Myanmar Education College Principals prepare for upgrade to 4-year degree-granting institutions

Participants at the Consultation Meeting on Education College Curriculum Framework for 4-Year Degree, 8-9 December 2016, Kandawgyi Palace Hotel, Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: UNESCO

unct_mm_UNESCO_News_principals_15.12.2016_2The Director General of the Department of Higher Education, Dr. Thein Win, giving opening remarks at the Consultation Meeting on Education College Curriculum Framework for 4-Year Degree. Photo: UNESCO

On 8-9 December 2016, key officials from Myanmar’s Teacher Education sector gathered in Yangon to discuss plans for upgrading the country’s 25 Education Colleges to 4-year degree granting institutions.

During the 2-day Consultation Meeting, the 55 participants discussed and refined the draft Education College Curriculum Framework for a 4-Year Degree, a guiding document for the reform of teacher education in Myanmar. The Curriculum Framework was drafted with technical support from UNESCO’s Strengthening Pre-Service Teacher Education in Myanmar (STEM) project, with support from the Australian Government.

Participants at the Consultation Meeting included Principals from Myanmar’s 25 Education Colleges, Universities of Education representatives, National Education Policy Commission (NEPC) members, as well as representatives from the Department of Higher Education, the Department of Educational Research, Planning and Training, and the Department of Basic Education.

unct_mm_UNESCO_News_principals_15.12.2016_3One of the Education College Principals speaking during the reflection session on Day 2 of the Consultation Meeting. Photo: UNESCO

The Director General of the Department of Higher Education, Dr. Thein Win, opened the workshop, welcoming the participants and emphasising the critical role each of them holds in improving the quality of pre-service teacher education across Myanmar. He underscored the importance of the work at hand and its potential to shape the future of education in Myanmar. The Director-General encouraged the participants to discuss openly and freely, as they have the most detailed knowledge of how teacher education can be implemented on the ground.

Head of the UNESCO Yangon Office, Ms. Min Jeong Kim, also welcomed the participants, inviting them to engage actively in the discussions on the draft Curriculum Framework for a 4-Year Degree. She highlighted that in working together to improve the quality of teacher education, participants will be positively impacting the education taking place in over 45,000 basic education schools, serving over 8.1 million students.

Dr. Thein Lwin and Dr. Win Aung, Curriculum Committee members from the NEPC, gave remarks on the importance of introducing a competency-based teacher education curriculum to Myanmar’s Education Colleges. They noted that this will professionalise the country’s teaching force and bring the quality of their skills in line with those of teachers in other Asian nations.

unct_mm_UNESCO_News_principals_15.12.2016_4Participants actively listening at the Consultation Meeting. Photo: UNESCO

During the workshop, participants discussed key features of the draft Curriculum Framework including learning areas, specialist tracks, modules, subjects, timetable, practicum, assessment, and practical aspects of implementation of the reform. All participants shared their feedback on each feature of the Curriculum Framework, demonstrating their strong commitment to improving the quality of teacher education in Myanmar.

At the Consultation Meeting, all participants agreed to the broad principles and structure of the 4-year degree, as proposed in the draft Curriculum Framework and made some recommendations for revision.

Once the Curriculum Framework is revised and approved, the work on developing the detailed new Education College curriculum can start next year, including subject syllabi and textbooks.

At the close of the Consultation Meeting, Dr. Win Aung offered guiding words to the group, noting that the need to improve education in Myanmar is urgent, and it is for precisely that reason that we should not rush. Instead, we should approach this urgent situation with mindfulness and care so that these important reforms are carried out in a way that creates true and sustainable change.

For more information on the STEM Project, please contact Dr. Dagny Fosen, Teacher Education Specialist, at dm.fosen@unesco.org.