2015-2016 Academic Year of Nationalities Youth Resource Development Degree College (NRDC) which is run under the Ministry of Border Affairs commenced on 3rd December, 2015. It is an institution that produces youth resources for the nation especially for border areas. The name itself indicates whose welfare the institution provides for. NRDC is not the second one institution in Myanmar that paves the way only for young boy students to learn arts, science, computer and engineering subjects especially to those boys who are under privilege and live in border areas as well as who live in remote places in Myanmar.
The most significant academic activity that gives direct knowledge to the students is visiting lectures which are conducted by higher level officers from the respective ministries in Myanmar. The officers discussed and shared about policy, objectives, projects and the tasks carrying out from the respective ministries. We come to know that this visiting lecture was laid down from the time when the college was opened. The objective of this task is for gaining knowledge about capacity building to final year students. Actually, the students who are studying at NRDC are civil servant-hood for the nation in the future because they are entrusted respective duties to the respective ministries as soon as they graduated from the college. So, they should know the works and processes of related ministries.
The students have to attend regular lectures as scheduled time table but for visiting lectures, only final year students have to participate. In this academic year, the first ever visiting lecture was conducted by Daw Khin Thu Zar Aye, deputy director (border area), Ministry of Education. The lecture was conducted at our gracious convocation hall. The students actively paid attention to the lecture and they raised the questions as to they wanted to know after the lecture. Nationalities Affairs Department (NRDC) led by acting head arranges the function to be convenient for the visiting lecturers. I believe that educational as well as enthusiasts should know the project and the task formulated by the ministry.
She explains the process of education sub-committee especially the development works of education sectors in border areas by showing Power Point slides as well as sharing her knowledge and experiences in education field. The lecture is invaluable not only for the students but also for everyone to learn what education sub-committee is conducting for the people of border areas. I am also one of the participants in the lecture hall and come to know the works and processes carrying out the department of basic education (DBE).
To save the time and cover the whole works of the department she has to discuss her topic by showing data and figures through Power Point. Before delivering lecture, she suggested the students how they should keep their attitude on the lecture. This is the most important aspect that everyone should keep in mind whatever they are learning. What she said is, “You should keep in your mind what knowledge I will acquire by attending this lecture instead of coming and sitting down idle in the lecture hall as a duty”. The piece of advice that she pointed out reflects the present day of our younger generation in the country because the respective ministries, universities, colleges, organizations, and companies manage to run respective classes, lectures for their staffs, students to gain much more capacity building for the fields but most of them attended those respective lectures not earnestly but just dutifully. The trainees or students do not think that the conducting capacity building is for the welfare of them so most of them waste their times and energies.
By nature the learned and wise persons irrespective of creed and color in our Myanmar community wanted to share their knowledge and experience willingly so they are conducting most of classes free of charges. I don’t know what to say if it is our weak point but it is due to our environment or tradition that influenced to us that is latent in our soft and generous mind. Actually, it is Buddhist spirit which has been inscribed in our heart since Buddhism has been flouring in our land. We are influenced to take up voluntary works serving the welfare of people.
The first title or slide that appeared on the screen of projector is ‘Education’ that reflects the historical background, environment and education system. Giving outline, she focuses on the concept of education with three words “ASK” commonly approved by educators. ‘A’ means attitude/ mindset, ‘S’ indicates skill and ‘K’ means knowledge. Whatever educational concept either formal and informal education or vocational training we pursue, we must keep in our mind by setting up the three words. Among the three words, mindset or attitude plays the most important role for everyone. Most of our younger generation could not change their mindset even though studying in higher level. This is due to stereotype that influenced to our education system- i.e., learning by heart method and never has created and critical thinking how to approach it to understand. She emphasized that education must be continuous process. Education never ended so life long learning makes you to be learned person and the more you learn, the more you understand in related fields. Only created and critical thinking and changing attitude, the education or knowledge and skill that we pursue will take effect.
I would like to mention one educational method called ‘Action Oriented Teaching and Learning Method’. In our degree college, any teaching staff who has got a chance to go abroad to seminar or programme through scholarship scheme have to share his or her knowledge and experience to students and staff after back in from the respective programme. One of our senior lecturers from Computer Science Department had attended “International Leadership Training for TVET Professionals” in Germany sponsored by GIZ. She shared her experienced and knowledge about the programme she had performed in Germany. Actually, TVET is the promotion of Technical and Vocational Education and Training. The teaching and learning method that approached at the training make us alarm to our education method. She printed in her pamphlet step by step sentences focused on Action Oriented Teaching and Learning Method. It goes on ‘I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.’ I think we should apply in our teaching career that affect in our daily life.
