Teaching political science and international relations in Myanmar: Curriculum reform and capacity-building at the University of Yangon and Mandalay University

Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk


Higher education reform is a key policy priority of the government led by Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. Subject to systematic destruction over decades of authoritarian rule, the sector has undergone considerable changes in recent years, and thus offers a useful vantage point to reflect on the extent of the country’s transformation. In this paper we draw on a capacity-building project we were involved in 2013-2016, during which we helped re-start the undergraduate degree in International Relations after a 25-year hiatus and launch a brand-new Political Science degree. We worked alongside local academics to design curricula, plan new courses, and introduce new pedagogies. Drawing on interviews and focus groups with staff and students, participant observation and a small survey, we focus on the changes that local staff introduced in their classrooms and highlight the micro-politics of implementation as a key aspect of change in this important sector.
Period4 Jul 20196 Jul 2019
Held atInternational Studies Association (Asia-Pacific), Singapore
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • higher education
  • higher education reform
  • micro-politics
  • Myanmar
  • Mandalay
  • university
  • capacity-building
  • world society