“The Comparison of the Thai Governments’ Deeds for Education and Myanmar’s Education in Post-coup Period”

In 1958,U Nu, the prime minister at that time, put the power of the state into the hand of military as the house-sitting government in accord with the constitution, foreseeing if the coup was staged, the country could be damaged. From that time, the military that knew the taste of power has attempted to launch a coup if they had a chance.

 In 1962, the military led by major general Nay Win launched a coup for the first time. He administered the country for 26 years under the name of Myanmar Socialism Party. After uprising of the public in 1988, the military led by General Saw Maung staged the coup in second time by the name of State Law and Order Restoration Council. Designedly to control the power of state for longtime, after drafting the 2008 Constitution, the election was re-held by the year 2010.As National League for Democracy party won in almost all absent places of constituency in 2012 bi-election, the military worried about their political power again. In 2015 election, NLD party won the votes that could from the government. From that time, it seemed to be that the military prepared for a coup again. So, at that time, when NLD party won a land-side victory in 2020 general election and prepared to form the government, the military launched a coup for third times. Every time a coup was staged like that, there were heavy decreases in every important sectors of the country such as economics, administrations and education. Especially, the decrease of education sector became a heavy barrier in development of the country. After three times coup, the educational field damaged completely. Here, can compare the situation of Thailand, our neighboring country.

From the year 1935, there were (18) coups in Thailand. Eleven times successful coups and seven times failed coups have happened. On account of coups, there were decreases and delays in the fields of administration, economics and education. But, there were great differences in comparing with the delays in Myanmar in the post-era of coup. The development of economics and education is superior than Myanmar. Unusually, it differs very well in education. Down through the year of 1948 and 1958, after getting independence, Myanmar’s education was the forefront in Southeast Asia. At that moment, Rangoon University was the top one where the foreign students came to study. Although the education of Myanmar did not develop, it could be said that it did not reach the bad situation after 1962. In spite of being little amount of government’s budget for education, there were still left much consequences and scholars that were heritages of the latter colonial period and civilian government at that time. Along the enclosed period of Myanmar, although learning and teaching style did not modernize, the standard and grade of education did not reach to the lowest level. After the coup had been staged in 1988, the education of Myanmar became the worst. Learning and teaching style was the teacher-centre system and it was only exam focus one. Government’s educational budget was the just jut of the military’s defence budget.

In the years after 1962 and 1988, the unstability of the educational system was very bad. In the metric level or high school level, as like all of the subjects except English subject were taught in mother tongue, there was also era when all of the subjects, except Myanmar, were taught in English. Because of language barrier, education was only by heart-learning for the students. In 2015, NLD party, after winning in election, tried to change the education system. But, the budget for education was not improved unusually. Moreover, the misleading performances of the minister of education selected by the NLD government became barriers for the development of education. There were attempts to try out in teaching English, medium of language, that the native English speakers were accepted to teach in some regions (eg-in Magway Division). It was a good action to develop education. Yet, from launching the coup on 1st February 2021, Myanmar’s education was stopped at all and has reached to the lowest level. It was the condition of Myanmar’s education after three coups.

After being political crises for six months, in 1932, the first coup was staged in Thailand. Since the western-style constitutional monarchy has been exercised in 1932, there have been 18 coups that were staged by the royal Thai army now. The Royal Thai Kingdom army led by General Prayut Chan-O-Cha launched the coup that was 18 times on 22nd May 2014. The Thailand’s democracy started with a coup was just so-called one. Thai politics became the arena of fighting factions between generals, bureaucrats, and old and new elites. The army became a weapon for political stability. Negotiating a peace deal after a coup between politicians, bureaucrats, influenced marchents , co-operate leaders and military leaders has become a process in the restoration of temporary political stability. Similarly in Myanmar, the military performed so-called negotiations after launching their coups. And then, they set-aside the co-operate leaders and politicians. But most of the time of the country was governed by the military junta. There were 18 constitutions in Thailand until now. However, the government’s basic structure has not been changed. By comparing the many Asian countries, Thailand is a wealthy country with stable banks, modern factories owned by nation, improving tourism industry, progressing educated middle class and makers of a successful democracy.

