Help 200 Students From Burma Study for University

by Thabyay Education Network

Bridging the Gap: Opening of GED Test Center for migrants and refugees at Thai-Myanmar border

General Education Development/General Education Diploma (GED)Testing Service is a joint program between the American Council on Education (ACE) and Pearson VUE. Thabyay Education Network Foundation opened an authorized select GED Test Center partnering with the Pearson VUE to provide the testing services for the students studying at the Migrant Learning Centers’ GED Preparation Programs.

Thabyay’s Exam Preparation Outreach Program (EPOP) primarily targets at the Myanmar learners who are living in refugee camps, far from developed cities and towns with lack of the opportunities for higher education but are in great need for education.

The students of migrant learning centers in Mae Sot come from various family backgrounds and situations. They represent a range of ethnicities, cultures and personalities. Only a few of them have formal high school matriculation level from Myanmar.

Most of them have completed their informal education in refugee camps or migrant schools. Several groups of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) have jointly helped the students and young adults get the relevant skills according to their needs and aims.

Many of the MLC students’ aims are higher. They want to continue their education at university level. To get into the national or international programs in the universities, the students need to have a recognized high school diploma. Therefore, the MLCs collect the students along the Thai-Myanmar border areas and refugee camps to help prepare the students to take a high school equivalency test, which is the GED high school equivalency diploma.

When the students are ready for the GED Exam, MLCs had to send their students to the authorized test centers which were only in big cities such as Chiang Mai and Bangkok. To be able to take the GED Test in the cities, migrant and refugee students had faced many difficulties such as visa, transportation, accommodation, etc.
To fill the gap, Thabyay assessed the needs of the GED test center associated with the migrant learning centers in Mae Sot. Gratefully in November 2016, the Pearson VUE authorized select GED Test Center has been officially launched. At the time of reporting in January 2017, more than 80 exams have been administered by Thabyay’s GED Test Center in Mae Sot.

Without the help, supports and generosity of the donors through the Global Giving they could not have made these achievements. On behalf of our students and the project team, I would like to express my sincere thanks to everyone who supports our programs. We are looking forward with great enthusiasm and accomplishment of the students.

With our best wishes,
Sandar Lwin
Program Manager
Thabyay e-Learning Platform/Exam Preparation Outreach Program


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Further studies opportunity of marginalized ethnic youths
Thabyay Education Foundation’s Exam Preparation Outreach Program (EPOP) introduced a new model of collaboration to accept the enrollment of students from community based learning centers. The learning centers integrate EPOP into their course modules by giving specific class time to study with EPOP within the class schedules. At the time of reporting, 3 learning centers of migrants and refugees students in Thai-Myanmar border areas and 2 learning centers in the 2 States inside Myanmar have already taken part in this collaboration.

The students from these areas are living far from developed cities and towns, migrant areas and refugee camps with lack of higher education opportunities. The discussion and initial collaboration has been taken with our partners of another 5 learning centers in Myanmar & Thailand for further studies opportunity of marginalized ethnic youths.

162 students from 23 different locations enrolled in EPOP 1/2016 semester (Feb-Sep 2016) and TOEFL Diagnostic Testing was conducted at the end of the semester. 102 students passed the courses and 66 % of the students showed their improvement in TOEFL scores comparing to their recent diagnostic test of June, 2016.


272 students from 28 different locations enrolled in EPOP 2/2016 semester which begun in the first week of October, 2016. During 2016, EPOP conducted the TOEFL diagnostic test for 677 students; 213 in March, 144 in June and 320 in September. EPOP administered TOEFL ITP official test for 63 EPOP students in 2016, 62% won scholarship for further studies.


We thank you once again for your kind support for this important program, supporting for the Academic English Courses and TOEFL Test preparation course, which help closing the gap of the requirement for the further study opportunities of marginalized ethnic youths. We hope that this report will inspire you to continue to support us in the future.


With our best wishes,
Sandar Lwin Program Coordinator Thabyay e-Learning Platform – EPOP sandar@thabyay.org www.epopasia.org


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Thabyay e-Learning Platform’s EPOP Courses and Tablet PC Project

Thabyay e-Learning Platform’s EPOP Courses ( TeP- EPOP) provide guided online self-study courses to help at least 350 students each year for attaining the qualifications they need to be eligible for international universities. 

EPOP Online Course – Tablet PC Project

Thabyay e-Learning Platform’s EPOP Tablet PC Project is an innovative and new generation online learning approach. It provides access to digitally excluded communities, marginalized groups and minorities in the remote areas of Myanmar on a small but easy-to-use device: on a tablet.

The opening ceremony together with dedication service for rolling out of Thabyay’s “EPOP Online Course – Tablet PC Project” co-implemented by EPOP and Youth Development of Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) was successfully held in Myitkyina, Kachin State in May 2016. The attendees included the Reverends and staff of KBC, students and staff from other partner organizations.

Students are actively doing their assignments on the student portal and studying with the EPOP supported tablets at the center. With the regular supervising and communication, the volunteer is monitored and assisted by the TeP EPOP team. 

 TOEFL ITP Official Testing and Midterm Diagnostic Testing

The monitoring and evaluation of the EPOP Online Course – Tablet PC Project will be carried out by the end of July along with the midterm diagnostic testing in Myitkyina, Kachin State.  Through networking, EPOP established the new collaboration partners in Kayah and Kayin States to reach out more and provide the opportunities to access the higher education in marginalized areas.

The students from these areas are living in refugee camps, far from developed cities and towns with lack of infrastructure. The discussion and initial collaboration has been taken with our prospective partners for the opportunity for further studies of marginalized ethnic youths.  

