Hi everyone! I’m Alana; a Biology student at the University of Manchester. I am currently on my placement year, doing an unpaid internship for the eTekkatho Digital Library Project. In January and May 2018, I plan to travel to Myanmar. I will be collecting examples of existing teaching resources, to help me develop tailored biological, zoological and enviromental teaching resources, and accompanying training for teachers. These resources will enhance and complement learning at universities in Myanmar.
Why this project?
In Myanmar, universities lack up to date educational resources;
- Textbooks are outdated and in short supply
- No / poor internet accessibility
- Insufficient teaching resources and facilities e.g. libraries, laboratories
- Poor IT literacy skills
- Lack of teacher training (in a recent survey in the Higher Education Academy report to the Ministry of Education to the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (UK), only 21% of staff had received formal teacher training)
The eTekkatho digital library project is run in partnership by The University of Manchester and the Tekkatho Foundation, a registered charity. It aims to help overcome the challenges and constraints on higher education in Myanmar:
- By providing offline materials that are situated at Myanmar university libraries. These special collections, sourced from The University of Manchester’s vast collections, do not rely on the use of the internet.
- By adapting specially selected resources that are targeted specifically to work at a low band width level; promoting learning outside of the university campus. Although tailored to universities in Myanmar; anyone around the world can access and benefit from these resources.
What will I do when I’m out there?
Whilst in Myanmar, I intend to visit 4 universities; Dagon, Mandalay, Yadanabon, and Loikaw/ Magway/ Kalay, along with a community centre in Mandalay. Here I will observe lectures and teaching methods, review and assess the current learning materials and liaise with lecturers and students, in order to capture what they want out of teaching and learning resources. Alongside this will be digital skills analysis sessions for academics.
This will then allow me to create the science teaching resources back in Manchester tailored to their teaching requirements and curriculum, by utilising the vast collection of resources here at The University of Manchester. The creation of these resources will help lecturers to teach more effectively, and allow the students to learn even with low broadband speed.
I intend to travel back to Myanmar in May, so that I can give training to the academics and students on how to use the teaching resources that I will have created. This training will not only provide information on how to utilise the resources, but will also help improve the IT literacy skills of those who use them.
By making a donation to this project, you will make a huge impact on the teaching of biology, zoology and environmental studies in Myanmar. More resources will be available to more students, and we’ll be able to begin the task of modernising teaching methods.
Science is a rapidly evolving field, so teaching students at degree level based on rote learning from outdated textbooks simply doesn't build the skills they need to work in the 21st century. Access to current and relevant information is critical if emerging scientists in Myanmar are ever to contribute to the global science community.
Your gift will help me to introduce a focus on problem-based and evidence-based learning activities, encouraging independent learning, critical thinking and problem solving. These are the skills we virtually take for granted as we study for a degree in the UK.
Where will the money raised go?
The money raised through this crowdfunding campaign will contribute towards;
- Return flights from Manchester to Yangon, Myanmar in January and May (apx £1,400)
- Internal travel around Myanmar between the 4 universities and community centre (apx £800)
- Accommodation costs (this shall be kept as low as possible by staying for the most part in university halls of residence)
- Visa fees
- Essential vaccinations
The minimum target I need to reach in order for this project to go ahead is £2,250. This will allow me to access the 4 universities and community centre stated earlier. However with the stretch target of £3,000, I will be able to access more universities and provide capacity building training to more teaching staff and students around Myanmar.
I will keep you updated along the way, with key information about how the project is progressing over the next 8 months.
Find us online
To find out more information about the eTekkatho digital library project itself, follow this link to their website; http://www.etekkatho.org/
To get updates about the project, follow this link and like us on Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/etekkathoproject
Please help us succeed!
As Myanmar is on its way to democracy and transforming its national education system, help and support from international universities is needed more than ever before.
Even if you cannot donate, please help spread the word about this project by sharing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or even word of mouth, to everyone and anyone that you think may be interested in supporting this project! Every bit of publicity helps!
Please sponsor and help make this project possible.
Thank you so much for all your support!