Continuing Cooperation EU & Myanmar for Higher Education, Yangon

As the supermoon was celebrated in Myanmar, some some meaningful discussions on the Internationalization of Higher Education in the country was taking place at the University of Yangon.

This event was organized in cooperation with the Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Association (ESAA) and European Union Delegation to Myanmar (EUD).

The event started with the alumni students` networking dinner on the evening of 14th November, welcoming alumni who are back to their country after their studies abroad, representatives from local universities, the EU Delegation to Myanmar, European Commission, and ESAA members.

Even though, the number of alumni exchange students in Myanmar is relatively small, the local community is growing, and the students are supporting the internationalization process and participate in discussions with higher education institutions to encourage student exchange.

The main event was held on 15th November, where more than 130 participants actively participated in a seminar on “Internationalization of Higher Education: Continuing Cooperation Between the EU and Myanmar”, which was hosted by University of Yangon.

The seminar was a follow up initiative of a roundtable held in November 2015 on “Promoting International Cooperation in Higher Education, and Identifying Ways Forward”, which underlined the obstacles to internationalization Myanmar`s higher education system, and encouraged further discussions on the improvement of conditions for the internationalization and the necessary assistance.

In other to further advance the internationalization objectives, this year`s seminar encouraged a more active participation by a large number of higher education institutions from the country on the issue of Erasmus+ programme, and the role of ESAA as an enabling tool, both for institutions and for students. The seminar also targeted issues such as building capacities related to the preparation of good project proposals and the facilitation of exchange of good internationalization experiences leading to the institutional commitments of main stakeholders.

The event was opened by three welcome speeches given by Dr. Thein Win, Director General Department of Higher Education at Ministry of Education, who introduced the participants to the vision and priorities for higher education in Myanmar, H.E. Prof. Dr. Aung Kyaw, Pro-Rector of the Yangon University, and H.E. Roland Kobia, EU Ambassador to Myanmar, who provided an overview of the EU priorities to promote student and staff mobility within the framework of Erasmus+.

The European Commission was also represented by Mr. Brian Toll from Directorate General for Education and Culture, who provided an overview of Erasmus+ funding opportunities and the expected impact of projects implemented in Asia. The presentation was followed by a session on success stories of three universities: Yangon Technological University by Prof. Dr. Thein Min Htike, Yangon University of Foreign Language by Pro. Daw Mi Mi Pyone and Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (Lithuania) by Dr. Asta Radzeviciene. This session provided active discussions on practical aspects of internationalization and strategic guidelines for higher education institutions.

Another session of the seminar was more practical and focused on capacity building on how to write a good project proposal, and was led by Mr. Ralf Rahders from the EU Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency. In this session, Mr. Ralf Rahders also noted the most common mistakes and important requirements for successful projects.

As one of the main organizers, ESAA was also represented in the event as a key actor in facilitating and supporting student exchanges both during and after their Exchange. Neringa Tumenaite, the former President of OCEANS Network, also presented on the organizations` activities, its network, and partnerships with higher education institutions. The Erasmus Mundus Association was also represented by Lucia Loposova, the Regional Chapters Coordinator, who presented EMA within the context of Erasmus Mundus degrees.

Lastly, the event featured a closed session among the existing Erasmus+ partner universities on the technical aspects of the project such as application process, budget and contract, where representatives from seven universities from Myanmar interacted with other internationalization experts and guests attending the event.

This seminar addressed relevant aspects of the internationalization processes of Myanmar higher education institutions, and attracted an extremely high interest. The event featured a large number of participants from higher education institutions from various regions of Myanmar, as well as non-governmental organizations working or interested in internationalization activities or development of the educational system in Myanmar.

Please see the powerpoint presentations in the link:
The events are supported and co-financed by ERASMUS+ Student and ALUMNI Association and European Union Delegation to Myanmar.

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