Girls in ICT Day 2019: Creating role models in Myanmar

On International Girls in ICT Day 2019, Ellen Alarilla, Program Manager for Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility for Ericsson Southeast Asia, Oceania and India, reveals how Connect to Learn and VR-Training is helping teachers in Myanmar to improve ICT education for more than 30,000 children.

woman with VR glasses

"I practice with the VR-based training tool before I conduct a class. It helps my confidence when I enter the classroom," Daw Thurein Aye, a teacher from BEHS Kawa in Myanmar, shared with us on a recent visit to their country. We were formally launching the Virtual Reality (VR)-based training tool as part of our Connect to Learn (CTL) program in Myanmar, together with our consortium partners Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™, the Earth Institute, the Ministry of Education (MoE), and the Department of Basic Education.

As we join the worldwide celebration of Girls in ICT 2019, we thought it would be good to highlight how Daw Thurein, and the other teachers in our CTL program in Myanmar, are now utilizing ICT technology to hone their skills and, in so doing, enrich the learning experience of the nearly 30,000 students that are benefiting from the program. The VR training tool, together with the tablets, customized content, and internet connectivity provided in the CTL program, have made it possible for students, girls and boys alike, to be more independent when it comes to their learning.

Watch how the Connect to Learn program is opening new opportunities for children in rural Myanmar.

Making it easier for teachers to integrate ICT into the classroom

The VR training tool allows the more than 300 teachers currently in the CTL program to practice teaching and the integration of ICT into the classroom, at the teachers' convenience outside of the classroom. It can even be used without internet connectivity. The VR-based training tool will ensure CTL continues to fulfill its role: to train teachers to become more comfortable in using ICT, so that they can make use of its many possibilities to enhance the classroom experience for their students.

It also helps to address Myanmar's education sector reform priorities on improving the abilities and subject-matter expertise of teachers in all schools as part of its ongoing National Educational Strategic Plan (NESP). The NESP was created by their government to serve as a roadmap for sector-wide education reforms from 2016 to 2021, with the aim to improve access to quality education for students at all levels of the national education system.

Improving teaching standards across rural towns and villages

When it comes to teacher training, our experience with CTL is that this is done centrally by the Ministry of Education, through its Department of Basic Education. This ensures that the trainings have consistent content and are aligned with the NESP's goals. However, it also poses a logistical challenge: some of the most disadvantaged communities of the country are located in remote rural areas. Organizing face-to-face training sessions are a logistical challenge due to limitations on travel.

With limited opportunities for training, however, teachers would not be able to improve their techniques and methods. VR changes all this, however, by providing a means for teachers to practice anytime, anywhere, and get quality feedback on their performance.

Building confidence in ICT among girls and women in Myanmar

Early indicators based on our ongoing project study show that VR-based training for teachers has a positive impact: the self-reported ICT skills and usage comfort levels by teachers throughout the course of the project period continue to show positive trends.

While it's still in its early days, the teachers in the program, like Daw Thurein Aye, continue to apply the technology they've learned not only in their day-to-day teaching, but also in their lives. She shared how she used a tablet and internet connectivity to manage an overseas trip – something that was, until then, unimaginable to her. "As a person who was born and who grew up in this village, I was scared of traveling to distant places. But I used a small tablet and led young Grade 3 and 4 students on this recent trip to Indonesia," she shared.

On International Girls in ICT Day, we celebrate Daw Thurein Aye and all the CTL teachers, the majority of whom are women, in their ongoing journey to use ICT to bring learning to a different level in Myanmar.

Find out more

Read about Ericsson's IT for SHE mentor program which marked Girls for ICT Day 2018
Find out more about the Connect to Learn program in Myanmar
Explore the technologies and use cases behind the internet of skills

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