Two universities in Myanmar have opened “e-libraries” containing hundreds of thousands of digital books and periodicals in a move to help students catch up with their peers around the world. After years of isolation under strict military rule, students at the University of Yangon and University of Mandalay will now have uncensored access to a wide range of learning materials.
“Universities had been seen as centres of resistance to military rule and heavily restricted – Yangon’s university had been one of the most prestigious in South East Asia, but had been caught in a cycle of protests, repression and shutdowns,” wrote BBC.
“But as part of Myanmar’s reforms in recent years, universities have been given greater freedoms, and young students have now returned to rejuvenate neglected campuses.”
In the current phase, students must access computer terminals located in physical libraries. However, both universities plan to expand access to students’ dormitory rooms via their personal laptops in the near future.
The first wave of new students to enter the once highly regarded universities are said to be the “brightest and best” in Myanmar and eager to “learn and speak English.” They have big shoes to fill after a generation without a graduating class.
The e-libraries were provided through the joint efforts of Electronic Information for Libraries and The Open Society Foundations.