Protecting the Privacy and Security of the Citizen (amended in 2021) implements Article 357 of the 2008 Constitution of Myanmar on privacy and security. However, many of the provisions of the 2017 Law Protecting the Privacy and Security of the Citizen (amended in 2021) are incompatible with international human rights standards. For example, the 2017 Law Protecting the Privacy and Security of the Citizen (amended in 2021) contains a vague definition of privacy and a separate definition of security that are not in line with international standards on the right to protection of privacy.
Enacted by the State Administration Council following Article 419 of the 2008 Constitution of Myanmar, the 2022 Cybersecurity Bill is the first comprehensive legislation regulating the protection of personal information of individuals. The 2022 Cybersecurity Bill also aims to replace the 2004 Electronic Transactions Law (amended in 2014). However, there is no mention of ensuring data privacy from the use of technology in education in the above-mentioned laws.
To bridge the data privacy gaps in current laws and regulations, the Sector Wide Impact Assessment (SWIA) carried out by the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB) issued several recommendations. One of the recommendations is to achieve universal access and accessibility of ICTs, provided international human rights standards are met by the Myanmar ICT sector.
Enabling the transition toward an inclusive digital economy, supporting innovation and data literacy while ensuring security and online privacy is identified as one of the action plans to achieve Strategy 3.7: Encourage greater creativity and innovation, which will contribute to the development of a modern economy as per the 2018-2030 Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan. However, there is no mention of ensuring data privacy from the use of technology in education in the action plan.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) organised the ASEAN Cyberkids Camp 2020 competition to promote cultural exchange between students, and knowledge around data and information security.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
Protection against cyberbullying is indirectly provided under the 2022 Cybersecurity Bill, the 2013 Telecommunications Law and the 2004 Electronic Transactions Law (amended in 2021). However, there is no mention of preventing and responding to online abuse and cyberbullying of students in particular.
The COVID-19 Response and Recovery Plan of Myanmar gave importance to the health or well-being of learners, education staff, and parents/caregivers, as well as to mitigating protection risks for children (psychosocial, other forms of abuse, cyberbullying, lack of access to nutritional food) throughout the contingency planning phase.
The Digital Economy Development Committee (DEDC) is responsible for coordinating different roles of the various ministries to achieve multiple goals (shorter-term, mid-term, long-term) of the 2019 Myanmar Digital Economy Roadmap.
According to the 2019 Myanmar Digital Economy Roadmap, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Transport and Communication (MOTC), and the Ministry of Information are the focal ministries for the implementation of long-term goals in the areas of digital skills, digital security, and digital connectivity.
During COVID-19, the Department of Education Research, Planning and Training (DERPT) was responsible for developing online and offline learning materials (the Myanmar Distance Education Program (MDEP) Web, the Myanmar Distance Education Program App, Department of Basic Education (DBE) Box, printouts, TV, radio), adapting learning materials for students with disabilities/special needs in cooperation with the Department of Basic Education (DBE), Department of Higher Education (DHE), Department of Alternative Education (DAE).
The Department of Education Research, Planning and Training (DEPRT), National Education Policy Commission, Myanmar Special Education Association (MSEA), the Australian Council for Educational Research, and the Department of Technology Promotion Committee are responsible for upgrading teacher programs with competency-based curricula.
The laws, policies, and plans of Myanmar do not mention the main responsibilities of schools in technology integration, including the use of digital devices such as mobile phones or tablets.