The first semester of 2016 started in April, 2016. All students had the chance to measure their progress acquired since the beginning of the course, hence TeP team arranged and conducted midterm diagnostic tests in Myanmar and Thailand at the beginning of July. Based on these results, EPOP provided TOEFL ITP exam to students who reached their target scores. Out of 16 official TOEFL ITP test takers, 13 test takers scored 550 above and 6 students won the scholarships to study in international universities.       

EPOP 1/2016 semester’s Midterm Testing was conducted for 162 students from 23 different locations. 50% of the test takers scored 50 points improvement comparing to their recent diagnostic test in April, 2016.

We thank you once again for your kind support for this important program, providing Academic English Courses and TOEFL Test preparation course, which help closing the gap of the student’s requirement for the further study opportunities. If you have any questions about this report, or about our work, please do get in touch.

 

With our best wishes,

 Sandar Lwin

Program Coordinator
Thabyay e-Learning Platform – EPOP
sandar@thabyay.org
www.epopasia.org


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EPOP has developed an innovative, new generation online learning approach. It provides access to digitally excluded communities, marginalized groups and minorities in the remote areas of Myanmar on a small but easy-to-use device, i.e, a tablet. EPOP primarily targets at the learners who are living in refugee camps, far from developed cities and towns with lack of any infrastructure but are in great need for education. 

EPOP has considered the concept of the use of Tablet PC as one innovative learning approach since 2015. The platform can provide learning materials, interactive courses, videos, books and multimedia contents in order to give a helping hand to those people who, despite their condition, want to break out from their current circumstance. In early May 2016, EPOP Online Course - Tablet PC Project will be launching in Myitkyina, a state in the most northern part of Myanmar.

The Exam Preparation Outreach Program (EPOP) provides guided online self-study courses to help at least 350 students each year work towards attaining the qualifications they need to be eligible for international universities. Students come from diverse backgrounds in Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia. EPOP also works to improve students’ professional skills to aid them in working for the benefit of their respective communities and prepares students with the research and academic writing skills they will need to succeed in university.

As EPOP primarily targets students who are actively working full-time in civil society organizations, the course load is limited to five to seven hours of work per week.  Additionally, many students may travel and work in remote locations, with little access to internet.  As such, students are generally allowed a two-week period to turn in each assignment and complete each assessment.  EPOP strives to balance the flexibility and academic rigor needed by working students, providing a curriculum that is both “doable” and effective.

Through the outreach presentations and networking, EPOP established the new collaboration partners in Myitkyina, Mai Ja Yan (Kachin IDP) and Hpa-An to provide higher education in marginalized areas. Furthermore, the discussion and initial collaboration has been taking with our prospective partners of Thai-Myanmar borders Mae Sai, Tachileik and Ranong for the opportunity for further studies of marginalized ethnic migrant youths.


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Exam Preparation Program (EPOP) is the flagship of Thabyay E-learning Platform that provides university and test preparation services for committed, community-minded individuals in Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia who would like to improve their professional and academic knowledge. The students are from different cities of Myanmar, and from refugee camps and migrant learning centers of Thailand-Myanmar border areas.

EPOP is accepting the application for new semester which will begin in Mar 2016. Over the last few months, we made an intensive effort to expand our services outside of major cities in an effort to reach community development workers in Myanmar working in more remote locations where academic English and test preparation services were not available.  We have been able to expand services into states and divisions inside Burma where we previously did not have connections. Furthermore, the discussion and initial collaboration has been taking with our prospective partners of Thai-Myanmar borders Mae Sai, Tachileik and Ranong for the opportunity for further studies of marginalized ethnic migrant youths.

EPOP’s online learning approach offers blended services comprising self-study, distance learning and classroom-based short courses that can be delivered to individuals in any location in Myanmar and Thailand seeking to acquire the qualifications required for entrance to universities in Asia. Every EPOP student is provided a comprehensive packet of learning materials that includes multiple textbooks, accompanying audio CDs, and a student handbook.

The EPOP Online Portal, Moodle based online learning management system, provides students access to their courses online. After logging in, students can view their weekly assignments, take online quizzes and tests, participate in discussion forums, download the answer sheets to their weekly assignments, and access additional learning materials. EPOP’s online study schedule allows students the flexibility to arrange their studies around their work schedule and complete assessments and assignments in multiple formats. The below table shows the regions of the current EPOP students.

In Jan 2016, EPOP administered the 27 TOEFL ITP tests for the students of partner organization and for EPOP students who are in the process of applying for the universities and scholarships.

EPOP is privileged to offer and administer Official TOEFL ITP exams. Students who take the TOEFL ITP are provided official transcripts of their test score that they can use to apply to international universities. EPOP utilizes the TOEFL ITP because of the affordability and flexibility of the test. EPOP is able to offer these tests at multiple times and locations throughout the year. As EPOP is certified to administer tests and can bring the tests to the students instead of asking them to travel to city centers EPOP can serve marginalized, ethnic and remote populations.

 “I  very much appreciate EPOP team's efforts and supports for every candidate. I found the program is very well-designed as I could hardly find one in other private institutions. I think it is very flexible and most effective for students no matter they are working or living in remote areas. So far, I have won Australian Award Scholarship from Australian government. I would say that EPOP has contributed the major proportion of this priceless success. Without taking the English courses with EPOP, I may not be able to stand where I am standing today. EPOP, you are the vehicle that brought me from where I was to where I wanted to be and you are also the one who helped me to open the door of academic life” _ Malis (EPOP graduate )

We thank you once again for your kind support for this important project and look forward to hearing from you if you would like any further information about this project.

 

With our best wishes,
Sandar Lwin


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Organization Information

Thabyay Education Network

Location: Chiang Mai - Thailand
Website: http:/​/​www.thabyay.org
Thabyay Education Network
Project Leader:
Sandar Lwin
Yangon, Myanmar

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