Inclusion, Mobility and Multilingual Education Conference in Bangkok, Thailand

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Participants from the MEC and its partner organization (MNEC, SJN-CBE, KEF and KECD).

The Myanmar Education Consortium (MEC) supported a total of 21 participants from its partner organizations to attend the Mother Tongue Based – Multi Lingual Education (MTB-MLE) Conference on the theme of Inclusion, Mobility and Multilingual Education from the 24th to the 26th of September.  The Conference aimed to explore how an open and inclusive multilingual approach to education can create links between policy, practice and research to advance participation, access, and learning for children and adults from marginalized and mobile communities.

MEC organized and moderated one panel presentation on the theme “Experiences from Ethnic Basic Education Providers in Myanmar” which featured speakers from the Mon National Education Committee (MNEC), Northern Shan State, Kachin Baptist Union Church Based Education (SJN-CBE), the Kachin Education Foundation (KEF) and the Karen Education and Culture Department (KECD).  The panelists discussed their experiences in Myanmar and shared views on why MTB-MLE approaches to education are important for ethnic based organizations. The panelists also expressed their views on why they believe it is important for ethnic based education systems to be recognized by the Myanmar Ministry of Education.

As well as providing a platform for the partner organizations to share their own views on MTB-MLE, they were also able to gain extensive experience of MTB-MLE approaches being taken across the Asia-Pacific region. Sessions throughout the conference highlighted how closer collaboration with the government in countries such as Cambodia and the Philippines has resulted in positive learning for children involved in MTB-MLE programs.

 

Mother Tongue Based – Multi Lingual Course in Chiang Mai, Thailand

MTB-MLE Chiang Mai Course
Figure 1: Participants and Teachers from the MTB-MLE Course.

Representatives from the Myanmar Education Consortium (MEC) and its partner organisations participated in a six week long Mother Tongue Based – Multi Lingual Education (MTB-MLE) course in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The aim of the course, delivered through a partnership between SIL International and Payap University, was to develop the participants understanding of MTB-MLE.

The course was structured in order to equip the participants with a concrete understanding of how a longer four year MTB-MLE course would be delivered within Myanmar.  For many of the participants, the concept of MTB-MLE was a new one, therefore discussions surrounding the theory behind the importance and value of an MTB-MLE education were a core component.

The participants learnt about why it is important to design an MTB-MLE programme that follows a curriculum which enables children to learn through different languages, beginning with their mother tongue language, referred to as L1. When children become proficient at learning through this familiar language, the main language of instruction (L2), is introduced in order for the children to fully access the curriculum.

Workshops were held that enabled representatives with a range of language backgrounds to create learning materials in their own mother tongue language. These resources included reading primers, big books, busy pictures, reading books, oral stories, poems and songs. Tailoring these resources to the local culture through traditions, festivals and seasonal events was highlighted as one of great importance. Following the production of L1 materials, the participants learnt about methods used to transition between the mother tongue language and the main language of instruction, further developing materials to support this.

On completion of the course, the participants were able to return to their local organization to pilot the materials that they had created. They also went on to become key members of the larger MTB-MLE course facilitated through MEC, supporting further participants from their organizations with their thorough understanding of MTB-MLE.

 

MEC Team Away Day in Bagan

MEC team conducted an internal workshop in Bagan from 21-22 June 2017. Revised partnership management guidelines, policy engagement strategy, and MERL framework were shared and presented with all staff.

Throughout the workshop, team members had a sound understanding of the purpose, priorities, and interventions of the ethnic and monastic education partners towards education systems strengthening. The team identified priority areas of technical support for partners working on the complementary education systems in order to deliver strategic support. At the end of the workshop, roles and functions of the MEC team are reexamined in contributing towards education systems strengthening.

4th Reflection & Learning Workshop

MEC invited all current (12) partners to participate in the 4th and Final MEC Reflection and Learning Workshop, with the aim of learning from the three years collaboration and celebrate successes. The workshop was conducted from 15 to 16 May at Inya Lake Hotel in Yangon.

Throughout the 2-day workshop, MEC partners contributed comments to the last version of the Final Evaluation before its finalization. Partners had better knowledge of each other’s successes and each partner presented the sustainability plan of their project to prove that they are ready to conclude MEC funded projects. This workshop concludes the first phase of MEC which aimed at working with Civil Society organizations before the beginning of a new phase that will be strengthening ethnic and monastic education systems, with a sustainability increased focus on policy engagement and coherence between education systems.

Ms. Jay from AusAID, one of the key donors of MEC, closed the event. She said, “We strongly believe that education is the key to unlock the potential of individuals and of society as a whole. It is the means to realize the potential of all boys and girls, men and women, regardless of where they live. As a more coherent and inclusive education system evolves, there will be opportunities for valuable learning from ethnic systems, in particular, multilingual education and community-based school management. We believe this will help strengthen education policy and provision as a whole. ”

MEC expresses its appreciation, congratulations, and thanks to all the partners for the last three years of collaboration and achievement. The most important take away from this partnership is that there is no unique solution, methodology or practice that makes a project a success, but it is a combination of all of them. It includes the professionalism, the passion and the energy of everyone.

Second Seminar on Shan National Education Policy and Planning

Myanmar Education Consortium (MEC) funded the Second Seminar on Shan National Education Policy and Planning organized by the Centre for Rural Education & Development (CRED) as a part of MEC Strategic Facilitation Fund (SFF).

This seminar provided a space for participants to discuss and share experiences as well as develop consensus on how to address barriers to education in Shan State from 25 to 26 February 2017.

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During the two-day seminar, the discussions and issues raised from the previous seminar conducted in December 2016 were revised, vision, mission, and objectives for the Shan National Education Strategic Planning were established and, suggestions and proposals to organize a Shan National Education Committee (SNEC) representing all education groups in Shan State were gathered.

All of the participants agreed that CRED will take the initiative and role of facilitating more meetings, conferences and advocacy activities on the topic. Professor Sai Naw Khay said, “We need a governing body to present our Shan education activities.”

The members of SNEC will be nominated by each organization in 2017. A sub-committee, Curriculum Development Committee, under SNEC will be appointed one year after the formation of SNEC. Moreover, a draft Shan National Education Policy will be developed in that timeframe.  The various Shan curricula will be integrated and utilized through grade 11 within 5 years as the long term activity.

Ven. Dr. Khammai Dhammasami said, “Motivation and patience for the long journey towards implementing the Shan Education Program will be needed in the long run.”