Article and photos by Prof Kay Lwin Tun, the 2018/19 ASEAN Science and Technology Fellow placed at the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, Myanmar.
Imagine how difficult it is for young women and unpowered scientists to work diplomatically with politicians, conservatives, laws, and competition to bring changes to tertiary education in the country.
Fortunately, I can now change this with the support of the staff from two ministries and international organisations such as USAID, GIZ and FAO.
When I applied to become an ASEAN Science and Technology Fellow, one of my Plans of Action was to focus on the development of a competency-based curriculum for the fisheries and aquaculture programme in university. Curriculums in tertiary education in Myanmar are highly focused on rote memorisation of theories and have very limited practical and analytical skills to meet the criteria of stakeholders. I seek to change the curriculum to a competency-based learning system, which includes context, instruction, assessment and grading systems. I, along with some staff from two ministries have collected data of stakeholder needs and communicated with international organisations which can support this vision financially and technically. I had given several presentations for a draft curriculum to two ministries, director generals and rectors. The staff and I worked very hard to make several reviews and modifications to the curriculum.
Finally, we established a new programme, “Fisheries and Aquaculture”, in the University of Yangon in December 2018. This is the first programme to use the competency-based curriculum in social science subjects in university-level education. Furthermore, that curriculum and program have been recommended as the “best practice lesson learned to programme” by the Ministry of Education.
When I became an ASEAN Science and Technology Fellow and was able to work with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, this made it easier to collaborate with the Department of Fisheries to develop the programme with the support of policymakers and stakeholders. During my time as a fellow, I feel I like I served as a bridge between the two Ministries.