Steering Committee on Holding Centenary of Yangon University Chairperson State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi attended and addressed the Yangon University Centenary Ceremony Holding Steering Committee coordination meeting 1/2019 was held at Ministry of Education assembly hall in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday morning.
The meeting was attended by Steering Committee Vice Chairperson Vice President U Myint Swe, Union Ministers Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, Lt-Gen Ye Aung, U Kyaw Tint Swe, Dr Pe Myint, Dr Aung Thu, U Thant Sin Maung, U Thein Swe, U Khin Maung Cho, Dr Than Myint, Dr Myo Thein Gyi, Dr Myint Htwe, U Soe Win, U Han Zaw, Dr Win Myat Aye, U Ohn Maung, Nai Thet Lwin and U Kyaw Tin, Union Auditor General U Maw Than, Union Civil Service Board Chairman Dr Win Thein, Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein, Deputy Ministers U Kyi Min, Dr Ye Myint Swe and U Win Maw Tun, Yangon Mayor, Yangon Region Minister for Social Affairs, National Education Policy Commission Chairman, Myanmar Arts and Science Expert Group Chairman, National Curriculum Committee Chairman, Rectors Committee Chairman and officials.
At the meeting Steering Committee Chairperson State Counsellor said Yangon University was established in December 1920 and will be a hundred years old on 1 December 2020. I was not a Yangon University alumna so I was not sure if it was right for me to chair the committee. However I was involved in renovation of Yangon University so I accepted this duty as the two are related.
When we were young Yangon University was at its peak. From the time I start attending school to the time I attend university, everyone believed that Yangon University was one of the best universities. We were proud of it as well. Now we were aiming to make it a best university again. Many present today had attended Yangon University. Many were alumni and alumnae of Yangon University. They know that times were different. They know how it was and how it is now. I believe that those who were there at the peak are enthusiastic for it to return to its former days of glory. I trust that even those who were there when it was not at its peak would want it to become what it was before.
Steering committee and work committees were formed for renovation and upgrading project of Yangon University. Dr Myo Thein Gyi will give details about committee to raise education level, committee to fulfil physical requirements and committee to draw Yangon University charter.
The main point is to raise our education level. University is seen as a place where higher education was provided. In addition to giving an education, it must be a place where youths become grown up and become more complete human beings. There are differences of opinion in what education is. However it wouldn’t too far off the mark to say that to be a complete human being is to be educated. We were aiming toward Yangon University to become such education institution that produces complete human beings. I expect the committee to raise the education level to consider what education quality is and do its work thoroughly.
There isn’t much to explain about fulfilling physical requirements. Physical requirements start from building to teaching aids, an environment that supports and encourage obtaining an education. It must be an environment that not only supports and encourage acquiring an education but also establish a deep attachment to the university. The environment must also infuse an attachment to the university by the alumni and alumna, inspire in them to support and assist toward making the university a better one.
Another thing is committee to draw Yangon University charter. For the development of our country’s education system, especially the higher education system, universities need to be made independent. However, as each university has its own characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses, their charters will not be the same. Only once the varsities have autonomy can our country’s education system develop and become complete.Since 2012-2013 university renovation committee starts thinking about how Yangon University can stand independently with its own charter. The centenary ceremony should be held in relation to such matters. As 100th year will be reached on 1 December 2020, centenary ceremony should be conducted in stages starting from 1 December.
The State Counsellor said the project to upgrade Yangon University involved developing the teaching and research methodologies. She said our whole country needs to revise the teaching methods to improve the education system. In other words, the level of the teachers need to be at a high level in order for students to receive a quality education, said the State Counsellor.
She said research is meant to encourage innovation and support physical development at the same time. She said applying research to mental and spiritual development will simultaneously improve the education and social systems of our country.
The State Counsellor said increasing English language skills is a practical matter that will allow the next generation to take a place on the global platform. She said English is now a worldwide medium that will be even more indispensable in the IT Revolution.
