Students learning to use eTekkatho at Taungoo University
Duyen Nguyen | MIT Open Learning
Myanmar’s education landscape is changing, thanks in large part to the efforts of the Tekkatho Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that uses digital technologies to bring world-class educational resources to local institutions and communities. Supported by a grant from the Omidyar Network, Tekkatho sets up free, self-contained digital libraries—eTekkatho—and other education infrastructure across the country, making access to materials like MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) possible even in places with little to no connectivity.
eTekkatho is able to include OCW content among its many resources through OCW’s Mirror Site Program, which delivers free copies of the OCW website to over 400 non-profit educational organizations working in under-resourced parts of the world, for installation on their local networks. Currently set up in 23 universities and six community libraries across the country, eTekkatho’s impact on learners in Myanmar has been remarkable. Over 10,000 people—from students to educators—have attended an eTekkatho training course, where they learn how to access, browse, and download educational and research materials. With thousands of resources now at their fingertips, students grow confident in taking the initiative in their education, becoming proficient in self-study and independent learning. As of 2017, over 100,000 individual ebooks, video lessons, datasets, lectures, and other educational content have been downloaded from eTekkatho library.
OCW is one of the most popular resources that eTekkatho provides. At Phaung Daw Oo, a monastery school in Mandalay that offers free education to over 7,000 children, students like Kyaw Win Khant turn to the eTekkatho digital library to research their assignments, develop their IT skills, and prepare for college and work. “Of course I use eTekkatho! It’s really useful for my studies,” says Kyaw, who was motivated to study chemistry after finding resources on the subject through the digital library. Through watching OCW lectures, Kyaw says he also improved “[his] communication skills.”
"MIT OCW helps students to learn not only the subject materials but also how to give presentations.” eTekkatho
As head of IT for the Tekkatho Foundation, May Thet Khine Nyein has overseen the establishment of many of the eTekkatho libraries and witnessed how increased access to learning opportunities and tools has changed the education experience for both students and teachers in Myanmar. “MIT OCW helps students to learn not only the subject materials but also how to give presentations,” May observes, while educators use eTekkatho to strengthen their subject knowledge, taking advantage of teacher training resources and incorporating materials like OCW lectures into their own lessons.
At the heart of the Tekkatho Foundation’s mission is the belief that access to the best and most up-to-date resources in education will transform minds, as well as opportunities, and pave the way to a more empowered society. “Myanmar was isolated for a long time,” May says. "Now we have the opportunity to take our place in the world.” eTekkatho is leveraging resources like OCW to open up this opportunity to all parts of the country.
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