Online courses help Myanmar students further their education

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April 17, 2023

In a constant effort to make education accessible to as many people as possible, the Asian Research Centre in College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Launched a program to support displaced students in Myanmar.

Education support for displaced Myanmar students began this spring to provide a bridge to higher education for students in the Southeast Asian country whose education has been disrupted by a military coup that began more than two years ago.
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Education support for displaced Myanmar students launched this spring. Image via Arizona State University
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“Most of the higher education institutions in Myanmar are closed because all the teachers are on strike,” he said. Julian ShopperDirector of the Asian Research Center. There is a huge demand for students to access higher education. This is important in a developing country where you are trying to create a vision.”

The outage began in February 2021 after a military coup took over the country following the 2020 general elections. Many teachers and students went on strike in protest of the coup, leaving the education system in tatters.

In search of ways to continue their education, students in Myanmar turned to the center’s new program, which took advantage of ASU’s existing online learning opportunities.

The program has enrolled 60 undergraduate students to enroll online Global Learner Courses. Students can take courses to further their education and later use the credit they earned in the class to earn admission to ASU.

Schober said that because the students in Myanmar are so dedicated to their education and share the program through word of mouth, it brings a lot of interest and demand to the learner’s courses.

“Many of them are just grateful.”

Students in the program have also shown great success. The entrants achieved an average of 84% in the various courses they took in the first semester of the program.

The program provides first-year college courses online for anyone looking to start their college journey.

The cost is $25 per course, and anyone can enroll. Once a student has a passing score, they can choose to take course credits at ASU by paying a fee of $400.

The University’s well-established success in online learning and global involvement helped the programme’s smooth launch.

“At ASU, we had already entered the field of online learning, so we had a product that we could offer right away. That wasn’t available to them, so online learning is that kind of knowledge transformation in and of itself,” said Schober. “We see this as part of ASU’s global involvement.”

“Many of them are just grateful to have these courses,” he said. Chan LwinCenter Program Coordinator. When the military coup took place, many students decided not to participate in the military education system. Students stuck in the country cannot access education.”

For many of the registrants, their courses were in topics they were unfamiliar with.

“This is the first time they’ve encountered courses like this,” Lewin said. They have had a military dictatorship for decades. Topics like social justice or public participation open students’ eyes.”

Participants showed their gratitude for the opportunity to continue their education, to explore classes that sparked their interests and to learn different ways of communicating about unfamiliar topics.

Positive feedback on the program

The center asked students in the program to provide feedback on how this course has changed their educational experience. Here are some of their responses:

  • “I have taken SST 220: Introduction to Social Transformation and ENG 101: First Year Composition. SST 220 gave me a lot of eye-opening ideas, and ENG 101 provided me with the technical skills required for effective writing. I would really like to explore various ASU courses that interest me.”

  • “I have a wonderful opportunity to attend valuable courses by staying in my home country. I gained a lot of knowledge by learning sociology, for example, I can put myself in another place and see the world from different points of view.”

Looking into the future, leadership at the center wants to adapt to meet growing demand, including training teachers and expanding access to more rural areas that may have difficulty accessing online courses.

But the biggest challenge holding back growth is affordability. The Center has applied for a grant to assist with several proposed initiatives, including the Myanmar Education Program.

“Those students were saying they could get 50, and those students could get 50 more. The demand is there,” Schober said. “But for these courses to count, they need tutoring support.”

the Education support for displaced Myanmar students The fund helps support these students. Funding goes toward earned admission costs, global launch courses, course enrollment, and ASU transcript credit.

Millions of people could be in need of education. For that to happen, we need support. We need people who want to participate and show their support.”