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Australian Foreign Minister announces USD 2.5 million contribution to UNESCO teacher education project in Myanmar

Yangon, 07 July 2014 – During her first official visit to Myanmar last week, the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Julie Bishop, visited Yankin Education College in Yangon where she announced a new Australia-supported USD 2.5 million teacher education project, to be implemented by UNESCO Myanmar in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Myanmar.

The Foreign Minister interacts with Grade 2 students at Yankin Practicing Middle School. (©UNESCO/Sandar Kyaw)

A group photo outside of Yankin Education College. (©UNESCO/Sandar Kyaw)

The Foreign Minister addresses a class of student teachers at Yankin Education College. (©UNESCO/Sandar Kyaw)

The “Strengthening Pre-service Teacher Education in Myanmar” (STEM) project will break new ground in Myanmar as the first large-scale Development Partner and Government joint project to focus on pre-service teacher training, “providing the opportunity to train teachers to the very highest standard,” as the Foreign Minister stated to a class of teacher trainees during her visit to Yankin Education College, one of the STEM project pilot colleges.

The STEM project represents a strong commitment by all stakeholders in Myanmar to invest in teachers as a means of ensuring that all children can benefit from well-trained and fully-equipped teachers who can effectively support learning for all.

“Teaching is one of the most important careers that a person can pursue,” stated the Foreign Minister, who served as Australia’s Minister of Education, Science, and Training from 2006 – 2007. “After parents, teachers are the most important influence in a child’s life.”

Australia is a lead education donor in Myanmar, which the Foreign Minister reaffirmed during her visit, noting Australia’s additional commitment of USD 27.8 million in education aid to Myanmar to boost services in 43,000 basic education schools and to strengthen teacher training through the STEM project.

At Yankin Education College, the Foreign Minister was met by enthusiastic students and teachers from the education college and attached Practicing Middle School, where 3,500 students attend pre-school to grade 9.

A high-level delegation from the Ministry of Education, including the Director-General of the Department of Educational Planning and Training and the Director-General of the Department of Basic Education-3 as well as the Rector of Yangon Institute of Education and Vice-Principal and Head of Academics from Yankin Education College, provided the Foreign Minister with a briefing on the STEM project and a tour of the education college and practicing school facilities. The Foreign Minister was accompanied on the site visit by the Australian Ambassador to Myanmar, the Head of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in Myanmar, UNESCO Head of Yangon Office, and Australian Embassy representatives.

Under the STEM project, UNESCO Myanmar will work with teacher educators and administrators at pilot education colleges to strengthen institutional capacity for improved curriculum, pedagogy and management with a focus on facilitating the creation of ICT networks and knowledge platforms, linking the 21 education colleges across Myanmar.


For more information on the STEM project, please contact Ms. Jamie Vinson, UNESCO Assistant Programme Specialist – Education, at