President U Win Myint delivered a speech at a ceremony in the Ngu Shwe Wah Hall of the Presidential Palace, in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday morning, where students of the 2nd batch of five-year Bachelor’s degree programme in education from the University for the Development of National Races paid respects to the President and listened to his words of advice and encouragement. An unofficial translation of the full text of his speech is as follows:
Union Ministers, deputy ministers, students and faculty members, led by the rector of the University for the Development of National Races, and officials from the Ministry of Border Affairs at this ceremony, may you all be blessed with auspiciousness, good health and peace of mind.
First, I would like to say that I am very pleased to meet the new blood teachers-to-be, sons and daughters, who have completed the five-year bachelor’s course at the university under the Education and Training Department, the Ministry of Border Affairs. Founded with over 100 ethnic races, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar has a great history. Historically, those ethnic groups have coexisted peacefully and harmoniously within the country’s territory since the days of yore.
When Myanmar was under the control of the colonialists, they administered people from highland areas separately from the lowlands people, under a divide and rule policy, but the country gained independence due to the leadership of Bogyoke Aung San and the martyrs and the collective efforts of the ethnic races.
However, the country faced huge challenges and hardships in the state-building process due to ideological differences and diverse opinions that came along with independence. That is why border areas have seen weaknesses in education, economic, health and social services.
As part of the efforts to promote the role of ethnic people, the leaders of the country, who understand the situation of the country, has implemented projects in the Union through a systematic approach to develop infrastructure and human resources, and reduce poverty in the border areas that had existed for so long.
The University for the Development of National Races, formally founded as an Academy of the Development of National Races, was established by the government on 20 October, 1964, with the aim of nurturing a new generation in the education sector who will support the development of the ethnic races and promote cooperation among them. It was upgraded to university level on 10 May 1991. Now the university is entering its 54th year. The objectives of the University for the Development of National Races of the Union are:-
(a) to strengthen the Union spirit among the national races of the Union, while living in a friendly atmosphere and pursuing education at the University;
(b) to preserve and understand the culture and good customs and traditions of the national races of the Union;
(c) to promote the spirit, the desire to serve in order to raise the standard of living of the national races of the Union;
(d) to raise the quality of leadership and efficiency in carrying out the development of the national races of the Union;
(e) to infuse the spirit and desire to carry out research work with a view to achieving success in development of the national races of the Union;
(f) to produce good educational personnel who are free from party politics and who are of good moral character;
(g) to keep alive and promote the spirit and desire to preserve the causes of non-disintegration of the Union, non-disintegration of the national solidarity and ensuring the perpetuity of the sovereignty of the State.
To date, the university has conferred Masters Degree of Education to 95 students, Master’s Degree of Philosophy to 35 students, Bachelor Degree of Education to 3,677 students, Diploma in Teacher Education to 742 students, Junior Assistant Teachership Training to 956 students, Special Primary Assistant Teachership Training to 461 students and Primary Assistant Teachership Training to 7,162 students, totalling 13,182 teachers. I am pleased to see that the 165 trainees who have concluded the current training course includes students from 82 different ethnic races.
Human resource development plays a crucial role in the growth of a country. The National Education Strategy Plan (2016-2021) is being implemented, with the intention of providing access to international quality education to develop human resources.
Sons and daughters who completed the course at the university and who are entering the teaching service soon, I would like to urge you all to continue your education as learning does not end when you graduate. Education is a lifelong process and you all should note the famous quote “An educated person is one who wants to continue learning and is able to do it.”
Education is an important resource for the entire human society as well as a guarantee for every individual’s life. Therefore, the trainees are to provide not only education services to the students in the region but also nurture their will to learn and to have the correct attitude towards the development of their region. In other words, the trainees have the additional duty of nurturing and spreading the Union spirit.
