The Barriers to Agriculture and Higher Education Reform in Myanmar MLF, Yangon, 24 February 2013 DumrongLeenanuruksa Maejo University, Thailand
President U TheinSein calls for establishment of model integrated farms
President U TheinSein called on farmers to jointly engage in farming and breeding, reaffirming the commitment of government to give necessary assistance to them, this call came as he visited of 2000 acres mechanized multiple crop farm in Nyaungbintha Village, Pyu Township and a mechanized farm of 500 acres in Padaukkhin Village, Ottwin Township in Bago Region this morning. (2 Feb 2013)
He stressed the interrelationship of farming and breeding with the establishment of model integrated farmland. Demanding for a shift to organic farming, he suggested an education campaign to encourage the drinking of milk for health and the nutrition of growing children.
17 Feb- President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar U TheinSein visited Thanthayar Aye Pagoda at Zetawun Meditation Centre in Haka, Chin State today. • During his visit to the farms, the President stressed the need for expanding cow breeding and for establishment of pastures. He pledged that the Government would provide bio-gas tanks to farmers so that they might generate power from the biogas made from cow dung.
He also urged the farmers to manage their incomes so that they can send their children to school, to teach them to be able to conserve their traditional culture and to learn Myanmar language so they can communicate with the peoples across the Union.
The message of AggaMahaThayaySithu, AggaMahaThiriThudhamma U TheinSein, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar on the occasion of the 65th Anniversary Union Day, 12 Feb 2012
National brethren of the Union are to make joint efforts for modernization of the Nation and the socio-economic improvement of its people, utilizing the invaluable natural resources of Myanmar.
As for the national economy, the Government is working hard to transform the Nation into an industrialized one while increasing the development momentum of the agricultural sector. It also is taking measures to promote the raising of education and health standards to international levels, for human resource development necessary for industrialization.
The Government has allowed foreign investment thereby creating new jobs, import technical skills and accumulation of capital while encouraging the production industries national entrepreneurs.
The Government is taking steps to introduce a pure market economy and to speeding up strides for future socio-economic development of the nation and its people leading to poverty alleviation. http://www.president-office.gov.mm/en/briefing-room/messages/2012/02/12/id-1223
Barriers presenting moving toward a democratic society for Myanmar • Destruction of administrative structures after 50+ yrs of authoritarian rule. • Embedded process or operations of the old system. • People are accustomed to being suppressed , more tolerant and problem state becoming to a new norm, or mindset.
The lord Buddha said “ One’s own habit prohibits one from seeing one’s own problem”. • Therefore, it is very difficult for one to see or recognize his own mindset because of his attachment to old paradigm.
Has this been known by the reformer named U TheinSein, the President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. • The answer is yes.
President U TheinSein called on the different echelons of administration to change their mindset and the way they behave in line with the democratization process as he met district- and township-level departmental personnel at Aung Zeya Yeiktha in the local station of Kalay this evening. (16 Feb 2013)
Though the ongoing political and economic reforms have achieved certain successes, there still remain challenges and difficulties, mentioned the President. • He urged the different levels of government staff ranging from departmental heads to clerical staff to adapt themselves to meet the demands of changing era and system. • He stressed the need for competency and morality of the bodies concerned to ensure effectiveness of administrative mechanisms and called on them to change their mindset and behaviors.
President U ThienSein visits MahaThakaPadima Buddha Image in Kalay, 16 Feb 2013 • Afterwards, the President visited the thriving sunflower plantations and bee keeping operations near the village. • Local farmers reported to the President on double cropping in the area and bee keeping which provide high income to the farmers. • They viewed producing honey at the bee keeping farm. The President called on officials concerned for organizing and educating the farmers to encouraging the keeping bees while engaging in agriculture. Farmers can earn high income by keeping bees.
The officials of the respective departments need to have good character and integrity to improve the socio-economic life of the people, President TheinSein said. • The President made the statement during his visit to Sagaing Region and Chin State where he met the departmental officials at the township level on February 15 and 16,2013. • “Our government policy is to restore rule of law and to compete with other Nations in the World so as to improve the socio-economic life of the people,” said President TheinSein.
