Help 200 Students From Burma Study for University

by Thabyay Education Network

We at Thabyay Education Foundation would like to express our deep gratitude for your support the Exam Preparation Outreach Program's (EPOP’s) project, 'Help 200 students from Burma study for university' on GlobalGiving.

At EPOP we understand that progressive development in Burma depends on the education of its youth.  EPOP’s clients are dynamic young change-makers working for their communities who have a strong motivation to increase their capacity through pursuing their undergraduate or graduate degree within an international program at a quality university.  Here at EPOP we design, implement, and facilitate the online academic English and university exam preparation courses that get them there.

September has been an exciting month for EPOP.  We started our fall semester with 64 new students and 123 continuing students from 9 different states and divisions in Burma.  Our customized online courses are built for students working full time.  We provide students the books they need.  Students then access our online portal to view their weekly assignments, check their homework, participate in online forums, submit essay assignments, take online tests and quizzes, and access additional study materials.  EPOP students are given diagnostic tests (available online and in paper formats) to assess their improvement twice per semester.  Students who demonstrate sufficient ability on diagnostic tests are given an official English proficiency exam (TOEFL ITP).  They receive an official TOEFL ITP score report that can be used to apply to numerous university and scholarship programs throughout Asia. So far, in 2013, EPOP has administered over 700 diagnostic tests and 95 official TOEFL ITP exams.  We would like to hardily congratulate the 73 students who have taken the official TOEFL ITP and reached their required score for university entrance this year. 

Ei Thin Zar is from Mawlamyine, Mon State.  When Ei Thin Zar joined EPOP’s Academic English 1 course in January 2012 she was teaching English at a local hospital to children suffering from Leprosy.  Ei Thin Zar wanted to get her master’s in education to better serve her community. She worked extremely hard and in three semesters she completed all of our core courses and improved her TOEFL score by over 70 points.  We were delighted to receive this email from Ei Thin Zar last week:

“First, I would like to thank EPOP. I’ve received a scholarship and I arrived Bangkok on 6th September to begin my master’s in English Language Teaching.  I got the scholarship and this opportunity because of EPOP.  If you need me, I would like to volunteer for EPOP.  Thank you for your help.” 

Congratulations Ei Thin Zar!  There are of course, many other students like Ei Thin Zar whose dreams are made reality as a result of your support for this project.

Thank you for your support!

We would sincerely like to thank everyone who has supported us over the past year.    A little bit goes a long way in our program and every donation helps.  

If you would like more information about our program please don't hesitate to contact me and visit our website at http://epopasia.org/.   

We at Thabyay Education Network would like to express our gratitude to those who have supported our Exam Preparation Outreach Program's project, 'Help 200 students from Burma study for university' on GlobalGiving. 

It is an exciting time to be working with dynamic young change-makers in Burma and we are thrilled for our students who received scholarships this spring.  

"Thank you for your help.  EPOP has been so helpful for my studies and now I'm going to Thailand to complete my PhD in public administration." - Saw Arzar

We're currently in the middle of our semester and have 162 incredible students currently enrolled in our courses.  This week students will be completing their midterm diagnostic test.  We are all very excited to see how much they improved!

Over the summer, our team will be working hard on revamping and upgrading our online learning management system (Moodle) which will be rolled out in September. Our new design will take into account the slow internet speeds many of our students face.  This is one of the many initiatives we are currently involved in to improve our services.  

We are most grateful for even the smallest contributions as even US$10 can help support study material costs and transportation costs. We thank you once again for supporting us. If you have any questions about the project, or about our work, please do get in touch.

With our best wishes,

Michael Braverman-Scult

As this is our first report of 2013, I would like to begin by thanking everyone for their support in 2012.  In the last year we were able to provide course services to 192 students studying from 18 different locations in Burma including Yangon Division, Mandalay Division, Kachin State, Chin State, Shan State, Mon State, and Arakan State.   Forty-one of our students achieved a high enough score for university entrance on an official TOEFL test and are now applying for scholarships.  We could not have made these achievements without your help and we are deeply thankful for your donations.   

"I would like to thank you so much for your help in helping me improve my English and get a TOEFL certificate. I received a scholarship and am now studying for my master's in public health.  My dreams are coming true and I could not have done this without your help.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!" -May Thet

This month, we are starting our first semester of 2013 with over 60 new students.  We are extremely excited about the possibilities for this year. We are developing two new courses, upgrading our online learning management system, forming new partnerships and outreach initiatives, and as access to internet continues to improve, we will continue to expand our geographic scope to be able to offer our courses to more students in underserved areas. 

