Nov 25, 2016 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Myanmar continues its quest to boost the reputation of its higher education system on the international stage with news of plans to open a new university in its capital, according to a report from The Myanmar Times. Here’s a closer look at the initiative, along with why students and parents in particular are celebrating the news.

Plans Underway

In speaking of plans to build a new university dedicated to arts and sciences in Myanmar’s Pobbathiri township, Nay Pyi Taw Council member U Tun Tin said that a plot of land was already chosen as a likely site for the campus. Additionally, insiders revealed, the state counselor had agreed to a construction proposal with a five-year timeline. 

The new university will join several others in Nay Pyi Taw, and is expected to significantly expand the region’s offerings in the arts and sciences.

Good News for Students and Parents

While the project is applauded by many stakeholders, parents and students in the capital have special cause to celebrate the possibility of bachelor’s studies closer to home.

Said one resident and parent, “Students who want to study arts or sciences at university currently have to go to Mandalay or Kyaukse. Once the new university is built, we will be able to watch over our children more easily.”

Higher educated citizens are viewed by many as a critical part of helping the country achieve its full potential during Myanmar’s transition to democracy. Perhaps Myanmar Nobel Prize winner and National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s words from more than a quarter-century ago best reflect the country’s outlook today: “A country’s international standard cannot be measured in terms of the number of hotels and bridges; it has to be measured in terms of education. A country of inferior education won’t be able to catch up with the world.”

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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