Church & Society

Church-run education center helps create a better future for Myanmar March 11, 2019

About 130 young Catholics are currently taking a 3-year residential course at the Mandalay Archdiocesan Higher-Education Center.

The center is in the compound of St. John’s Catholic Church.

The youths come from 10 dioceses. Their ethnicities are Kachin, Kayah, Karen, Chin, Burmese and Akha.

The center has seven full-time and 10 part-time staff.

Among the subjects that students learn are English, computer technology, business administration and ethics.

They can also attend various seminars on subjects such as leadership, interfaith dialogue, human trafficking, and conflict resolution.

On weekends, some of the students teach at Buddhist monastic schools and orphanages. Some also visit old people’s homes and a leper colony as part of an exposure program.

The program seeks to help the students to become mature and responsible adults one day who work for the common good of the country and the Church.

With the backing of emeritus Bishop Paul Zinghtung Grawng, the center was founded by Father Neil Magill, an Irish Columban priest, in 2010.

Since then the center has produced about 250 graduates and now some of them work with Karuna (Caritas), church-run boarding schools and non-governmental organizations.

Six former students are doing further studies in the Philippines and three have got MBA degree from a university in Bangkok.

Myanmar is emerging from decades of dictatorship after Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won the 2015 election. Critics have long blamed the former military dictatorship for ignoring Myanmar’s school system.

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