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Online Education

VFU was founded to provide Myanmar students with viable alternatives to military education.  We prioritize courses that address urgent needs and build critical thinking skills foundational to federal democracy. In the two years following the military coup, VFU offered six synchronous online courses to 355 students on topics including Introduction to Comparative Federalism and Citizenship and Statelessness in International Contexts and an additional 13 asynchronous courses to approximately 300,000 online users through its website and telegram channels. Our courses have been developed and taught in collaboration with partner organizations including the Princeton Global History Lab and Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion and supported by funds from the Forum of Federations and Community Partners International.

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In late 2022, VFU, working with partners at the University of Toronoto, received a grant from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)’s Knowledge for Democracy - Myanmar Initiative to support Myanmar fellows to develop and teach online courses. VFU fellows work in concert with The Interim University Council - University of Yangon (YUIC), an independent educational organization representing the University of Yangon in opposition to the military dictatorship, to recruit students, deliver courses, and evaluate impact. Courses taught by VFU fellows will support accreditation and degree programs offered by YUIC.

Find our courses here;

1.Race and Castle

2.Critical Reading

3.SEAsia Cold War

4.Intro to Molecular Biology

5.Citizenship and Statelessness

6.Lies My Teacher told Me: Top 5 Myths about Burma's History

7.Introduction to Politics

8.Fundamentals of Research

9.Labour Issues in Myanmar History

10.Early Childhood Development

11.Learning by Playing

12.Intro to Comparative Federalism

13.Peace Education

On The Ground Programs

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Myanmar is facing one of the most challenging times in its history in all sectors, including education. The consequences of the military persecuting educators and teachers and targeting intellectuals will be long term. VFU has responded to the emergency in education needs by providing teacher training, material and technical support for local schools, many of which are in conflict areas including Karenni, Kachin, Sagaing,  northern Shan, and Magway. Between May 2021 and November 2022, VFU supported 4,641 students and 513 teachers from 33 schools in these areas by sending books, learning materials, and stipends to teachers. In Kachin and Karenni, VFU has trained 133 teachers and provided support for 34 teacher trainees in 2022. VFU has also supported vocational training for 98 students three batches of the Karenni Prarǔ vocational training program in Karenni. Some of these students have become student-teachers in IDP camps. 

Action Research

The research program aims to produce independent and analytical thinkers who will rebuild a federal democratic country through knowledge that benefits everyone. The program is designed to provide students with fundamental skills and experience conducting social research throughout all stages of the research process. Student researchers from the VFU network bring embodied experience, first-hand knowledge of research topics, and existing relations with and commitment to contribute to communities through research findings. VFU’s research coach and academic advisors provide training on research methodology, support on proposal preparation, data collection, and analysis, and provide chances to share findings widely. Since VFU’s research program started in February 2022, students have completed seven research projects on the themes of student activism and citizenship and statelessness. 

Research Findings

Student Activism Research Project

The first batch focused on student activism. Nine student activists from different student unions who were actively taking part in the Spring Revolution explored the role of student participation in the current revolution, the patterns and commitments of student movements, and their cooperation and networking with different communities, as well as the opportunities and challenges they face in comparison to student revolutionaries from 1988. Three teams completed studies on 1) The Impact of Students and Workers' Movements from 2016 until the 2021 coup upon the early period of Spring Revolution Mass Movement  2) Comparison of Students’ Armed Struggles in 1988 and 2021 3) Analysis of Students’ Participation during Spring Revolution 2021 in Myanmar: Probing the Peculiarities.

Drawing on interviews and informed by the student researchers' own experiences, their findings highlight the challenges, strategies, and strength of Myanmar’s young revolutionaries. This project was supported by funding from the Henry Luce Foundation and ran from February to October 2022. In addition to writing up separate reports the students published their research findings as a summary article in the Independent Journal of Burmese Scholarship (IJBS). 

Citizenship and Statelessness Research Project

The second batch focused on citizenship and statelessness. This project was a joint effort by Virtual Federal University (VFU) and the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion (ISI), supported by the Knowledge Management Fund (KMF), who provided technical and financial support to the researchers to conduct community-level research on reimagining citizenship in an inclusive, federal, and democratic post-coup Myanmar. 12 conflict-affected Myanmar youths selected from VFU and ISI networks explored deprivation of citizenship in different contexts and opened up dialogue between different ethnic groups about citizenship as part of a social contract related to future federalism and the demilitarized state. Four teams conducted three qualitative studies and one quantitative survey on the following topics: 1) Access to Education of Children in IDP Camps: A Case Study in Southern Shan State 2) The Violated Rights of Citizens from the Most Conflict-affected Areas in Post-coup Myanmar 3) Becoming Migrants and Losing Citizenship Rights after the Coup: A Study of Myanmar Migrants in Mae Sot, Thailand 4) You Belong with Me?: A Research Survey on Public Attitudes towards Citizenship in Myanmar. The project ran from September 2022 to March 2023. Researchers produced reports, contributed to a synthesis report on violations of citizenship rights and reimagination of a social contract, and shared their research findings in a webinar.

Learn more about this project

[https://www.institutesi.org/pages/reimagining-the-social-contract-of-citizenship-in-myanmar]

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