ASEAN Centre in MGIMO-University the MFA of Russia


Strengthening Russia-Myanmar Cooperation in Education


A Comprehensive conference designated to facilitate the bilateral educational cooperation between the Russian Federation and ASEAN countries was held at Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics, and Informatics on 4th of February. Representatives from ASEAN countries’ and Russian universities participated actively in the conference which was aimed at determining concrete measures to accelerate the entry of the educational contracts containing a special mechanism to promote the relationship between two regions. The success of the conference was reflected to the fact that the countries from ASEAN organization have now signed the agreements on student exchange programs to cooperate with the Russian Federation. Apart from the cooperation between two regions, an internship student representing ASEAN Center at MGIMO University made a brief overview of the long-lasting and fast-developing Russia-Myanmar relations, which are marked with cooperation and correspond to the strategic interests of the states.

The diplomatic relationships between Russia and Myanmar intensified in 1967, after Russia once vetoed a UN Security council resolution designed to impose sanctions against Myanmar. Since then, Myanmar-Russia collaboration has extended to various sectors including economy, education and military training without hostility and suspicion.

As it is universally acknowledged, in the 21st century investing in education and upgrading skills is a key driver of economic growth especially for the developing nations. In compliance with this widespread belief, Russia and Myanmar, these two remarkable nations, have built bilateral relations in educational sector. In return, nowadays the relations have dramatically revitalized and resulted in producing technologists, experts and specialists for both countries.

The cooperation began with a student exchange program, the project which was under direct responsibility of the Ministries of Education. In 1972, twelve Myanmar students were sent to Moscow State University and six Russian students came to Rangoon University to study multicultural courses and technological sciences. More than 300 Myanmar students in 2000 and 600 students in 2004 started their studies at different universities in Moscow. Since then, more than 4000 (MSc, PhD and DSc) Myanmar experts in academic filed have graduated from various Russian universities. Around 2000 Myanmar students are currently studying in Russia. As for the Russian Federation, thirty Russian students were sent to study in the Government Technological Universities and a Russian Language Department is established in the Universities of Foreign languages in Rangoon and Mandalay.

Moreover, a teacher exchange program is expected to be launched in early 2016 according to the agreements which were negotiated during the visit of the Russian Prime Minister to Myanmar in November 2014.

Expenditure costs also play a very important role in collaboration between two regions. Within these 40 years of cooperation, Myanmar government has spent more than 150 million dollars on students in Russia and more than 50 million dollars to integrate the educational system in Myanmar. As for the Russian government, the country has spent more than 100 million dollars for infrastructure building in education. For instance, the Government Technological University in Rangoon and the Main Library of Mandalay Technological Institute were built under the budget authorization of the Russian government.

When the bilateral collaboration came into reality, the results proved out to be much more significant than expected. Nowadays, new study programs in oil and gas, computer sciences, social work, market economy, and tourism were expanded and developed in the universities of Myanmar. More surprisingly, a group of DSc and PhD students who graduated in Russia are currently trying to establish the very first institute of aviation in Myanmar after they had conducted a lot of productive researches, including the invention of 1st Robot Drone in the country in 2012. Furthermore, Myanmar now has adopted new courses in Russian language, which students can study at the universities of foreign languages in Rangoon and Mandalay.

Nyan Lin Htet
1st year master student
Public Policy and Policy Analysis Department
Higher School of Economics