|Students take a lunch
break at a canteen in the Nanyang Technological University
AN INCREASING number of young Myanmar students are striving to
study at universities in Australia and Singapore because of the
opportunities for residency these countries offer, according to
sources in the education sectors.
“Many of them now tend to go to Australian universities
because the government grants permanent residency (PR) status
after staying there for two years,” said Daw Mon Yi Nyein,
an official at YIUS Pre-University Level Studies.
Foreign students are also officially allowed to work for 20
hours a week while studying, she said.
She said other advantages for Myanmar students included the
chance to work part-time for which a student can earn A$15 (US$14)
an hour. Average annual tuition fees are A$15,000 ($13,930) with
approximate accommodation fees of A$12,000 ($11,150).
But many foreign students are able to work longer hours unofficially,
with the trade-off being a slightly lower wage and significant
risks if they are caught.
But there are other attractions to studying in Singapore or
Australia, besides permanent residency status.
“You also have better job opportunities after graduation
and [in Singapore] the climate is similar to that of Myanmar,”
But Daw Mon Yi Nyein said Myanmar students must have an IELTS
(International English Language Testing System) score to study
in Australia, which could pose problems for some students.
“You need to hold high points in this exam and it will
be better if you also have a bachelor degree or a diploma relevant
to the subject you want to apply for,” she said. “Another
requirement taken for granted is you must have passed the matriculation
Daw Mon Yi Nyein said her company has so far been able to help
more than 30 students join Edith Cowan University, Curtin University
of Technology and the Perth Institute of Business and Technology.
“Most students pursue business, IT and accounting but
mining engineering and mining technology are popular although
they are not yet familiar with Myanmar students,” she said.
Daw Swe Swe Hlaing, an assistant manager at ICEC, said the most
popular subject for Myanmar students at universities in Singapore
was hotel and tourism management.
“[Singapore’s] expansion of their hotel and tourism
sector is a main reason for this popularity because they need
more employees,” she said. “And students of these
majors can have on-the-job training after studying their course
for six months. Job opportunities after completion of their studies
also attract students to pursue this field.”
U Winston Set Aung, the research director at Asia Development
Research Institute, urged Myanmar students to prepare themselves
for studying abroad if that was their desire.
“Here, what we have is a spoon-feeding system,”
he said. “Beyond our borders, you must learn to work independently.
Teachers there just show you the way and then you must put in
the effort, which is half the battle.”
He said it was a good thing that pre-courses were available