From Convocation and Graduation to Nation Building


Today (15-10-2015) is an auspicious day for our Nationalities Youth Resource Development Degree College called NRCD (Yangon) that the college has produced human resources for the 12th time. The college confers her 12th time convocation to 176 nationalities youths to whom we must say as trained and educated valuable human resources for border areas as well as for the nation building and convocation was conducted under the banner of the University of Yangon for the college is affiliated with the University of Yangon. The graduate students took oaths of allegiance at the present of the rector and then, the rector confers Arts and Science degree certificates to the students at the convocation hall of NRCD. This emotional feeling makes me to write this article to congratulate those qualified human resources on having done excellent steps for their future as ambassadors to their respective regions in the country.
I would like to share my experience while studying at Banaras Hindu University (BHU), in Varanasi, India. All foreign students who came to study at BHU shared boarding together at International Students Hostel on the campus and we celebrated International Hostel Day annually. Whenever celebrating that event, we always invited our Vice Chancellor (VC) as our special guest. Even though busy scheduled, Vice Chancellor never failed to attend the event if he would not be out of station.  At that event, Vice Chanceller used to urge the international students by saying “You are the ambassadors of your countries so please convey the good message of BHU to your countries that you enjoyed while studying here.” Vice Chancellor emphasized the important roles that youths play in society for the future.
As I mentioned earlier, the products of NRDC are the ambassadors of their respective regions because all of students, who were selected to study at NRDC, are young ethnic students especially those who are living in remote and border areas. Most of the people who live in those places are underdeveloped in education, social, economic, health, communication as well as transport due to several reasons. What we can say is that ethnic conflict or civil war is one of the reasons that created the regions poverty, underprivileged and underdeveloped.
It is a remarkable coincidence on this day (15-10-2015) that the government of the Union of Myanmar and eight ethnic armed groups signed a nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) which was witnessed by representatives from the European Union, the United Nations and diplomats. This peace deal signed is a great benefit for the entire people especially to those who live in the conflict areas. Most of the nationalities youths who are studying at NRDC live in the above mentioned places. Before the signing peace deal, U Thein Sein, the president of the Union of Myanmar, delivered an opening speech and the present said, “Today is a historic and significant day for Myanmar. The road to future peace in Myanmar is now open. Due to internal armed conflicts, hundreds of thousands of civilians living in conflict zones suffered under the ravages of war. Those affected are none other than our fellow ethnic nationals and citizens.” The international communities either East or West welcomed the signing of a ceasefire agreement. The United States commends all sides for their ongoing efforts to bring an end to the longest-running civil conflict in the world.
I am proud of being one of the teaching staff at NRDC which produces qualified human resources yearly. I would like to express my sincere thanks to Dr. Min Thant, the principal of NRDC, to whom I owned a great debt of gratitude. As a Karen nationality, I am really proud of serving at the Department of Nationalities Affairs. After learning the historical background of NRDC, it makes me a wonderful surprise how the successive governments have been carrying out to uplift the life and welfare of remote nationalities.
NRDC, which is under the Department of Education and Training, Ministry of Border Affairs, is creating higher educational opportunity to the minority youths from border and remote areas to gain human resources and implement the development tasks in those areas by upbringing those youths. The ministry laid down six objectives for NRDC which is based on Union Spirits and the sixth one is ‘To assign the graduates to the appropriate tasks associated with the development work in their respective regions after attaining higher education.”To carry out its objectives, NRDC has been producing qualified youths to perform the development task of their respective regions with might and main.  According to records, NRDC has been producing over 2442 qualified human resources within one and half decades.
The ministry gives opportunity to national race students who passed matriculation exam, living in remote and border areas, able to speak their mother languages, single and healthy and finally they must pass the writing and oral test for admission to NRDC held by the Administration Selection Committee. Even though the above mentioned are eligible to those students, as adopted policy those who are orphan, motherless, fatherless or the poor must be given priority.
There are over 135 types of national races both majority and minority enjoying and sharing feeling through thick and thin in motherland. As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed by United Nations in 1948, “Everybody has the rights to an education.” Every Myanmar citizen has equal rights in education. Minority races in Myanmar have more rights in education and life carrier. By checking the list of students of NRDC, most of students who were selected at NRDC are minority. After getting admission, all selected students must make a bond with the authorities that they surely will carry out the assigned tasks especially in border and remote areas as soon as obtaining their respective diploma and degrees. It means the ministry has entrusted long-life carrier for all students as reliable human resources and their life have been secured in society so the government has been giving more privilege to minority youths in the country. By looking at the list of students it makes me surprise that I have never heard even the name of some minority groups. The national races who are studying at NRDC are Kachin, Kadu, Kanan, Kayar, Karen, Khami, Khumee, Chin, Dynet, Dhanu, Naga, Palaung, PaOh, Mon, Myo, Yintalee, Rakhing, Shan, Rawan, Lesu, Larhu, Wa/Lwela, Inthar, Arkha, Bamar and Taungyoe. Most of them are minority.
