Books for Asia in Myanmar
Since 2007, The Asia Foundation's Books for Asia program has donated more than 100,000 books valued at $4.8 million to a wide range of educational institutions throughout the country.
Status of Education in Myanmar
Myanmar had one of the most admired education systems in Asia until the 1960's, producing a highly literate culture with a deep reverence for learning. The country maintains a high literacy rate but education standards have deteriorated due to decades of under-investment and civil conflict. Schools are poorly equipped and educational materials are often outdated. Although primary school enrollment is compulsory, enrollment drops to 52% for girls and 49% for boys by the time they reach secondary school. The government is beginning to increase its investment in education in order to improve Myanmar's human resource capacity.
Books for Asia provides up-to-date educational and cutting-edge research material to all sectors of Myanmar society in order to improve education levels, broaden public access to information, and inform stakeholder and public debate on key national development and reform issues. In partnership with the U.S. Embassy, Books for Asia donates about 36,000 books a year to approximately 170 government ministries and agencies, schools and universities, NGOs, community libraries across the country's 14 states and regions. Increasingly, Books for Asia will expand the availability of material available in Burmese on critical governance and development issues, as well as support the capacity of community libraries to offer greater services and wider access to printed and digital information.
Project and Partner Highlights
Wide-reaching book donation program. Books for Asia's program in Myanmar serves a diverse group of institutions. Recipients include Yangon University, Mandalay University, Myanmar Medical Association, Upper Burma English Teachers Training Association, the National Library, Tharapar community library, Thu-Kha-Myitta Orphanage School Library, Myanmar Writers & Journalists Association, IT and English centers, monastic libraries, and Islamic centers.
Institution-building collections. In response to a special request from the Burma Parliament, Books for Asia donated 600 books on governance, democratization, and parliamentary procedure to the Parliamentary Library. Special collections are also being assembled for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as it prepares to chair ASEAN in 2014, and other key institutions.
Major publisher donors: LexisNexis, Juris Publishing, Harvard Business Publishing, McGraw-Hill, Wiley, W.W. Norton & Co., and Macmillan.
Director, Books for Asia