London: Myanmar needs to develop a modern and independent university system which has been destroyed by half a century of military rule, pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has said.
"The focus of the military government was on maintaining discipline, not on providing education," the Nobel Peace Prize winner said, adding that Myanmar`s university system needs to be "put back on the map" of international higher education.
The Burmese Opposition leader used a video message to address British university chiefs at the end of a study tour of UK institutions by senior Burmese representatives organised by the British Council in London.
"Now the standard of our university education has fallen so low that graduates have nothing except a photograph of their graduation ceremony to show for the years they spent at university," she said.
Suu Kyi chairs a parliamentary committee drafting laws to reform higher education in Burma.
She said that Burmese higher education has suffered from decades of political unrest, with academics and students seen as threats to the regime.
"Our university system has almost been destroyed by half a century of military rule. Campus life ceased to exist several decades ago," the BBC quoted her as saying.
Suu Kyi said that her country needs to develop a modern and independent university system where academic freedom is guaranteed.
"Academic freedom, which to you seems natural, is for us a distant dream. To try to destroy campus life in order to keep our young people quiescent is to destroy the future of our country," she said.
Suu Kyyi studied in the Convent of Jesus and Mary School in New Delhi, and graduated from Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi with a degree in politics in 1964.