WIU, Myanmar Center Enters Into MOU
April 9, 2014
MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University and the International Language & Business Center (ILBC) of Yangon, Myanmar, have signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at expanding educational opportunities on both campuses.
WIU President Jack Thomas and U Tin Maung Win, ILBC management director, signed the agreement April 8 on the Macomb campus. According to Rick Carter, executive director of Western's School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach, the MOU provides exchange opportunities for students, faculty and staff between WIU and the ILBC. During the delegation's visit to the Macomb campus, they visited with each academic college to discuss faculty scholar opportunities, youth enrichment programs and study abroad.
"The Memorandum of Understanding between Western Illinois University and the International Language & Business Center will provide even greater global experiences for our faculty, students and staff," Thomas noted. "One of our goals at Western Illinois University is to further internationalize our campus, including faculty, staff and student exchange. Agreements with international partners, such as the ILBC, provide excellent academic opportunities for not only our campus community, but to students from around the world."
The ILBC was established in 1995 with a small language class of 20 students. Since then, it has become the leading institution among the private education sector in Myanmar. Today, the company has established 24 schools in seven major cities of the country, providing education and language training to approximately 8,000 students, from Pre-K through grade 12.
According to Carter, as part of the agreement, in late April, the ILBC will send 17 teachers from 24 schools to WIU-Macomb campus to participate in four weeks of teacher training through the WIU College of Education and Human Services.
"In addition to the teacher training program we will provide, Western will work closely with ILBC students who wish to continue their education at Western," Carter added.
"We are glad to have this agreement with WIU, as it not only provides an opportunity for our teachers to travel to Macomb for their professional development, but it will also enable us to offer our students in Myanmar the opportunity for their tertiary-level education," Win explained. "Right now, students have to travel a long way from home, to the United States or the United Kingdom, to take college courses. With this agreement, we will be able to offer our students Western's curriculum where they live."
Carter said students in Myanmar will be able to experience Western through currently offered online courses, and Western will explore additional extension educational opportunities.
"Our online classes are already available in Myanmar, and according to our college meetings during the past two days, some faculty members are very interested in teaching as extension faculty from Western. The courses and integrity of the degrees we will be supporting will be maintained directly from WIU," he noted. "It really is a win-win, because the students can be assured they are taking courses and earning degrees from Western, and we will benefit from the continued internationalization of our Western Illinois campuses."