Thursday, December 13, 2007

Management and Leadership for the people of Myanmar

There are many different ways of approaching into the perspectives of management. It can range from the basic matters of managing oneself, managing family and household issues, managing the various sizes of projects, managing teams and organizations, and managing and leading the country.It happened to me writing this article in my blog today was that if we, Myanmar people, are systematically moving forward to the right path of achieving the democracy one day, we are definitely going to need plenty of skillful democratic leaders and followers for the future Myanmar.

Since our culture has depending, humble and obedient relationship among the family members, we grew up under the intensive and warmth care of our parents even we were old enough to take care of ourselves. Parents usually decide our futures in general; the majoring subject we study in university, to whom we should marry....etc. The majorities of parents involves into the affairs of their children. After being built up and educated the youth of Myanmar people with the morality of social behaviors in which there are greater influences of Buddhism and depending cultures, most of them are incapable of instant decision making and risk taking when they encounters to deal with the critical situations. If you flip through the world history books, there is no Myanmar who ventures to the top of Mount Everest. There is no Myanmar who travels around the world with a single bike or a boat, and also it is quite difficult to find someone from Myanmar who can be counted as a world class business man or scientist. Where are they? Why they can not even be acknowledged in our mankind history? I only happened to read one Myanmar book which is basically about the very firsts of Myanmar, the pioneers of Myanmar. Most of those pioneers did great jobs 50 years ago, but nothing tremendously happen these decades. Sport is a good example.

Our education system has so much corruption and tangent from the actual need of high level education system for the students. University and high school teachers are only exercising by taking bribes under government policies which guarantee the students to pass the exam within short period of timeframe as long as students do not involve nor relate to any form of political activities to oppose the military government. Students finished the school, and graduated without having concrete knowledge of their majoring subjects. The mentality of the students has been severely spoiled under the management of military regime. Students believe in the fact that it is easy to pass the school exam if they pay the money to school teachers. 40 years ago, it used to be an unacceptable and insulting manner if students pay the bribes to their respected teachers for the purpose of passing exam, but morality rate is declining dramatically during the years of military management. Older generation of teachers are well qualified and they keep their pride for being a good teacher by not taking any form of bribes, but by only providing their knowledge and passing it to the students.

Because of the poor education infrastructure constructed by the government policies which are primarily aiming to grow the count of universities and schools in every state and division without fulfilling the skillful teachers, students are suffering lack of proper training and study materials. Even in the state high schools, students are trained in such a way that everyone has to learn the contents of the books by heart instead of giving them a chance to think on their own the meaning of the subjects they are learning. Students are so used to memorizing everything.

The missing parts in the daily life of high school students are sport activities and field trips for the environmental studies. Parents only encourage their children to take private tuitions from school teachers, and also practice hiring someone who can give guidance while their kids are studying at home. Those fashions are being adopted for the primary school goers, high school students, and also even for some university students. What happened to the youths? They are less believing in themselves. They dare not to stand on their own.

Their physical strengths are not strong enough. They are doing less sport and outdoors activities except battling with the school lessons and homework to memorize almost everything. Because of the declining economy in Myanmar, most households are struggling with their lower incomes. Only very few households are able to effort to drink milk every day. During Second World War, Myanmar people used to call Japanese as "Japan Ng Pu" which means short Japanese. But it is not true now. Average Japanese are at least from 5 feet to 6 feet tall. Since World War II, Japan is trying so hard and pushing forward their people until now to cope with the Americans.

Students from Japan and Western countries have been trained the basic of management and leadership skills since they were young. Kids are encouraged to manage themselves instead of depending on their parents all the time. It is not about culture differences. It is about how kids should be trained systematically to direct into a superior life style. If one is familiar with the leadership skills, it is not so difficult to become a follower as well and known of how to pay respect to good leaders. It is also easy to evaluate and make better judgment to the policies enlightened by the leaders. There is a natural harmony between leaders and followers in general atmospheres.

We, Myanmar people, have a very disappointing habit. If any major crisis happened in the country, the leaders are engaged into conflicting each other before making primary decision for the good courses. Sometime I wonder how this nasty habit carried over generation to generation from the time of Myanmar's last King, Thee Baw, killing all the royal bloods in order to avoid the possible rivals when he take over the position of the king. As long as this practice is happening and passing over to our next generation, Myanmar will never ever able to stand on our own. I met some Myanmar democratic leaders who are based in Tokyo. The first thing they did was pointing their fingers each others, and finally split into two groups. One accused another, and some said they are doing the political activities just to have a stay in Japan. Please do as long as there are activities and people doing for the good courses of Myanmar. It is really important that one must able be a good follower to become a good leader.

Myanmar has two kinds of education systems; Military University education system which was controlled and trained by military personnel, and public Universities are for the ordinary class of Myanmar people. A lot of military personnel have been deployed in Russia for the further study especially in nuclear technologies.

Every year, Japanese government provides the scholarship programs for South East Asia countries and brings the talented people to study in Japan. Since Japan is an economically strong country, Japanese government always helps the people of Myanmar in educational environment. But mostly only the military personnel and the relatives of military families always enjoy the opportunities of scholarship programs provided by Japanese government. There is no job guarantee for the fresh graduates who graduated from public Universities.

If we look ahead ten years from now, new leaders will come out to mange the country and also new generation will have to compete with the people trained by the military education system. I find the people from public Universities are still weak in education system. Education system is really important and it plays a vital part for the future of the country. Without having superior foundation of the education system, how are we going to train the leaders who will lead the country in the future? How are they going to manage the country? Military education system has at least military management and its dictatorship. To compete with the military framework, we are going to need to learn the leadership skills and management for the democratic trend, political sciences which we are not allowed to study in Myanmar, diplomatic and communication skills in order to engage into the international societies and organizations. At least, we can rebuild our mentalities which have been ruined by the military system.

Ba Kaung