How the Burmese alphabet is taught is changing

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Education announced a reform to its kindergarten curriculum, a reform that has attracted much criticism within the Burmese-speaking community. What has sparked the most controversy is a sweeping change in the way the Burmese alphabet is taught. Beginning in the next academic year, Burmese kindergartners will no longer be taught 8 of the 33 letters, which will instead be taught in the subsequent grade.

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Some thoughts on the politics of economic inequality

The ironic tragedy is that while Burma’s economic system has been decimated by decades of sustained political mismanagement, the country’s education system has also produced some of the world’s most prominent and influential economists, including Hla Myint*, Ezra Solomon*, and Ronald Findlay*, all of whom were educated at Rangoon University. (All subsequently established academic careers outside the country, at world-class institutions like London School of Economics, Stanford University and Columbia University.)

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Burmese Americans

Birthplace and identity – the case of Burma-born Americans

Ethnic identity is a social construct, and a very fluid one that at that. It’s by no means immutable, especially in multi-ethnic societies like Burma, where many assume multiple ethnic identities depending on context, as a means of conducting business, gaining social acceptance, and receiving education. For the Burmese community, there’s a also certain ambiguity attached to the term “Burmese,” and whether it’s a reference to the Burmese nationality, the Burman ethnicity, or both.

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8 maps from the 2014 Burma census

During my review of the 2014 Census results, I came across a number of interesting maps that demonstrate exceeding disparities within Burma, everything from population density to electricity penetration, not readily apparent by the national “averages.”

These disparities are palpable even from bordering regions, so I did a quick runthrough against World Bank data to see where the states and regions fall among the nations of the world, to demonstrate these vast differences further. Findings below.

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