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Building the Capacity of Librarians in Myanmar — KnowledgeDOT

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In 2018 The HEAD Foundation supported KnowledgeDOT to develop the capacity of librarians in Myanmar to improve service standards and develop and deliver literacy programmes for local communities.

A UNICEF report stated that in Myanmar, less than 55% of the children enrolled in schools complete the primary cycle. With nearly 7,000 libraries across Myanmar, they have the potential to reach out-of-school students and transform lives in communities that traditional institutions are unable to reach.

The Myanmar government has developed a Master Plan to aid Myanmar libraries in their modernising efforts. The Master Plan outlines the need for libraries to adapt to the changing environment, to offer relevant resources and services in both digital and print formats and to provide an inclusive space opened to all.

KnowledgeDOT, a Singapore-based organisation set up by Valerie Siew and Amarjeet Kaur, former staff of Singapore’s National Library Board, in partnership with colleagues from the Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation and the Myanmar Library Association, has designed and delivered a train-the-trainer programme to equip 25 Master Librarians with the skills needed to run future-ready libraries. The programme aims to improve the competencies of public and school librarians through six modules:

  1. Mission of Librarians: A Global Perspective
  2. Understanding the Customer Journey
  3. Developing Services to Meet Community Needs
  4. Developing an Early Literacy Programme
  5. Developing Sustainable Partnerships
  6. Promoting and Marketing of Library Services

An e-learning platform containing the training resources was also developed for the Myanmar librarians. These modules, informed by a preliminary survey of the participants, were taught both on-line and over three face-to-face workshops.
During this project a total of 28 master librarians were trained. As the training progressed, the participants became more confident in sharing and participating in group discussions. Coupled with the increase in content knowledge, the participants’ ability to deliver training courses improved and they in turn ran training courses for 2,000 librarians during the year of the project’s implementation.

The workshops were also a platform for participants to meet librarians from different library eco-systems and this cross-library platform enabled them to understand the same library issues from different perspectives.
Moving forward, the local partners – the Myanmar Library Association and the Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation – will continue to use the eLearning platform and plan to incorporate the modules into their training cycle of Myanmar librarians and upload their own courses onto the platform.

View more photos from the workshops below. (Photography by KnowledgeDOT)

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Mr Ho Swee Huat

Mr Ho Swee Huat is the Founder and Managing Director of Abacus Assets Advisors Pte Ltd. Before starting the company, he had an established career in the banking industry, with 20 years of experience in Singapore, Hong Kong and New York.

He was an Independent Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of CapitaCommercial Trust Management LTD from 2004 to 2013.

He is the current Chairman of Autism Association (Singapore) which he co-founded with a group of parents in 1992. He is also Vice-Chairman of Eden School, a special school for children with autism.

Mr Ho holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Liberal Arts degree in Economics from Hamilton College, USA.

He has been a member of the Board of the Foundation since its incorporation.