Norwegian Scholarships Projects - Mahidol & Norway Capacity Building for Myanmar and ASEAN Countries
The projects are a partnership between the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mahidol University aiming to support capacity building in Myanmar and five ASEAN countries, including Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines, plus Nepal by providing over 200 graduate-level scholarships in the area of Life Science & Health, Social & Population Science, Human Right & Peace Studies and Disability Studies, and Environmental Science & Engineering, to the three main target groups of recipients;
- faculty members of public universities along with staff of their affiliated institutions such as teaching hospitals, research centers, or units.
- government officials of national institutions in the related fields.
- the workforce in the related non-governmental or private institutions that play an important role in the advancement of the country. Candidates from minority backgrounds, female sex, and rural areas will be given strong consideration. Started in 2013, there are 14 Faculties, 7 Institutes, and 2 Colleges participating in this initiative which is divided into two projects as follows:
1. Capacity Building for Institutions in Myanmar, CBIM Phase I (2013-2015) and CBIM Phase 2 (2018-2022)
In recent years, rapid and positive changes have occurred in Myanmar, politically, economically, and socially. Strategic plans have subsequently been crafted by the government of Myanmar aiming to tackle the challenges and advance the country on all fronts. The fact remains, however, that the implementation of those strategies requires quality human resources from various institutions, especially universities and key government agencies that serve as the backbone for the sustainable development of a nation. For a number of key academic institutions and governmental agencies, most of their staff possess Master’s while a very limited number receive Ph.D. degrees. This fact, along with an urgent need for health professionals to promote better (maternal and child) healthcare. The project aims to provide high-level education, professional training, and research skills to qualified citizens of Myanmar. Upon graduation, these individuals will return to serve as a driving force in the capacity building of national institutions and the advancement of the country. Under a collaborative scholarship scheme in which the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided funding of 70% and Mahidol University contributed another 30%, qualified candidates will be recruited and enrolled in graduate study programs at Mahidol University. The Project plan was to provide full scholarships for 30 Master’s and 30 Ph.D. recipients in CBIM I and along with 24 Master's and 8 Ph.D. recipients in CBIM 2. Toward the end, the program witnessed 56 Master's and 30 Ph.D. graduates.
2. Mahidol – Norway Capacity Building Initiative for ASEAN, CBIA (2015-2019)
This project shares a similar goal with the first one above, accelerating sustainable development of human resources in the beneficiary countries. To get more impact, it was expanded to cover not only Myanmar, but also five ASEAN countries, including Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines, plus Nepal. The current education system of the aforementioned countries is unable to produce qualified human resources due to a severe shortage of key resources for quality education on different fronts. In such a context, assistance aiming to produce a critical mass of scholars and skilled manpower will be of great importance in the journey toward regional peace and sustainability.
Operating the same concept, qualified applicants will be enrolled and studied at Mahidol University. During the period of their study, they are entitled to get financial support, 65% from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and 35% from Mahidol University. Upon graduation, they are required to get back to their hometown, share knowledge and experience, as well as advance the area and service of their educational expertise. The Project plan was to provide full scholarships for 66 Master's and 40 Ph.D. recipients. In the end, the program witnessed 68 Master's and 33 Ph.D. graduates.
The Norwegian Scholarships Projects - Mahidol & Norway Capacity Building for Myanmar and ASEAN Countries proved to be successful in terms of efficient and transparent management as well as satisfactory expectations of the main donor. Following this, the discussion was made to identify the new project in the pipeline. This includes the plan to recruit students to further their studies in the Bachelor's and Master’s degree programs, beginning in the academic year 2023.