Then, the visiting lecturer proceeded to the second slide showing the rate of school enrolment and reduction in the rate of leaving schools, free education, the programme of providing educational aid and scholarship scheme. The government has been providing free education from primary up to high school level. She focused on the reform education system that will begin coming 2016-2017 academic years in basic education level kindergarten plus twelve (KG+12). All children get a head start on their learning pathway. We come to know that ASEAN and other developed or developing countries have been implementing it along time ago.
The next slide pointed out 1989-1990 academic year in border areas especially in Self-administered Regions where the department is carrying educational work. We learn that there are six Self-administered Regions- Kachin, Wa, Paoh, Palaung, Dhanu and Naga. Among the regions, Kachin Special Region 1, Kokant, Wa, Shan and Mopha regions were mentioned. The next sheet showed the number of primary and middle schools that were opened in those regions. From the time the department undertaking the educational tasks in those regions even the present academic year 2015-2016 the development figures of schools, students and teaching staff were given in the following slide.
The lecturer went on her lecture that gives us knowledge about the term used ‘sub-township’ in the past and ‘the town’ in the present according to 2008 State Constitution. She said that there is no village that does not have a primary school and there is a high school in every sub-township in the region where it is difficult to go. The task was undertaken in 28 sub-townships in 2002 and extended up to 84 sub-townships in 2015 with 2763 schools in those regions. What she said is that we can’t say that they are poor in education as well as uneducated persons because we are conducting summer basic educational activities (3R) in those places. That activity was started in 1996 with 1124 adult illiterate students in number and it was performed successively even today.
There are over 135 national races living in the country through thick and thin and every ethnic group has its own tradition, customs, literature, culture and so on. Among the eighteen states and regions (except Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw), forty kinds of literature of national races are taught in their respective schools and basic education department provides some supporting of those schools.
The language and literature that students are studying in those schools are Red Shan, Gig Shan, Gyein phaw, Shan, Law waw, Lacheik, Kachin, Rawam, Zeinwar, Lisu, Kayan, Kayaw, Kayah, Sakaw Karen, Pwakanyaw, East Po Karen, Paoh, Mon, Gaybar, Chosarpay, Khumee, Teetein, Htardo, Dai, Phalan, Matupi (Chin), Matupi (Dvam), Marrar, Yindu, Haka, Hwarlngo, Tupu, Naga, Lushawn (Mizo), Asho Chin, Rakhaing, Larhu, Lisu, In and Arkhar. How lovely languages we have! How proud of we are! We learned that the department publishes the text books of nationalities.
Teaching methodology is very important and apart from it, she went on her lecture that sometimes the department is carrying the tasks demanded by respective regions (i.e appointing native teachers who can speak their mother tongue). Besides part-time teachers, PPTT and DTED are appointed on demand. She urged students, “You come to attend this college representing your region so you have to go back to your regions and develop your regions” The department arranges mobile schools for students who have no chance to go to school such as elephant sanctuary especially in Bago division. The workers who are working there have their children and there is no school for those children in forest so mobile schools play a vital role in those places.
She shed light on what type of the environment that the basic education schools in border areas should be by pointing out four factors: the environment should be standard teaching and learning; creative thinking and innovation; adaptation teaching and learning method in their respective regions; and the level of education should be examined (test validity). Dealing with adaptation, she gave the best example by proofing living creature- two animals: dinosaur and cockroach. Once upon a time, the two types of species existed in the world and now a day dinosaur had disappeared but cockroach species has been living on the earth due to adaptation in accordance with the environment.
The next slide plays a pivotal role for rural development laid down by the department and ministry. She said that not only formal education but also informal education has been carried out targeting for poverty reduction. The programme was carried out for the children especially those who are working in tea shops without schooling. The programmes for technical and vocational education on demand in the regions are planned by the department and ministry.
Due to advanced science and technology material development can be seen everywhere around the world but the moral principle which lead peace and harmony among the people degrade little by little. We can witness the crisis what is happening around the world. New generations are the future leaders of the country so ethics and moral principles play the most important role for those who are going to shoulder the nation. To uplift of the morale and morality as well as good manner of the young people she showed the next slide by selecting the outstanding and morally youth, training scout, giving lecture for life skill such as good manner, customs and finally forming school council. For development of border areas related ministries, states and regions governments, local people, those who are enthusiast in education, NGOs and INGOs join hands together. Among the border areas, the tasks are carried out separately in the region such as Kachin special region (1), and (2), Naga and Palaung Self-administered Regions and so on.
She emphasized the three key points for everyone who wanted to improve one’s life while sharing national education sector plan (NESP). They are co-operation, co-ordination and contribution. Before conclusion her lecture, she wishes to appear reliable good citizen who can sacrifice their lives from border areas in 21st century to be recorded the development task of education in the history. As I mentioned earlier, the students who are pursuing their studies at NRDC are civil servant hood to do the jobs in ministries so by giving them such valuable lectures they can acquire prior knowledge about the projects and works of respective ministries.