As part of Myanmar’s National Programme on Education Management Information Systems (EMIS), the Ministry of Education (MOE) and UNESCO successfully organized a series of four workshops from November 2015 to April 2016 to review the ministry’s education data collection and reporting systems and rationalize its EMIS data collection tools. The improved data collection and reporting forms are scheduled to be piloted in three townships in May 2016, while overall workshop findings will inform the design of MOE’s Education Portal – a sector-wide, decentralized EMIS that will manage education data across all MOE departments and education offices when it is launched in late 2016.
The strengthening of Myanmar’s EMIS was identified as a priority action area through the Comprehensive Sector Education Review process, due to the ministry’s desire for quality education statistics to inform its policy-making processes. Yet Myanmar’s primarily Excel- and paper-based system of recording and compiling education data meant that, despite the substantial amount of data collected, there was limited scope for data analysis, verification and validation to support its education planning and management functions.
Myanmar has since achieved commendable strides in EMIS development. Over the past 1.5 years, with technical assistance from UNESCO, MOE developed the EMIS Strategic Plan, a five-year sector-wide blueprint for EMIS development in Myanmar, followed by its EMIS Operational Plan and Budget for financial year 2016/17, MOE’s first one-year plan that details concrete implementation steps for EMIS.
In September 2015, MOE established the EMIS Implementation Unit (EIU) – comprising of members from the Union Minister’s Office and the Department of Human Resources and Educational Planning (DHREP), and supported by focal points from all eight MOE departments – to manage the development and day-to-day operations of Myanmar’s EMIS, with support from UNESCO’s technical experts. Since the Unit’s formation, MOE and UNESCO have been working closely via capacity building workshops and on-the-job training to enhance the knowledge base of EIU members in preparation for the roll-out of the National EMIS Programme.
The recent workshop series represents a further step forward in EMIS development: attended by more than 200 MOE officials from both Union- and subnational levels across all eight MOE departments over a five-month period, the workshops mapped and harmonized MOE’s data collection and reporting systems and processes and established uniform data standards to ensure the consistency of data capture and compatibility between different elements of Myanmar’s EMIS. The workshops also served as a forum for officials from different offices to learn about each department’s data needs and how the sub-sectors interact with each other in terms of data validation and verification.
As U Ko Lay Win, Deputy Director-General of DHREP summarised, “The development of a sector-wide EMIS is a priority national programme, because quality education statistics is required for planning and monitoring purposes at all levels of government. For the past five months, officials from all MOE departments were actively engaged in building a common vision for the Education Portal, and we are now ready to move ahead in implementing the system step by step.”
Mr. James Shoobridge, UNESCO’s Senior Expert for EMIS, also underscored the importance of proper planning and coordination in the development of the Education Portal so as to maximize cost efficiency and ensure successful systems deployment, “These series of thorough reviews have been aimed at ensuring that the development of the Education Portal is strictly informed by user needs and constraints, such MOE’s education planning requirements, human resources and the country’s ICT infrastructure. Global examples and past experiences have shown that if inadequate information systems are developed without proper analysis, the ensuing correction can result in significant reworking and data manipulation, which can exceed the initial work undertaken and lead to disillusionment and frustration among users.”
Following the workshops, the improved data collection forms will first be piloted at 30 basic education schools across three townships next month, in preparation for a full roll-out throughout Myanmar in the third quarter of 2016, when the finalized forms will replace forms currently used for official data reporting within MOE. A draft design of the Education Portal, which will detail specifications of its software system requirements, data capture and reporting tools as well as data management processes, will also be unveiled in early May 2016 for consultation with MOE and other education stakeholders. The design document is due to be finalized by early June 2016, with the launch of the Education Portal scheduled in late 2016.
Under the auspices of the Capacity Development for Education for All (CapEFA) programme, UNESCO has been providing capacity building and technical assistance to MOE in sector-wide policy and planning since 2012. UNESCO’s support for the strengthening of Myanmar’s EMIS is a flagship under CapEFA Myanmar’s Pillar 2, which aims to strengthen national capacities to manage, analyse and utilise education statistics for improved planning and monitoring of the Myanmar education sector.
For more information on the Capacity Development for Education for All Programme in Myanmar, please contact Ms. Stephanie Choo, Education Expert – CapEFA (Sector-Wide Policy and Planning), at email@example.com