Zwekabin Myay: stepping Stone to higher education

A small compound of building located near Zwekabin Mountain seems normal and unimportant. When you look closer to the compound, you will find young adults learning essential skills, and getting higher education that they usually cannot get in their country, Myanmar. This place is called Zwekabin Myay / Hpa-an Education Project, funded by Child’s Dream Education Foundation.

Zwekabin Myay is a non-profit organization based in Hpa-an, Kayin State, Myanmar. It provides training to develop confidence and ambition, improve employment prospects, encourage a sense of responsibility towards community, and increase awareness and understanding of the wider world. There is no ethnicities & religion restriction for participants to join the program. The program takes 8-months and students have to live and study at the school. Students are required to do one year internship after the program in order to get a certificate. During their studies in Hpa-an, students can gain English language skills, analytical skills, and community service & social awareness which they will never be able to learn at government schools and universities. The program provides vocational trainings for the students, which will later be very useful for their livelihood. It also provide teacher training which will help spreading the education system into many other classrooms since our country’s education improvement is way behind compare to other Asian countries.

Many of the alumni students from Zwekabin Myay education foundation found jobs in NGOs and schools. Some of the students found their field of interest during their stay at the project and found appropriate jobs after it. Some students could use this program to achieve further education by joining other higher education programs in Thailand. Even though the study period is very short, the skills that they gained from the foundation help them to be able to work successfully in the area that they choose to work. Many of the alumni are sharing and teaching the knowledge that they learned to other students. Therefore, not only the students from Hpa-an are interested in that project but also the students from other areas are interested in joining it. Unfortunately, the program cannot accept all of the students due to budget constraints, but they would be able to expand if there were more donors helping the organization to run more effectively.

The sad truth about our country’s education is that students cannot apply what they are taught at school & University. Classrooms are lacking of higher-order thinking, critical thinking, and social/emotional learning. Students do not have a chance to think outside the boundaries they are given and they just rely on the textbooks. All they do is memorizing, following the instruction, and never question the teacher. Many graduated people are jobless since there are no specific skills that they learnt from university in order to find an appropriate job. Many university students dropped out of university and try to get a job in country or outside the country because they feel like they are just wasting time at the university by learning nothing to get a useless degree.

If all the students from Myanmar can achieve such kind of education that Zwekabin Myay Education foundation provides, our country’s education system would improve in a very short period of time. I found that it is very effective way to approach the country’s education improvement and we need more organizations and foundation like Zwekabin Myay.

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