Myanmar - market opportunity or messy risk? A perspective on how an Australian university responds to the need for the kind of education that enables a `decent living' in Myanmar.

Andrews, C 2018, Myanmar - market opportunity or messy risk? A perspective on how an Australian university responds to the need for the kind of education that enables a `decent living' in Myanmar., Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Education, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Myanmar - market opportunity or messy risk? A perspective on how an Australian university responds to the need for the kind of education that enables a `decent living' in Myanmar.
Author(s) Andrews, C
Year 2018
Abstract This study is a perspective on how an Australian university responds to the need for the kind of education that enables a `decent living' for the people of Myanmar. This raises issues of national identity, the typology of education, and questions of value that relate to a decent living and the balance between survivability and sustainability. It is the central hypothesis of this thesis that Australian universities are increasingly driven by the corporate imperative of economic growth that may be counter to their founding social principles, and a new way of seeing unfamiliar, remote and emerging markets is required.

The study is structured in three parts: attitude, alignment and approach. The literature review considers Buddhist, Burmese, outsider and shared narratives on attitudes towards Myanmar, as well as perspectives on southeast Asian and Myanmar TVET systems. This reveals the challenges of engagement and concludes that the need for education is not resolved by the imposition of Western-style curriculum, rather requiring an alignment of perspectives and understandings leading towards a shared approach. Global trends and issues such as climate change, international corporate hegemony and geo-political confrontations have exacerbated historical, national and cultural differences to the extent that simplistic interventions are ineffective and risk increasing volatility. Complex and `messy' scenarios, that can be seen as opportunities or risks, are increasingly the norm in these circumstances.

Before a shared approach is undertaken an epistemological analysis needs to take place that reflects upon experience and knowledge of the self, both in terms of the Australian university and the researcher that is a participant observer in that institution. The methodology adopts a reflective standpoint and explores the potential for aligning the Australian university with the Myanmar environment through a critical systems thinking process and an institutional ethnography. This results in the development of a viable systems model that considers the capacity, capability and competency of the institution to respond through systems dynamics to the Myanmar educational environment. The locus for this approach is the city of Yangon where climate change, urban coping strategies and sustainable enterprise development issues occupy a population seeking ways to build resilience and equitable empowerment opportunities. The prevalence of colonial-era heritage infrastructure and exploitative foreign direct investment, as well as continuing internal problems, add to the potential sensitivities and dissonance in the engagement, design and delivery of educational options from an Australian university perspective.

The conclusion from this assessment is that a reflective ethnographic approach that accommodates `messy' scenarios is critical in aligning the capacity, capabilities and competency of respective stakeholders in unfamiliar, remote and emerging vocational educational markets. This is especially the case where political, cultural and socio-economic determinants drive informal and alternative forms of education and training that may rely on delivery through new technologies and structural paradigms. There are no known institutional ethnographic studies of universities in Australia that address the issue of engagement with messy, unfamiliar, remote and emerging scenarios from a reflective standpoint as a precursor to a shared narrative and the design of a middle way. The contribution of this study is to recognise that these issues relate to both corporate and educational markets; and learned experience from the corporate world is brought into play within the educational sector to create a template for engagement.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Education
Subjects Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified
Vocational Education and Training Curriculum and Pedagogy
Keyword(s) Education
Identity
Value
Attitude
Alignment
Approach
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Created: Tue, 03 Mar 2020, 14:38:31 EST by Adam Rivett
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