Building on ongoing Asian Development Bank (ADB) technical assistance (TA) support, the proposed Equipping Youth for Employment Project (EYE) -- formerly titled Preparing Youth for the Workplace Sector Development Program -- will provide cohesive support to secondary education subsector (SES) and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) reforms, to ensure these subsectors are mutually aligned and collectively serve Myanmar s evolving labor market and socioeconomic context. [[FOOTNOTE: In partnership with Australia via 2 cofinanced TAs, ADB is the only development partner organization (DPO) currently supporting SES, and is one of a small number of DPOs supporting TVET, with ADB providing support via these TAs as well as a TVET-focused TA financed by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction. ]] The Project will combine policy-level and investment-level support for rationalization of SES and TVET and address key interlinked challenges in subsector management, access, and quality and relevance via 3 outputs: (i) policy frameworks and capacities for cohesive, workforce-responsive SES and TVET enhanced; (ii) new SES curriculum delivered and access expanded; and (iii) new TVET programs introduced and access expanded. The Program will provide programmatic support to nationwide reforms, as the main support to SES within the forthcoming National Education Strategic Plan (NESP) for 2016-2021 and closely coordinated with other development partner organization (DPO) support for TVET. The EYE is included in ADB's Myanmar country program for 2016.
PROJECT RATIONALE AND LINKAGE TO COUNTRY/REGIONAL STRATEGY
SES (which produces most workforce entrants) and TVET (which suffers from very low access) are largely supply-driven and not responsive to Myanmar s evolving labor force needs. SES and TVET are also not mutually aligned or strategically linked. Such gaps in subsector management are interlinked with gaps in access and quality. Analysis of data from the 2014 Census indicate that just above 80% of youth complete primary education, but less than half (roughly 44%) complete lower secondary education (LSE). Of the roughly 1.1 million new primary school entrants each year, only 10% complete upper secondary education (USE) 11 years later. [[FOOTNOTE: Figures herein draw on ADB-supported analysis household survey and other data as part of Myanmar s Comprehensive Education Sector Review. See http://www.adb.org/projects/47177-001/documents
]] Given that most forms of TVET (like higher education) require USE completion, this leaves a missing million youth without access to many forms of employment, skill training, or higher education. Prospects are particularly bleak for the more than half of all youth (and large majority of those in poor households) unable to complete even LSE. [[FOOTNOTE: Forthcoming reforms will extend the current 11-year system to a KG-12 system, adding kindergarten and USE grade 12.]] Partly as a result of this, TVET access has been very low, with only 1 in 60 youth aged 16-19 enrolled in any form of training (versus 1 in 9 enrolled in higher education), and training virtually nonexistent in rural areas or in construction, mechanical, or industrial skills. Finally, low quality directly undermines access. In SES, outdated, weakly relevant curriculum and rote-based pedagogy (i) undercut learning outcomes, evidenced in the two-thirds failure rate on the matriculation exam at the end of USE; (ii) drive up costs of LSE and particularly USE; [[FOOTNOTE: ADB-supported analysis suggests that USE (not university) poses the highest per-student expenditure burden on households, and private tutoring (driven by rote-based assessment) is the largest component of education costs.]] and (iii) contribute to lack of interest as the lead reason cited for SES dropout. Similarly, perceived low quality and relevance undermine both demand for TVET and trainee employability. Collectively, such challenges leave the majority of workforce entrants poorly educated and un- or poorly skilled, undercut national poverty reduction and inclusive growth objectives, and threaten to trap the economy in a natural resource extraction-based, low value-added model. [[FOOTNOTE: See (i) http://www.dica.gov.mm/sites/dica.gov.mm/files/document-files/psd_framework_final_01_apr_englidh.pdf
; and (ii) ADB. 2014. Myanmar: Unlocking the Potential. Country Diagnostic Study. Manila. Respondents to the Myanmar Business Survey 2014 cited human resources (e.g., weak mastery of foundational knowledge and hard and soft skills like critical thinking, numerical skills, and problem-solving) as the second most serious barrier to business.]]
At the same time, Myanmar has put in place critical keystones for SES and TVET reforms. These include (i) the new government' s redoubled emphasis on education, with the education budget tripling during fiscal years FY2011/12 and FY2013/14 alone; (ii) adoption of an evidence-based approach, with the ongoing Comprehensive Education Sector Review feeding into formulation of the NESP; and (iii) commitment by the Ministry of Education (MOE), and other agencies to pursue cohesive SES and TVET reforms. EYE will directly support these reforms to realign SES and TVET to collectively provide the vast and evolving array of "soft" and "hard" skills needed in a Modern Myanmar. EYE will directly support the government's reform agenda for SES and TVET aimed at Both of the SDB's complementary policy- and investment project component's will support improved subsector management, quality, and access, and . EYE will align with priorities for SES
Education and skills base for inclusive growth enhanced
Secondary education and TVET realigned to evolving labor force needs and equitably expanded