Thinking the Future at the Yangon Institute of Education
“The future looks very different for young people in Myanmar today with the country opening up and going through democratic transformation and reform,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova in an exchange with students and professors at the Yangon Institute of Education on 10 August 2012. “Youth have to be given opportunities and skills to start their professional life, through quality education, technical and vocational education and training, and excellence in higher education. This will be all the more important with the opening of the ASEAN market in 2015.”
Welcomed by the Rector of this Institute that began as a teacher training college in 1931, Mrs Bokova emphasized that UNESCO stands ready to support the government’s ambition to become “a modern developed nation through education.” She explained that UNESCO is providing assistance through the Capacity Development for Education for All programme to strengthen teacher training institutions, support the reform of higher education, enhance technical and vocational education, in addition to education programs for disaster preparedness and HIV prevention. UNESCO will also support the Ministry of Education’s upcoming Comprehensive Education Sector Review to enhance quality, inclusion and learning outcomes.
In light of the Institute’s expertise on teacher training, Mrs Bokova noted that “the role of teachers is changing with the evolution of societies. Today, more than ever, teachers must inspire minds and teach women and men how to learn, to lay the basis for lifelong learning.”
Mr Gwang-jo Kim, director of UNESCO’s Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, underlined the importance of sharing evidence-based knowledge at the regional level and drawing lessons from different cases studies in order to better engage policymakers. He also noted that providing youth with the right skills also means giving them the space to start their own jobs, drawing attention to UNESCO’s regional work on education for entrepreneurship.
Both the Director-General and Mr Kim highlighted the critical role that education plays for development gains across the board, from better health and poverty alleviation to basic human dignity and gender equality.