U TheinSein said: “Our country is now going on the democratic road and upholding the reform process. The people need to change their attitude. Those who are responsible for running the Government are required to have good character and integrity. The heads of departments and their subordinates can be adjusted to fit with the current age.”
To minimize clashes of the different attitudes and the different mindsets of the people in Myanmar whilst working towards the structural and operational reforms of the country, is there any principle or teaching in Buddhism that can be used ?
CHANDA • The driving force that has led to the success of the work. • That is a quality of mind called Chanda , explained in Buddhism as “will” or “aspiration” for the sake of the accomplishment of one’s own ideal , not for one’s self desire. • The word “chanda” is also the first characteristic of 4 Iddhipada: path of accomplishment; basis for success.
The word in English that has a similar meaning to Chandais public mind or Altruism which is described byWikipedia as: “Altruism or selflessness is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures and a core aspect of various religious traditions, though the concept of "others" toward whom concern should be directed can vary among cultures and religions. Altruism or selflessness is the opposite of selfishness.”
If a person has chanda as one’s internal driving force, the desire of the person will be led toward the sake of the accomplishment of a work rather than to fulfill or serve one’s self interest.
The inheritances from the old system that create the difficulty in higher education reform • Most of the Universities has become one single specific profession University attached to or administrated under the same professional type of ministry. For example, YAU => Ministry of agriculture & irrigation UVS => Ministry of livestock & fishery Which university should teach B.Sc.Agriculture (Animal Production) ?
Structural reform needs to occur, to unify all the Universities which should be regulated by the Higher Education Commission under the Ministry of Education or a separate Ministry of University Affairs. • The Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Livestock should be merged into one Ministry to oversee both plant and animal production.
To achieve success in reforming , the country needs a shared vision and shared consciousness of “ working with a public mind” that means “ having chanda or altruism as a driving force or an incentive”.
President U TheinSein delivers address at first Myanmar Development Cooperation Forum • We hope to discuss the reform strategies and the long-term development plans with all of you as we move forward.
The government will adopt a people-centered approach in line with the Framework on Economic and Social Reform (FESR) when reforming the 10 priority areas such as finance and revenue, relaxation of restrictions on trade and foreign investment, development of the private sector, education and health sectors, food security and development of the agricultural sector, transparency in government, the mobile phone and internet systems, and development of the basic infrastructure
These stakeholders may come from the government, the general public, the private sector, civil society organizations ranging from local nongovernmental organizations (LNGOs) to international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), and the international donor community.
Since the forum will be focusing on the crucial reform strategy and a long term development plan of this country, I would like to encourage the development partners to make comments, give advice, and share their wealth of experience in the development field without any reservation. I am convinced that we will arrive at many useful ideas to assemble and implement our development plan and policies. (21/01/2013)
In response to Presedent U TheinSein address at the at first Myanmar Development Cooperation Forum, my suggestion to the Agriculture and Education reform is that do not let “ one vs one = 0”. This is happened only their interaction is agonistic or non-cooperative one. But if their interaction is synergistic and cooperative one, it will become one + one = TWO.
Please contemplate on the cases of, (1) YAU vs UVS, and (2) Ministry of Agriculture & Irrigation vs Ministry of Livestock and Fishery. For their synergistic action and cooperation. That is to make them 1 + 1 = 2
Conclusion • The President U TheinSein has led reform with prominance and bold actions. • His intention is clearly aimed for the improvement of the country and people of the Union of Myanmar, This indicates that he works with Chanda as a driving force. • To support the country’s reform, the citizens of Myanmar need to handle the reforming issue with Chandaas well.
After contemplating on the Agriculture and Education reform issues with Chanda, the author suggests the unification of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and Minister of Livestock and Fishery to be done as soon as possible , such as not to delay until after next election.
Albert Einstein said “ The problem can not be solved with the same level of awareness that created it”