The micro-politics of higher education reform in Myanmar. Perspectives from three universities in Mandalay

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


The paper examines reforms in the higher education sector to reflect on the trajectory of transformation in Myanmar. The paper draws on case studies from Mandalay University, Yadanabon University and the Mandalay University of Foreign Languages to show how, in an environment that is both centralised and fragmented, change can spring from below. Bottom-up initiatives, in the form of innovation in teaching practices, reveal an encouraging image of Myanmar’s potential for transformation in higher education. They were enabled and supported by leadership at the micro-level (department and individual staff level), and implemented by individual staff members who embraced and ‘owned’ the changes they were adopting and shaping. Staff-led initiatives were welcomed by the students. The paper also revisits the many legacies lingering on as they continue to affect how faculty and students teach and learn.
Period4 Jul 20197 Jul 2019
Held atInternational Studies Association Asia Pacific Annual Convention, United States
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • higher education
  • Myanmar Mandalay
  • education
  • micro-politics
  • capacity-building