TIDE is bringing together universities in the UK and Myanmar to improve the quality of distance learning in higher education, with the ambition of benefitting more than 500,000 students and resulting in more employable graduates. In this way, it aims to become a catalyst for further improvements across the higher education system, helping to support strategy and leadership for the future of the sector in Myanmar.
Myanmar is at a critical time in its development. After years of low investment in the country’s higher education system, there is now an increasing demand for skilled graduates to meet new employment needs, particularly in relation to the environmental management of Myanmar’s natural resources to ensure sustainability over years of rapid development.
TIDE is strengthening and supporting innovations in Myanmar’s extensive distance education system, both at the institutional levels and in the design and delivery of learning, making use of the country’s rapidly emerging ICT infrastructure. It is developing a competency framework and relevant content for Education for Environment and Sustainable Development in collaboration with the private sector. It is also developing teaching approaches, media production skills and ICT and library support capacity for distance learning courses, and will create plans for the institutional framework for open and distance education.
- The project formally began in February 2018 and the launch workshop in Yangon in March 2018 was opened by the Minister of Education. TIDE involves working with a large and growing number of beneficiaries. Success depends on engaging effectively with at least 300 staff from at least 30 universities by Year Three. TIDE started working with 100 staff from 10 universities in 2018 and that number has now increased to 226 staff and 21 universities in 2019.
- The first two Residential Schools (RS) were hosted at Yangon University (May 2018) and Mandalay University (November 2018). Each RS involved face to face tuition of 100 staff (60 academics and 40 support staff). Academics, and experts in teaching, pedagogy, library and use of ICTs led a series of sessions focusing on development of academic knowledge related to ‘Education for Environment and Sustainable Development (EfESD), innovation in pedagogy and teaching, and effective use of ICTs/library to support distance education.
- A particularly promising development that was evident from the first RS was a desire amongst both core partners and university leaders with knowledge of TIDE, to cascade TIDE training received to academic and support staff within their universities. Participants from seven of the ten inception stage universities have, on their own initiative, been conducting such cascading training, and through this creating the scope for wider impact.
The TIDE partnership is led by The Open University (UK), working with Yangon University (Myanmar), Yangon University of Distance Education (Myanmar), Yadanabon University (Myanmar), Irrawaddy Policy Exchange (UK), Oxford University (UK) and University of Manchester (UK).