Our work to support education reform

We have supported Myanmar's education sector through working in partnership with the national HE sector committees/bodies/ organisations and enabling access to the UK's experience and expertise in priority areas of education reform.  

We have organised international policy dialogues in Myanmar, bringing together key stakeholders and create a platform to engage with British education institutions and organisations, national bodies, consultants and other international experts.  

We have arranged study tours to the UK for high-level decision makers to familiarise themselves with how the UK sector operates and to raise awareness in the UK of Myanmar's education sector. 

Through our education activities, we aim to build long term, trusting relationships and partnerships between the UK and Myanmar. 

One of the British Council’s current education projects, Towards Results in Education and English (TREE) is a component of the five-year Myanmar – UK Partnership for Education (MUPE) programme funded by Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). 

At inception the objectives of the TREE project were:

  1. Increased competence in Education Degree Colleges (EC) principals and teacher educators (TEs) in implementing teacher education reforms
  2. Improved learning outcomes for student teachers (STs), particularly in English Language Teaching (ELT); and
  3. A stronger, more effective and more inclusive education system to support teacher education reforms.

These outcomes are intended to improve student outcomes in English, improve the design and implementation of education reforms and improve linkages between educational institutions. The TREE outcomes will contribute to the overall MUPE desired impact and achievement of stronger more effective education systems and more relevant learning for all Myanmar’s children, equipping them for life after school.

TREE is managed and implemented by a consortium of partners, led by the British Council with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), Montrose and the Open University UK. 

We have extended our support by enabling education policy makers to attend regional education policy dialogues and international conferences. We have helped ensure Myanmar participation in key global events such as the Education World Forum and the British Council's annual conference Going Global.

The higher education sector in Myanmar is in the early stages of significant change. There is a critical need to build the capacity of leaders and senior management teams in higher education (HE) institutions and Education departments to respond to these changes and lead change in their institutions/departments.  British Council's programmes have focused on capacity development for these senior stakeholders in Myanmar’s higher education sector, working with and through the National Institute for Higher Education Development (NIHED).


The programme aims to support the transformational shift focused on Higher Education set out in the roadmap of Myanmar’s Education reform, the National Education Strategic Plan (2016-2021), which is to enhance and strengthen the capacity and professional development of HE governance and management, and to support in establishing a “National Institute of Higher Education Development (NIHED)”. The programme also aims to create a better enabling environment for internationalisation of HE between UK and Myanmar. 

In the pilot year of the programme (THEMP, 2017-18) representatives from the senior management teams of 11 universities received training in five areas:

  1. Strategic leadership and management
  2. Leading and managing research
  3. Leading and managing teaching quality
  4. Leading and managing curriculum design
  5. Leading and managing assessment, feedback and evaluation

The training content was designed by University College London Institute of Education (UCL IOE). UCL IOE trained local NIHED trainers who then co-delivered the courses with the UK academics. Two national conferences for 200 leaders from 100 Myanmar universities were also held in the pilot year.

The programme was underpinned by close partnership with the National Education Policy Commission (NEPC), Department for Higher Education (DHE) and the Rectors’ Committee (RC). Following a meeting with these three bodies, it was agreed that a central outcome of the next phase of the programme should be the formal establishment of the National Institute for Higher Education Development (NIHED) as an official body. The formal establishment of NIHED would ensure a sustainable approach to managing HE capacity development beyond the lifespan of this project.

The two main areas of focus for Phase 2 were:

  1. Development of a proposal for the formal structure of the National Institute for Higher Education Development, covering scope, strategic planning, training needs analysis and approaches, staffing, quality assurance and budget.
  2. Staff capacity development, building on the work carried out in the pilot year.

Phase 2 started in September 2019 and ran for 16 months. In phase 2, the programme was implemented by Advance HE, a member-led, sector-owned charity that works with institutions and higher education across the world to improve higher education for staff, students and society. Advance HE trained a cohort of NIHED trainers from different disciplines across Myanmar to lead on a virtual professional development workshop to affirm and develop the cohesion of teaching and learning, leadership and governance and international outlook. The workshop welcomed about 100 senior HEI staff. Moreover, the structural proposal for creating the National Institute for Higher Education Development was submitted and well accepted.

The 3-year programme closed in March 2021.