Congratulatory speech of Amyotha Hluttaw Speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than on occasion of Centenary Celebrations of University of Yangon

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Amyotha Hluttaw Speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than gives the video speech to congratulate the 100th Anniversary of Yangon University. Photo : MNA

I extend greetings with best wishes at the occasion of 100th anniversary of the University of Yangon for the wellbeing of the national people and overcoming the current pandemic. Today is an auspicious time for the history of Myanmar education, and it is the proud moment of all the Myanmar nationals. I am also pleased to extend my congratulatory remark on the event as an alumnus of this university.
As the University of Yangon was first established on 1 December 1920, it has been 100 years on 1 December 2020. The celebrations have marked its centenary. From the launching ceremony of 100th anniversary on 2 December 2019 to the end of December this year, the centenary celebrations have been holding. It was intended to widely organize the centenary event. However, the celebrations could be held under control measures against the COVID-19 pandemic.
In tracing the history of the University of Yangon back, Myanmar did not have its own university for national people before 1920, except Yangon college under the University of Calcutta and Baptist College of the American Baptist Missionaries in the country. The name of Baptist College was changed into Judson College (Yudathan College). Our country had not a university for higher education, but just only Yangon College and Judson College, before 1920.
Therefore, Myanmar national leaders and people called for an independent and national university which was not under the influence of the University of Calcutta. As the demand accelerated, authorities had to merge Yangon College and Judson College to form the Yangon University on 1 December 2020.
In the early years, only art subjects were available at the university. As the academic field had been widened at Yangon University before the Second World War, more colleges were established in the following years. During 1940-1950, Yangon University was famous as the best university in Southeast Asia due to its higher academic level and pleasant natural environment. After changing education laws, different subjects of Yangon University were separated into respective universities. Then, the glory days of the university were long behind it, followed by the gradual decline of academic level.
As other universities and colleges emerged from the University of Yangon, it is recognized as a ‘Mother University’ of other universities, degree colleges and colleges. In the past, University of Yangon was the only university in Yangon. It was also a foundation of education in Myanmar, and it developed together with a wide range of struggle for education, independence, nationalistic movements and historic events. The role of the University of Yangon cannot be skipped in reviewing education development in Myanmar, and its history cannot also be separated from the history of independence struggles and national political activities.
Currently, the government is making efforts to upgrade the University of Yangon as a high priority project. The government is working hard to make the University of Yangon a world-class university again and to make it a university that can support national interests, as an important project. A Master Plan for the University of Yangon has been drafted and implemented.
Education can play a crucial role in the development of a country. At the “basic education” level, it is important to provide great basic education, and at the higher education level, it needs to provide education and skills that can benefit the country and are compatible with the 21st Century. Myanmar drafted and approved the National Education Law in September 2014 and amended the law in 2015 and approved it again. According to the National Education Law, Myanmar’s education system will be compatible with political, economic and social systems of Myanmar, and the law will promote the quality of the education sector.
We believe and hope that all the stakeholders will be able to implement the education policy and plan the curriculum in accordance with this objective. We have heard good news that the Department of Anthropology of the University of Yangon will open diploma courses in languages, histories, geography, businesses, cultures and traditions of national ethnic people.
The centenary celebration of the University of Yangon is a ceremony that belongs to all the people of Myanmar and the entire education sector of Myanmar. I am a former student at the University of Yangon, so the university is like our mom. So, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the University of Yangon, which falls on 1 Dec, we all remember the great history of the university and its great image, and all the people of Myanmar will be proud to have it. I would like to conclude my congratulatory speech, calling on people to conserve the great image and the dignity of the University of Yangon and work hard in order for the university to exist for infinite years. (Translated by Aung Khin)

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