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Myanmar: IIE’s international engagement course

"The transformation of higher education in Myanmar will be essential to preparing the country’s workforce to support the rapid economic development that is taking place"

“Universities will benefit greatly from engagement with higher education around the world”

IIE has worked with Northern Arizona University, the Monterey Institute of International Studies and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey to develop the 20-week course. Participants will learn about hosting international delegations, facilitating faculty and student exchange, cross-cultural communications and developing international partnerships.

They will be taught with a combination of face-to-face and digital teaching, including pre-recorded lectures, video and discussion boards using an interface provided by Knowledge Platform, a next-generation learning solutions company. Participants will complete the course materials remotely with support from a mentor, who will share their expertise and provide them with feedback.

The course was officially launched this month at the US Embassy’s American Center in Yangon by the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy, Virginia Murray and Myanmar’s Deputy Minister for Science and Technology, U Ba Shwe.

54 representatives from 31 universities and two from the Ministry of Health attended the one-day workshop designed to equip them with key skills they will need to complete the programme. This included IT training, as some participants do not have extensive experience using digital technology.

U Ba Shwe said that the course marks a milestone in the history of Myanmar and in its relationship with the United States.

Daniel Obst, Deputy VP for International Partnerships at IIE, told The PIE News: “The transformation of higher education in Myanmar will be essential to preparing the country’s workforce to support the rapid economic development that is taking place.”

“While there is a tremendous emphasis on education reform happening within the country, IIE believes that the universities will benefit greatly from engagement with higher education around the world,” he added.

One workshop participant commented, “We live in a globalised world so our focus in education is on bringing an international dimension to education in schools, technical colleges and universities.”

The pilot course follows IIE’s Myanmar Higher Education Initiative, launched a year ago to help build higher education capacity in Myanmar.

The initiative is part-funded by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. Mandy Hansen, Director of Northern Arizona University’s Center for International Education, said, “It is exciting to share my knowledge on international offices and international education with rising international education leaders in Myanmar and to see such an interest in the topic.”

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