After serveral coups, Thailand education did not decrease and has improved gradually. The development of Myanmar’s education reversed the trend of Thai situation. Under the situation of stable banks and developing economics, the education of Thailand hasn’t stopped.

Successive administered governments that staged coups and elected governments did not reduce the budget for education.

Especially, successive kings of Thailand and the military that mounted coups got the history that they paid admiration on education.

As illustrated by the sweeping educational reforms introduced by the visionary monarch, King Chula Longkorn in the late 1800s, education has been strongly influenced by politics in Thailand. In coups after that time, the coup-makers as usual, broadcasted and showed the political propaganda supported the army widely on television and in movies. They put also the army slogans in school syllabus. Yet, they did not ignore the field of education. They did not reduce the budget of education. Here, being appropriate, compare the budget of Myanmar’s education with the budgets of some other countries including Thailand.

  1. Myanmar        (2019)          10.46%        (of the total government’s spending)
  2. Australia         (2017)          13.6%          (                    ။           )
  3. China            (2019)           14.6%           (                   ။           )
  4. Afghanistan   (2017)           15.7%           (                   ။           )
  5. Bhutan          (2018)           22.8%           (                   ။           )
  6. Ethiopia        (2015)           27.1%           (                   ။           )
  7. India             (2013)           14.1%           (                   ။           )
  8. Indonesia      (2015)           20.5%           (                   ။           )
  9. Singapore     (2013)           28.8%           (                   ။           )
  10. Thai              (2013)           19.1%           (                   ။           )

Although the budget of developing countries as like Australia seems to be little, the sector of private education is very huge and firm. If compare with the educational budget of our neighboring countries like China, India, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand, the budget of Myanmar education is very small.

Besides, practically the flow of budget tailed off when it reached the basic level due to corruption. In using the getting budget, had to face with corruption again. According to the teacher in service who is familiar to me, the share budget of their school is 700 Lakhs for a year. The headmistress gave the teaching aids, like ink bottles, marker pens, dustbins, etc.., at the beginning of the school year. Yet, in the second month of that year, the materials including dustbins were packed away in the office store again. All of the materials needed in classroom had to be bought with money which was gathered from students. However, he said that the cost had to be put in monthly spending budget of the school.

The corruption may be happened in Thailand as like Myanmar. But, in terms of an educational finance, Thai governments really spent an amazing amount of both of its GDP and government budget on education.

While most of the funds for education is flowing from government’s budget, a great deal of local funds get to support the education.

In the other hand, steering of Thai governments on education is very vigorous. Prior to 1980, there were three ministries to steer the education. They are Minister for Interior (primary level), Minister for secondary education and some post-high school level and Minister for University Level (responsible person for the institutions of higher education). Since the spending amount for basic primary education represented approximately 10 percent of the national budget, this was a remarkable example of the potential for basic structural change in Thai education.

Both the Minister for University Level and the Minister of education have actively participated in preparing teachers. Also nine different agencies are involved in providing primary education. These are the facts that have to imitate for developing of Myanmar education again.

Thai governments in serial order have carried out intensive researches which are the most important task for education. There have been more than a total of 1000 publications of educational research in recent decades. This work of research has been scarcely seen in Myanmar education. It can probably be seen on paper.

Today, Thai education has been developing by these deeds.

The other sectors of Thailand became developed in harmony because of the development of education. Although Thailand has had so many coups and several constitutions, the economics of Thailand and the other related sectors reached the stage again running in harmony by the time it arrived the post-coup period.

Thai banking system left in chaos in about last three decades due to Jogsoerock, the popular billionaire of banks. Yet, it was calm after the coups had been staged in series. Developing in educational sector becomes a prop to develop the country. These are deeds that should emulate at the time rebuilt the country after coup-period in Myanmar.

According to the situation of our country, it has to contrive a chance that every child can learn the basic education gratis and needs to upgrade the capacity of teachers. As the same time, it needs to fulfill the basic salary of the teachers, shelter and teaching aids completely.

In some races and in grass roots level, there are still barriers that children cannot learn the basic education. The winner government has to try to overcome the difficulties such as poverty, the conflicts between the government and ethnic groups and language barriers.

It needs to be remedied the Myanmar education in post- coup period by using the budget allowed systematically and by learning the deeds of other countries as like Thailand.