The students have to learn Arts, Science subjects a degree and Engineering subjects as a diploma. The curriculums and syllabus are the same as those affiliated Universities. In addition to those subjects, they have to learn three additional subjects: Union Spirit subject to consolidate the union spirits and amity among the nationalities and to foster and believe three main National Causes; Cultural subject for understanding and cherishing the culture, tradition and customs; and Abhidhamma subject to know and apply the art of living in their daily life. As I mentioned earlier, they have more privileges compared to any other students for they are provided everything free not only education and training but also food, accommodation and so on. They have been trained and educated systematically as scheduled academic years. In final year, students have to write term papers in partial fulfillment of requirement for the degree which covered every field as assigned to them. After final exam, all final students have to read their papers at the convocation hall. At paper reading ceremony so called college seminar, Dr.Min Thant, the principal, delivered a welcome speech. He said, “This is a special chance for you. No any other Universities in Myanmar have this paper reading opportunity for undergraduate. Paper reading is the academic and essence works of our college for you so present your papers actively as your best.” I participated at the paper reading ceremony and some students read their papers not only data collection but also giving their comments on it so some papers prove that the efforts of students are really helpful for respective field and the nation.
The 13th time of graduation ceremony was held at the same venue in the morning of the next day (16.10.2015). H.E Union Minister for Border Affairs, Let-Gen Kyaw Swe, and invited guests, responsible persons, graduate students and their parents and relativeswearing their colorful traditional costumes attended the ceremony. H.E Union Minister delivered a speech and in his speech, he focused on the tasks implemented and carried out in every sector by the government, the development tasks of the ministry, the ongoing carrying out of the two objectives of the Department of Education and Training, providing development schools, vocational schools for girls which are really in need in remote and border areas, valuable human resources that have been produced by the ministry, the addressed made by the president at the meeting with the leaders of ethnic armed groups at MICC-2, the natural disaster affected areas and so on that covered the present situation of the country. He said, “Today is the honorable day for the future of the country that we can produce the valuable human resources of all nationalities races for the 13th time. You have been educated and trained as qualified human resources and you are entrusted to perform your jobs in different ministries to serve and shoulder the welfare and benefit of the people so you should carry out our duties with might and main by keeping Union Spirits and brotherhood in the places where you are assigned. Especially, to join hand together at people center development projects and working peace process.”
Then, the minister gave prizes to two outstanding Arts and Science students and presented a certificate to Saya Han (Mahasadhammajotikadhaja) on behalf of the Abhidhamma teachers who taught and guided to the student to pass Abhidhamma examination the whole Myanmar first  organized by Ministry of Religious Affairs.
As scheduled program, the ceremony will be concluded and no one would think that the Union Minister will deliver a speech for the second time. Actually, H.E the minister did not make a speech but expressed his life and experience to the assembly especially to the graduate students frankly how he had to try hard and encounter in his life from childhood to the present position. I believe that the minister wanted every student to keep on learning in life that will benefit one’s life. This is his genuine volition and intention by sharing personal experience.
He said, “What all of you must keep in mind is that I am Myanmar and Myanmar citizen by avoiding narrow minded such as I’m Karen. I’m Shan and so on. We all live in our motherland through thick and thin. We founded this college to produce valuable human resources and don’t keep books on the shelves after graduation but keep on learning either you are qualified or not. Whenever you have your time, try to read that will enrich your knowledge and life that can assist the development projects of the nation. I served as a rector/ principal of Defense Services Academy and I emphasized this reading habit to officers and students. We have to associate with international communities so you should always pursue knowledge. Only if you have sufficient knowledge, you can earn your life easily so don’t be contented with formal education taught and trained by the college. Knowledge bank is nothing but reading but you must consider which books are useful and which are poisonous for you.
Let me tell you my life, Let-Gen Kyaw Swe, the one who is standing in front of you, a native of Kyaukpadaung, was a student of monastic education boarded at monastery and had to face hardship in life. I had to try my life from monastic student up to Let-General without having any privilege. What I wanted to tell you here is that even a monastic student like me had achieved the highest position. You have much privilege here so you should try hard better than us. I was weak in English because we had to learn English when we were in standard five in our times. I have to face so much difficulty being weak in English throughout my life. Now, due to my past meritorious actions as well as making great effort in life I have reached this position. We have to associate with International communities and we have to communicate with any foreigners so we have to face many difficulties whenever keeping in touch with them. Therefore, I try to read it daily at least per page in a day. This is the present situation that I have to face so I shared my experience to you so I don’t want you to be like me. I want to suggest you that I am getting old and you are new generations and you have more chances to learn so I want you to try hard in life.”
I was being flown the lecture of our H.E Union minister and I learned his pure and genuine volition to the new generation human resources not to face any difficulty in their life by giving his personal lessons whatever situation comes to them. He encouraged graduate students two important points in life; one is to do long life learning and the other is to be perfect in English.
I firmly believe that all graduate students would keep in their mind the forceful message which is invaluable experience admonished and encouraged by the Union Minister. As I stated earlier, graduate NRDC students who are qualified human resources have been systematically trained as well as ambassadors to their respective regions. Therefore, from convocation and graduation, they will spread the scent of their Alma Mata, NRDC and carry out the nation building and development tasks in places where they are assigned to by keeping Union Spirit and brotherhood spirits.

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