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Marine profs attend ‘Asianisation’ seminar

Two Professors from the Institute of Environmental and Marine Sciences (IEMS) were among those invited to assess the Coastal Resource Management (CRM) programs in five different universities in Myanmar.

IEMS OIC-Director Dr. Janet Estacion and Graduate Program Coordinator Dr. Hilconida Calumpong shared their knowledge and expertise in the areas of research, curriculum development and enhancement, faculty and student exchange, and institutional strengthening, especially with respect to current offerings at IEMS.

Estacion said that the planning/ workshop aimed to create linkages, to share their expertise and knowledge in the areas of research, curriculum development and enhancement; and to evaluate the CRM status in various universities and institutions in Myanmar.

“Through this ‘Asianisation’ program in CRM, teachers among the various universities in Asia, like Myanmar, would pursue their doctoral degrees in various universities in Asia like Silliman, rather than pursuing it in the United States,” Estacion said.

“In this way, teachers from Asia will acquire more knowledge and training, and improve their expertise, “she added.

Yangon University, Dagon University, Pathein University, Myeik University, and Mawlamyaine were the five universities that participated in the planning workshop.

Estacion said that the political situation in Myanmar greatly affected the education, specifically in CRM programs, among the five universities in Myanmar.

“Myanmar was under a military dictatorship for 42 years and because of that, teachers in Myanmar even with doctoral degrees still lack technical knowledge and the universities, although with complete laboratories, are not functioning as a ‘working lab,’” Estacion said.

Estacion added that although Myanmar has rich coastal resources, one of the problems was the “in breeding” of experts and teachers.

“This means that teachers in Myamar were not able to go outside and explore their expertise outside their country. They were confined in their country where doctoral degree holders taught what they learned in their country to the master’s degree holders, and it became a cycle,” Estacion said.

Estacion said that the importance of pursuing doctoral degrees from other countries is the collective learning, knowledge, experience, and expertise that one can share and use in going back to his/her respective university.

Silliman is one of the universities in Asia offering graduate programs in Marine Biology, Coastal Resource Management and Environmental Policy, among others.

Together with the United Board of Christian Education in Asia (UBCHEA), Silliman University and the other four members of the Coastal Resource Management Consortium will continue to help other Asian countries and expand CRM programs.

The other four members are Artha Wacana Christian University in Kupang, Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, Sam Ratulangi Christian University in Manado, Indonesia, and Madras Christian College in Chennai, India.

By Nova Veraley V. Grafe

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