Thank you again for your help and support. The next bonus day is on March 13th 2013 - all donations to this project via www.globalgiving.org will be matched by 30%! We would be delighted if you could share this date with your friends, family and colleagues and help us to encourage more kind people to support this project.

With our best wishes,

Michael Braverman-Scult

"The future of this country will be determined by the education of its youth." - President Barack Obama, University of Rangoon, November 11th, 2012.

In 2012 we have witnessed the beginnings of significant political and economic reforms in Burma. More international NGOs are moving in to the country and national and community based organizations are able to operate more freely, strengthening their capacity and impact. It is an exciting time, and this program works directly with the young dynamic change-makers involved in human rights, good governance, education, and public health organizations to name a few. Strengthening young change-makers' English abilities and providing them the tools and skills they need to access quality higher education and professional development opportunities has never been more important.

The Exam Preparation Outreach Program (EPOP) has achieved many significant outcomes in 2012 and has made multiple improvements to the program. Over 150 students have successfully completed our courses this year and 140 students from Burma are enrolled in the current semester. Eighty students have achieved a TOEFL score necessary for university entrance and we expect that number to increase significantly at the end of this semester. Many EPOP students are currently applying for university scholarships, while others are pursuing professional opportunities.

"I just wanted write to say thank you because I got a new job where I need to speak English. The EPOP courses really helped me to improve my English skills. Thank you to all of the EPOP staff for this opportunity." -Thu Thu Ko

"My studies with EPOP have helped me a lot and I began a masters program in Thailand and all my courses are in English. I just wanted to share my experience and appreciation to EPOP for opening me up to this new journey." - Chin

EPOP, through its online platform and local partnerships, is continually working to expand its services to those working outside of the major urban centers of Rangoon and Mandalay. This semester EPOP has been able to serve 20 new students in Chin State and Kachin State. With your help, we hope to continue to expand our services in 2013 working towards progressive change through greater access to higher education. 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 program.

Development and Trends

It is a very exciting time for our university and exam preparation program.  We begin a new semester on September 10th, and have over 140 new students studying with us and over 200 continuing students. Over the last few months, we made a concerted effort to expand our services outside of major cities in an effort to reach community development workers in Burma working in more remote locations where academic English and test preparation services were not available.  Due to the hard work of our staff and the strength of our networks, we have been able to expand services into states and divisions inside Burma where we previously did not have a presence.  

As an online and distance education program, our program is continually looking for new tools and technologies to improve our systems and create an active learning community to support our students.  We have started started using Edmodo http://www.edmodo.com/ (a social learning network) as a way for staff to communicate with students and for students to communicate with each other.  On Edmodo, students can post questions about their assignments that can be answered by other students or staff members. Sending a notification to an entire class is as easy as posting on Facebook.  We are also continue to improve our module based learning management system (LMS) http://portal.epopasia.org/ to provide a more user-friendly environment. 

Student Feedback

Due to the widespread reach of the program, more students are gaining the academic qualifications necessary for university study than the number of scholarships available in a given year. Our Academic English courses not only build high level English reading, writing, and listening skills but also facilitate opportunities for critical thinking.  For many NGO workers, being able to effectively communicate in English is necessary for work in advocacy or regional engagement.  We have recently heard back from five students who just started new jobs at INGOs in Burma.  They directly relate the academic English skills they learned in our program to getting their new jobs.  We are continuing to improve our courses with the aim that university preparation also equals professional development.  

We also love hearing back from students who are now studying at university:

"I am writing this letter to inform you all that I have received a scholarship and am now studying at Rangsit University in Bangkok majoring in international relations and development. Studying with EPOP has really helped me improve my English skills and has made it easier for me to complete my studies here.  Thank you so much to you all for your kind help.If you get a chance to visit Bangkok, please stop by as well. "

Na Daw Law
TOEFL ITP class student

Thank you for your support!

We would sincerely like to thank everyone who has supported us over the past year.  We faced serious budget cuts over the summer and support from donors on GlobalGiving helped us make it through these cuts without cutting our core services.  A little bit goes a long way in our program and every donation helps.  

If you would like more information about our program please don't hesitate to contact me and visit our website at http://epopasia.org/.   

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Organization Information

Thabyay Education Network

Location: Chiang Mai - Thailand
Website: http:/​/​www.thabyay.org
Project Leader:
Sandar Lwin
Program Coordinator
Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai Thailand
$33,879 raised of $40,000 goal
 
107 donations
$6,121 to go
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