The State Counsellor expressed her wish for the people of Myanmar to understand many languages and focus more on English as the practical route. However, she also urged us to preserve and take pride in our mother tongue. She said there are some social circles who pride themselves on not knowing Burmese. She pointed out that no matter how many foreign languages you can speak, there is nothing to be proud of in not being able to speak your native language.
The State Counsellor then spoke of technological development. She said the university must be both the alma mater that provides education to the students and the environment that created lasting happy and peaceful memories for them.
The State Counsellor said they are planning for the university’s roads to be more efficient for students and teachers. She said physical and mental wellness go hand in hand and cannot be separated. She said as some parts of Yangon has long traffic jams, it would prevent classes from starting on time. She said we must foresee these obstacles to ensure all classes in schools and universities can operate in line with their designated schedules.The State Counsellor expressed her belief that Yangon University can be one of the most beautiful campuses in the world and attract tourists who may wish to see its historical landmarks. She said she believes this because the university is close to Inya Lake and campuses near lakes are a rare setting around the world.
The State Counsellor said she wants the university to provide education on skills from the outside world in addition to academic learning. She said she wants the arts and sports to be included in the main curriculum which is why she wants events related to them to be incorporated in the university’s centennial celebration.
The State Counsellor said people who are outstanding in the performing arts may not necessarily do well academically but the university must enable a person to reach the full potential in what they excel in.
She also said the event must connect the old alumni and the new students, such as arranging a discussion circle where they can learn of the university’s history and the way it used to look and operate in the olden days. A person’s depth of character is shaped not by age, but by their experience and propensity to learn, said the State Counsellor.
She concluded by wishing for everyone to come together to make Yangon University’s 100th anniversary a wonderful success.
Centenary of Yangon University comes as an opportunity as a pride
Speaking at the meeting, Vice President U Myint Swe stressed the need to do well preparation for celebrating the centenary of the Yangon University as the centenary would bring an opportunity to the country’s people to take pride in the event.
The Yangon University is the best know university in the history of Myanmar. In the colonial period, the national leaders and the people struggled for gaining the higher education system which can guarantee equal opportunities to the people, and finally, thanks to the unity of the people, the colonial ruler founded the Rangoon (Yangon) University on 1 December, 1920.
As the Rangoon University Act enacted on 28 August, 1920, imposed restrictions on most ethnic people of Myanmar so that they can not access to tertiary education, the university students and the people took up the struggle against the unfairness and the colonial ruler amended the university act. The Yangon University produced the country’s leaders including Bogyoke Aung San who were committed to gaining independence, and after the independence, the university also produced leaders, intellectual and intelligentsia likes U Thant, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, he said, adding that the Yangon University can be considered a victory land for the country.
Centenary of Yangon University has reminded us to bring back its past glory
In pre-war and post-war periods, the Yangon University is the best university in the south east Asia region and a top university in Asia attracting students from Asian countries.
“Centenary of Yangon University has reminded us to bring back its past glory,” said Vice President U Myint Swe.
The Yangon University needs to play a leading role in implementing the country’s education system which has been written in accordance with the 2015 Law Amending the 2014 National Education Law.
The Master Plan has been adopted to promote and upgrade the Yangon University meeting international standards.
To implement the Master Plan, Steering Committee which would be led by Union Minister for Education, Software Committee, Hardware Committee, University Charter Committee have been formed.
As part of pre activities to celebrate the centenary of the Yangon University, science exhibition and contests were held at the university in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
The university’s Myanmar Language Department held its diamond jubilee on 22 December, 2016, and “All-Round Youth Development Festival (Yangon)” was held on 1st December 2017.
The Vice President also called for providing security systematically to the activities marking the centenary of the Yangon University.
Afterwards, Union Minister for Education Dr. Myo Thein Gyi reported on education promotion (software) sector and upgrading infrastructure and equipment (hardware) sector.
The attendees at the meeting took part in the discussion and the meeting came to an end with closing remarks by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
The centenary of the Yangon University will be celebrated for one month starting from 1 December 2019.
The celebrations will include get-together events of the alumni of the university, ceremonies to pay respect to retired teachers, paper reading sessions, dinners and concerts, exhibitions, talks, IT shows, fashion shows and market festivals.—MNA