In the rapidly developing and changing world of today, there are many challenges as well as opportunities for progress. As such, sons and daughters must strive continuously towards having the full capability to take up these opportunities. Sons and daughters, the university has provided you the skills and knowledge to become a good teacher. Only a good teacher can create educated and disciplined students with good moral. Good teachers are the ones who would create future generations that serve the country. A good teacher provides students with education from school as well as guiding them towards having proper thought process. A good teacher loves the country, is skilful in specific subject they are teaching, can teach well, is continuously learning, have a spirit of a teacher and follow the ethics of a teacher. The university has trained and nurtured you, sons and daughters, to become such good teachers.
The State is also expecting sons and daughters to become good education staff. I also want to request you all to obtain the collective and united strength of ethnic nationals all over the country and enthusiastically participate in any way possible in the Union Peace Conference work processes. I don’t think much need to be said that achieving internal peace is connected to peace and stability in local wards and villages, rule of law, human rights, development of the country and establishing a Democratic Federal Union.
The government is working towards a peaceful, modern and developed Union with the unity of all the ethnic nationals. It is also working towards transparency and a balanced development of states and regions. State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi herself had formed a central committee to implement the development of border areas and ethnic nationals, set up policies for border area development and human resources development and has been working in coordination with the Union, state/region governments. Ethnic nationals in the border areas also need to partake, cooperate and assist towards the development of the Union.
Instead of using arms, the correct approach to end the nearly 70-year long internal conflict should be through political means and dialogues. The process of establishing a Democratic Federal Union is being implemented by taking up the good opportunity of “from internal peace process to national reconciliation.”
Differences between ethnic nationals can be overcome peacefully and democratically in a roundtable discussion with compassion and generosity. Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong is the only path with which political problems can be resolved with political means. That is why Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong was held with the aim to establish a Democratic Federal Union peacefully.
At the opening ceremony of Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong third session, Chairperson of National Reconciliation and Peace Center State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said, “Many ethnic nationals live in our country. After gaining independence, we were unable to establish a united nation, trusted and valued by all, and to date, we have more than seventy years of armed conflicts based on suspicion, mistrust, hate and antagonism. Dreams and aspiration of our country and our people were being sacrificed in these long-running armed conflicts.” She added that peace must be established.
Similarly at the 2018 Conference on Implementing Education Development, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said, “Today’s topic for discussion is very important for our country. Although we say higher education sector, this starts from the primary level. For many years, our education system has been weak starting from the primary level. When our youngsters reach higher levels, it became more difficult to raise their levels. So if teachers and the Ministry of Education, struggling in the higher education sector, are facing difficulties, our students must also be facing difficulties. We need to think how to overcome the bad foundation in order to reach the ultimate fine destination. The responsibility of everyone involved in the higher education sector is enormous. To achieve success in education, there must be a belief in achieving success. This must be in the mind of our youths. Parents and teachers who guide and teach them also need to have this belief. As the youths are capable of achieving success, there must be a belief to achieve success.”
Having a healthy and highly educated people in the nationals is the best insurance for a country’s future. Whether a country is developed or not is judged by the health and education status of the nationals. That is why this government has been placing special emphasis towards encouraging and supporting education and health sectors since it took up the State’s duties.
It is expected that the government’s efforts and endeavors will be observed and understood during this study tour. Maintain the good name of the university by being disciplined and systematic during the study tour. When you complete your study and are assigned in your duty stations, use the experience and knowledge gained from the study tour.
In conclusion, sons and daughters are requested to
– Raise the education level of not only the children but also the entire region you are assigned to.
– Be duty conscious and have the belief that you are responsible for the development of the region and development of the social condition of the people in the region by educating, organizing and enthusiastically participating in the regional development sectors.
– Value, cherish and maintain the language, literature, culture, arts, traditions and historical heritages of all ethnic nationals in the State.
– For eternal peaceful existence of the union continuously organize to perpetually instill the spirit of ethnic national unity and the Union spirit among the people of the region.
– Strive toward the aim of establishing a peaceful, modern, developed Democratic Federal Union, strengthen the basic foundation of non-disintegration of the Union, non-disintegration of national solidarity and ensuring the perpetuation of the sovereignty of the State.