New experience attending Myanmar Higher Education Forum

Dr. Ei Ei Htwe and Dr. Aye Aye Thant, the ASEAN-U.S. S&T Fellows from Myanmar participated in the Myanmar Higher Education Forum on the topic of “New Challenges for Tertiary Education in the 21st Century“.

The Myanmar Higher Education Forum was jointly organized by British Council and Ministry of Education (MOE) and held in Diamond Jubilee Hall in Yangon, Myanmar on 6-7 June 2016. This forum attracted more than 300 participants.

Director General, Education Director form British Council, Former Deputy Union Minister, Mentor Dr.Mi Sandar Mon, Dr. Jamil Salmi , Dr. Ei Ei Htwe (From left to right)
Director General, Education Director form British Council, Former Deputy Union Minister, Mentor Dr.Mi Sandar Mon, Dr. Jamil Salmi , Dr. Ei Ei Htwe (From left to right)

On the first day, the Education Minister, Deputy Minister, Director General, Deputy Director General and Rectors discussed the situation in Myanmar universities and implications of international trends, quality assurance, governance, institutional autonomy and financing. Key points of discussion are capacity enhancement on university development. The topic under this theme is mainly discussed “how to improve the role of university by imitating world-class university” by Dr. Jamil Salmi and discussion feedback given by rector of university on his lecture.

Dr. Jamil Salmi discussed about important of knowledge on innovation and impact of innovation
Dr. Jamil Salmi discussed about important of knowledge on innovation and impact of innovation

Dr. Jamil Salmi, a global tertiary education expert, gave a keynote lecture on “New challenges for Tertiary Education in the 21stCentury”. Dr. Jamil Salmi discussed about curriculum innovation based on experiential learning, multidisciplinary programs such as in Olin College of Engineering (U.S.A), Amsterdam University College (Netherlands), and University of Queensland School of Chemistry (Australia); the competency-based learning such as in the Western Governor’s University (U.S.A); internationalization of curriculum such as in the University of Lausanne (Switzerland); niche focus as in the Central European University; Amsterdam University (Netherlands) and James Cook University (Australia); blended synchronous learning such as in Macquarie University (Australia).

He recommended following the trend of Olin College of Engineering in the U.S. because it used design-based learning and collaborative model within institution (among students and among academics); and it had no academic department and no tenure in the college. In particular, the College balances among technical competencies, entrepreneurship and social sciences to come out creativity and values. It focuses on incentives adapted to teaching and research, blocks of integrated curriculum of math, basic sciences and engineering.

Talking about pedagogical practices and student evaluation system in Yangon Technological University, Myanmar
Talking about pedagogical practices and student evaluation system in Yangon Technological University, Myanmar

Head of faculty from 157 universities researchers and teachers attended the second day discussion on the Importance of Knowledge on Innovation; Impact of Innovation; as well as Innovative Curricular and Pedagogical Practices.

Under the theme of innovative pedagogical approaches, Dr. Jamil Salmi discussed about peer-to-peer learning, simulation, gaming and artificial intelligence software, project-based or design-based learning e.g practices in Olin College, Roskilde, and Maastricht Universities.

Discussion on teaching oriented and research based learning in Myanmar education system
Discussion on teaching oriented and research based learning in Myanmar education system

In my point of view, universities in Myanmar have to struggle to be motivated and self-learning among competent teachers to become well-known ASEAN universities during the last decade.  Capacity building of its teaching staffs is very important, including conducting research work and collaborate with international organization as well as private sector. In order to improve Myanmar’s education system, strong leadership, clear and transparent policy, balancing teaching and research work are crucially important in this current situation. I firmly believe that top management and policy maker are important role to set guideline for universities and good collaboration with industry to get win-win situation. The University-Industry Collaboration is growing importance as the industry sector will increasingly look to higher education institutions, which can contribute to the development of the industry, and consequently, our region as a whole.

 

About the Author:

Dr. Ei Ei Htwe is associate professor and head of production technology laboratory of Mechanical Engineering Department at Mandalay Technological University (MTU), Mandalay, Myanmar. Through the ASEAN-US S&T Fellowship, she will focus on the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy to strengthen the collaboration work among Universities, Research Institute and Industry (URI). Then, she will set up the network directory of engineering to promote URI linkages published by AUN/SEED-Net. Dr. Ei Ei Htwe has completed Bachelor Degree of Engineering (Mechanical) from MTU (2000), Master Degree from Yangon Technological University (YTU) (2002) and Doctoral Degree from YTU, Myanmar (2006).