Private and international schools gain momentum in Mandalay

As there are many private schools competing, it is also important to know that ability of teachers play a vital role

Since permission was granted by the government, private schools and international schools in Mandalay have increased year by year and till now the momentum is still going strong.

In August 2012, during the tenure of former President U Thein Sein, permission to establish private schools were granted. For those who applied for permission, depending on the facts such as extent of the space, size of the school building, the condition of the library, practical rooms and teaching and learning equipment, a number of private schools were granted permission to be established for different periods like five years, two years and one year on an experimental base.

Permission for establishing private schools, where the curriculum went hand in hand with the usual one taught in government schools, provided a great opportunity for those who had a wide scope and systematic way of creating the education system. As there are parents who are ready to make sacrifices in any way just for their kids’ education, some newly established private schools had difficulties, whereas most gained many benefits.

Parents, when choosing schools to enrol their kids, whether it may be a private or an international school which goes along well with the government curriculum, preference is given in the teaching methods of the school. The curriculum, extent of teaching and learning equipment provided, sports, literature and music sectors, then the extent of cooperation between parents and teachers and school fees are main points which are considered and only then decisions are made. Another important point which goes into consideration by parents is the teaching of English language.

“Our school not only teaches the entire curriculum prescribed by the government whereas science, public relations and mathematics are also added, which are all taught in English. So all these lessons become the foundation for the children as their level of education increases,” says Khin San Yi, Principal of the Royal English Bright Centre (REBC) Middle School in Mandalay.

REBC being situated on Strand Road, between 22nd and 26th Street at the west end of Mandalay, is quite a distance for those students from the east side of the city to attend. However, in our school teaching all subjects in English being an advantage, the school has gained success said Thidar Oo who established and manages the school.

“English teaching begins from pre-school so the children get the basic foundation of the language. As being a private school, we have to place more effort. The school has computer rooms, practical rooms teaching and learning equipment. Then again only when the teachings in a private school exceed then the prescribed curriculum, the school will be able to survive. Just by going along the usual way, our students will shift to other schools,” says Thidar Oo.

As there are many private schools competing, it is also important that ability of teachers play a vital role. When our private school was first established, on an experimental base, it had to be attached to a government school for a year in teaching said Thidar Oo. When permission was granted, it had to be considered whether the school will be established on a private owned land or on a leased land. That year when permission was granted, there were about 60 schools around the whole country. However, at present, there are probable about 150 private schools in Upper Myanmar and about the same number in Lower Myanmar.

Those who can’t afford, have to depend on government schools. Some parents don’t spend much for their kid’s education while the child is still in the primary or middle level but much investment is made only when the child reaches the senior levels like 9th and 10th Standards. However, as times have changed, nowadays most parents who have a certain level of education have come to understand that it is most important of having a good foundation in English.

Parents who can afford, not only want their kids to be good in school lessons but also in sports, arts and music which can enhance the child’s ability. All these facts are well known by those who establish international schools.

Sai Phone Myat Lwin who is the Executive Officer of the Higher Cambridge International School in Mandalay says that students from his school are not only taught the usual curriculum but the ability of leadership; politeness and civilization are also added to the curriculum.

“Lessons in our school are mostly taught in English but Myanmar language is not neglected and is also added in the lessons. Our intention is not only teaching literature but to build up a new civilized generation and those who will be able to perform good leadership. These days’ parents have come to encourage their children’s education from the pre-school level. Every parent want their kid’s future to be secured. Then again they fear that their child will lack in the knowledge of Myanmar language. So in a way of filling this gap, we have added a subject concerning civilization in the curriculum,” said Sai Phone Myat Lwin.

He says that in his school which goes by the Cambridge curriculum, Information Technology (IT), Sports, and Japanese Mathematics known as Sakamoto, Geography and History are also added. In the 21st Century what will become most essential is not where students give answers learnt by heart but an ability to make decisions on which is right or wrong depending on their own skills and learn to be able to work in a cooperative manner, he added.

At private schools, primary level fees for an academic term can be from K500, 000 to K 700, 000, the middle level around K1000, 000 and for the Higher Level, depending on the outstanding performance of the school, fees can be from K 5000, 000 and above. Then when it comes to international schools, depending on its distinguished ability, fees for the primary level per annum can be approximately K4000, 000, middle school between K5000, 000 to K 6000, 000 and the higher level K 8000, 000.

“International schools will still exist as long as they provide a high quality of education. Then again if these schools are in a position to make arrangements for students to study overseas at foreign educational institutions, there will always be a share for them among the elite class, concerning education. Arrangements have been made and there will be a scholarship programme for 6 outstanding students from our school this May,” said Sai Phone Myat Lwin.

Source: Myanmar Times

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