Energy is an essential input to all aspects of our lives. In Myanmar, less than thirty percent of its population has access to electricity. As a result, many people still rely on firewood for their daily energy needs. Despite a wealth of energy resources, rural electrification rate in Myanmar remains lowest in Asia. This reflects the “Energy Poverty”. In addition, large consumption of wood causes deforestation, which then harms to the environment. The use of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies is a key to reduce the poverty and to protect the environment.
Successful deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies requires professionals, skilled technicians and well-informed decision makers. Thus, universities and academic institutions should take part in activities such as training and curriculum development at all levels.
“Promotion of Energy Science Education for Sustainable Development in Asia” is part of UNESCO-ODA project. The aim of the program is countries to develop their own course materials in local context. Professor Hideaki Ohgaki of Kyoto University and his group have been organizing the program in collaboration with local universities.
The first workshop in Myanmar was held at Yangon University on June 12-13, 2014. Prior to Myanmar, three countries have already implemented the program: Vietnam, Laos and then Cambodia. Educators and scientists from these countries also attended to share their experiences. During the workshop, following topics were discussed:
- Understanding Sustainable Development;
- Current Energy Situation;
- Current Energy Technology;
- Energy Efficiency;
- Renewable Energy Technology;
- Sustainable Energy Policy;
- Good Practice.
At the end of the workshop, Myanmar participants formed a team, and discussed outline plan for the course.
Now Professor Pho Kaung, pro-rector of Yangon University, is leading the team working on the course materials that will cover the topics mentioned above. To verify the course contents, the second workshop is going to be held on December 17-18, 2014. Next, the team will give a local training to a wide range of audiences, from universities, government offices and NGOs. It is scheduled in February 2015.
The program will empower the contribution of education sector to sustainable development in Myanmar. It can also provide crucial input to network and knowledge sharing in the field of energy science among Asian countries.
About the author:
Dr. Win Maw Hlaing Oo is an ASEAN-US Science and Technology Fellow from Myanmar, and is working at Ministry of Transport in Myanmar. His work is focusing on Climate Change and Energy for Sustainable Development. Meanwhile, he is working on educational materials for Sustainable Energy Policy. Prior to the fellowship appointment, he worked as postdoctoral researcher at the University of Utah and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.