Burmese university officials visit Oxford | University of Oxford
Delegates from the University of Rangoon
Delegates from the University of Rangoon

Burmese university officials visit Oxford

Senior members of staff from the University of Rangoon in Burma have visited Oxford to learn some of the skills required to run an elite 21st-century university.

The two-and-a-half-week training programme formed part of Oxford University's response to the challenge laid down by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi when she received her honorary degree in July 2012. Daw Suu called on her alma mater to help rejuvenate student life and the higher education sector in her home country.

Since then, Oxford's central University, departments, colleges and students have been working on a number of projects that have been advanced to varying extents, with a focus on the University of Rangoon.

The training programme covered topics such as strategic planning, curriculum development, research and student support. The delegates were based at Lincoln College for the duration of their stay and met representatives from various academic and administrative departments, as well as visiting key University sites including the Bodleian Library and Oxford University Press.

Professor Nick Rawlins, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Development and External Affairs) at the University of Oxford, said: 'I am absolutely delighted that we were able to welcome the delegates to Oxford for this training programme.

'This is a key step towards our goal of helping to restore the University of Rangoon to its former eminence among South East Asian universities. It provides a stepping stone for further developments in Rangoon and I hope it may also prove useful to other universities in Burma in the months and years to come. 

'I personally look forward to further visits in both directions to strengthen the links between Oxford and Rangoon. It is a privilege to be assisting them at this extraordinary time.'

Dr Kyaw Naing, Pro-Rector of the University of Rangoon, said: 'The training programme has been very interesting and will prove fruitful for us.

'We have heard about things like curriculum development, strategic planning and student welfare, and we will share this knowledge with other members of staff at the University of Rangoon.

'We are very grateful to have been given the opportunity to attend this training programme at Oxford, and we hope to continue to enjoy close collaboration in the future.' 

Other ongoing initiatives include a substantial link-up between Oxford University's Law Faculty and its counterpart in Rangoon, as well as various scholarships and fellowships hosted by St Hugh's College, Balliol College, St Antony's College, the International Gender Studies Centre at Lady Margaret Hall, and the Oxford Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU).

Last week, the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford staged a major conference titled 'Refugee Voices' that included a session on Burma.