May 14 - 20 , 2007 Myanmar's first international weekly © Volume 19, No. 366

Language training centres open doors to new worlds

By Kyaw Soe Linn and Phyo Wai Kyaw
Nelson English Language Centre on Bo Aung Kyaw Street in Yangon provides language courses for all levels of students.
Pic: Lwin Mg Mg

ONE of the strongest features of modern times has been the spread of different languages all over the world. Myanmar is not immune to this trend and many people choose every year to study a second, third, or even fourth, language.

Most of these people elect to study a foreign language to assist their studies, find work or travel overseas. And there are many places in Myanmar’s two biggest cities, Yangon and Mandalay, where keen students can study new languages.

They include the Universities of Foreign Languages (UFLs), training centres, monasteries, embassies and even private teachers.

Interested people can attend human resource development classes in English, Chinese, French, Korean, Japanese, German and Thai at the University of Foreign Languages in either Yangon or Mandalay.

Anyone who has passed their matriculation exam can attend these classes and progress from a novice to advanced level through different courses.

The beginner, intermediate and advanced courses are split into two classes, or stages. Stage One in any of the levels costs K24,000 and will take six months to complete. Stage Two takes three months and costs K12,000.

Following the successful completion of each level, students receive a certificate to prove their accomplishment. After they have completed the advanced course, students are allowed to attend a diploma-level class.

According to figures from UFL English is the most popular language choice.
The second most popular is Chinese, followed by Japanese, French and Korean.

However, for the many people who have never finished their matriculation but still want to learn languages, there are other options, especially in the bigger cities. Private institutions offer courses for every level of student.

Each class takes two to three months and it costs K20,000 to K30,000. Private tuition is available but those who choose this option can expect to pay double the normal price. Students may also increase the number of classes they take per week to reduce the overall length of the course.

Sayar Yang from Great Wall language training centre described some of the teaching techniques he uses to help students.

“I teach Chinese language to my students using phonetic symbols and I pay more attention to their spoken Chinese. I try to tailor my teaching to what people will use everyday in their jobs and when they travel,” he said.

Japanese is another popular choice with students, with the Japanese Embassy holding Japanese Language Proficiency Tests (JLPT) once a year. There are also examinations for Japanese university admissions (EJUs) that students can take.

To better prepare students, there are a number of foundation courses available through the embassy or other education institutions such as Ya Ya Ya in Ahlone township, Learners in Botahtaung township or the Hito Centre in Mandalay.

Classes for beginners cost about K30,000 and run for up to three months.
An alternative preparation class for EJUs costs over K100,000 but includes three subjects: Japanese, math and science or art, said U Pyae Soan, general manager of Learners training centre.

Many people also choose to study French and Alliance Francaise conducts classes for students at every level of competence.

The courses arranged through Alliance Francaise have the added benefit of being recognised by the Ministry of Education in France – a definite plus for anyone interested in studying at a French university.

Charges for these classes are FEC13 per month and enrolment for new classes begins in June.

Owing to the influence of South Korean soap operas and the career opportunities offered by Korean companies in Myanmar, many students choose to study this language.

Each two-month course costs K30,000 and there are preparation classes for the Korean language proficiency tests (KLPT). There are also Korean university syllabus classes, which range from K7000 to K15,000.

Daw Khine Sabai from Jon Jin language centre said: “More people are interested in the Korean language because they want to work in Korea. This means more and more students take exams conducted by the Korean Embassy.”

Some language centres struggle to find enough instructors and there is shortages of German, Italian and Spanish teachers.

“Our teachers are also tour guides, so when the travel season is in full-swing they cannot teach,” said one school manager.

There has also been an increase in the number of students learning Malay and Thai because of the potential job opportunities afforded by these languages.

For further information and enquiries, please contact
[email protected]
No. 379/383, Bo Aung Kyaw Street, Kyauktada Township, Yangon Myanmar.
Telephone: (951) 253 646, 240 029 Facsimile: (951) 242 699
Copyrightę 2004-2005 - Myanmar Consolidated Media Co. Ltd. All rights reserved.

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