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Bridging Youths to Success through Well-rounded EducationNovember 25, 2021
Lin Nay Min is a graduate student from the 5th cohort of the Parami Leadership Program (PLP). He is a co-founder of the Career Bridge Learning Center based in Mawlamyine, Mon State. In late 2020, Lin Nay Min co-founded the center with five other Mon youths, including Jamper Htaw, PLP graduate from the 6th cohort. Apart from taking part in the management and administration roles, he also teaches Social Studies at the center. Lin Nay Min talked about the inspiration for founding the learning center and how the center supports and guides the young people in the community. The Career Bridge Learning Center offers a variety of short courses in English language, social studies, and IT while enhancing students' skills in critical thinking, communications, and public speaking.
What was the moment when you had the idea for this learning center?
We founded the Career Bridge Learning Center about five months ago, and we are still in the developing process of our center. All of our team members take equal responsibilities and the parts that we are interested in. Each team member teaches a class based on our specialization, and we create our own curriculum. As all our founding members have worked in the education field before, there are not many challenges for us running this center.
Obtaining a three-year diploma in Social Science, I am teaching Social Studies at the center to provide students with a well-rounded knowledge about politics and economics and to become aware of what is going on in their environment. In the subject, I also teach them about teamwork, becoming good leaders in their communities, and other necessary skills for their professional life. In addition, I also offer IELTS foundation classes for students who are planning to pursue further studies.
I have worked in different professions such as teaching, community-based organizations, civil society organizations, and private entities and found out that some of the jobs are stressful, and I did not enjoy them. However, I have realized my passion, particularly for teaching. I enjoy teaching and always feel motivated to share my knowledge with the students.
What’s the problem you’re trying to solve or the gap that you’re trying to fill?
One of the rooting problems we have noticed in our community is that many young people struggle to decide on their further education or future career after finishing high school. And this inspired us to establish the Career Bridge learning center to support and help guide these young people. As I have an educational background in psychology, I like to encourage students to come and talk to me when they need to talk about their future, feelings, or challenges in life. It is like a session outside of the class where students can just come to teachers and us at the center to talk about their struggles or problems. The students came up with ideas and found what they needed to do next by discussing their challenges. It is crucial to create space for young people to express themselves because, in our culture, it is difficult to have people who listen to you with full attention. Most people like to talk rather than listen to others.
What’s the most significant milestone the learning center has hit?
We have been running the learning center for six months now. We now have 30 students who have taken courses at the Career Bridge, of which 10% have obtained a job, and 20-30% continued their studies. I am glad to see the students getting a decent job and continuing their further studies after completing their courses at our learning center. Despite the current situation in Myanmar, we were not hoping for much, but we have achieved a lot. I feel grateful that we can provide education and students have opportunities to learn during these difficult times.
What critical concepts of liberal arts education have you learned from the PLP classes you have applied in your daily life and workplace?
I like the sense of freedom of learning at Parami. Parami encourages the interdisciplinary learning concepts where students are encouraged to learn new things even though it is not the field of our interests to see other aspects of the idea. For example, I am not good at maths and biology, but trying to learn these subjects, I realized they are pretty interesting and valuable.
During our cohort, we had a group tea session with our supervising teacher every Friday. Each group contained one teacher and five students, and it served us as a space to have a casual conversation with our teachers, Teacher Joe Decker, and classmates. We discussed our future.
I value diversity’s essence in the Parami community. Our conversations and discussions on particular topics sometimes formed an argument as we had different aspects in the class. Having an opinion is good as we can hear various views, and I have learned that it is okay to have different perspectives and ideas.
The international learning environment and inspiring teachers from abroad were the reasons I chose to study at Parami. Also, Parami has an excellent connection with the different stakeholders such as NGOs, INGOs, and private sectors. For example, the Job Fair organized by Parami allowed us to expand our network and connection for our future careers.
What is next?
I am seeing myself continuing further study to cultivate more knowledge in the field of education and also to contribute more to the future development of the Career Bridge Learning Center. Continuing my education in other countries could be an excellent opportunity to guide the students at our learning center for their further study. Like the Career Bridge, It might be a bridge to connect the students from Myanmar with international universities.
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