Australian Ambassador to Myanmar visits UNESCO STEM project site

20 October 2015

On 13 October 2015, Australia’s Ambassador to Myanmar, Mr. Nicholas Coppel, visited Yankin Education College (EC) and Practicing School where he toured classrooms and facilities and met with Principals, Heads of Departments, and teacher educators.

Yankin EC is a project site for UNESCO’s “Strengthening Pre-service Teacher Education in Myanmar” (STEM) programme, which is made possible through the generous support of the Government of Australia and is implemented jointly with the Ministry of Education (MoE) in Myanmar.

Through STEM, UNESCO and the MoE are working to strengthen capacity in Myanmar’s ECs, the providers of pre-service training for government primary and secondary school teachers, with an emphasis on curriculum, pedagogy, and management reforms. 

The Ambassador was accompanied on the visit by the Head of UNESCO Yangon Office, Mr. Sardar Umar Alam, and the Australian Embassy’s Counsellor and First Secretary, Development Assistance, Mr. Nick Cumpston and Ms. Andrea Cole, respectively.

During a presentation on Yankin EC programmes, Principal U Aung Ba Thein emphasized the importance of “quality teachers for quality education” and Yankin EC’s objective to produce teachers who can fully carry out their responsibilities, earning the respect and trust of the communities where they work.  

The Australian Ambassador affirmed the centrality of quality teachers in improving student learning outcomes, noting that “teachers are the very heart of education and the centerpiece of reforms.” According to the Ambassador, education is the first focus of Australia’s development assistance to Myanmar.

During the visit, the delegation from Australia also had the opportunity to hear from Yankin EC teacher educators who had taken part in professional development activities provided through the STEM project and, at the Practicing School, to view Science projects created by primary and middle school students.

The next STEM activity to take place at Yankin EC will be an intensive ICT for education training for the 33 new ICT tutors from all Lower Myanmar ECs, to be held in November 2015.

For more information on the STEM project, please contact, Ms. Jamie Vinson, Assistant Programme Specialist – Education at: j.vinson@unesco.org