For the first time in 50 years, Scouting in Myanmar is up and running with a training of Unit Leaders now on-going in Mandalay.
After the initial visit of a high level delegation to Myanmar from the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) in May this year, hands on support kicks off with a basic training for Scout leaders. This is a move by the Ministry of Education to send 48 adults to the 7-day training course from 25 to 31 October 2013. The training opened on 25 October with the Minister of Social Affairs of Mandalay Region, Dr Win Hlaing, as guest of honor.
Ninety-two year old U Hla Kyaw, an Assistant Trainer in the late 1950s, was so excited about the training. He brought old Scouting mementos for sharing, and the session hall displayed recent photos of Scout activities that are taking place.
A team from WOSM’s Asia-Pacific Region is fully supporting the training: APR Chairman of Adult Support Sub-Committee, Rajalingam Ramasamy; Thian Hiong-Boon from APR Office as the Course Leader, and training team members David Cossart from Australia, Mohd Zaliridzal Zakaria from Malaysia, and Syd Castillo from APR Office. Senior education officers are providing all the local support.
Another participant, Mr U Nyan Win, says “the training course is systematic and the training style effectively transfers Scout knowledge and skills to us”. He said that they had a similar training on knot tying with Naval officers but what makes Scout training different is the learning by doing approach. The trainers agree, and they say that the Burmese participants are highly motivated, enthusiastic and eager to learn.
Indeed, the training is skills and knowledge-based. Topics covered are Scouting Principles, Purpose and Method; Scout Unit formation and records, Patrol System, Scouting and the community, and Unit Leaders Training Scheme.
Burmese Scouting has a long history. It became a separate branch of the Scout Association in UK in 1922 and was officially recognized in 1948 as the Union of Burma Boy Scouts. Eventually it became one of the ten founding member-countries of the then Far East Regional Scout Conference, now Asia-Pacific. Scouting was dissolved in the country in 1964 but through the years, Scouting remained unforgettable. Recent changes in the country led the Ministry of Education to reintroduce the Scouting program in schools since November last year. On top of that, former Scouts and leaders still living in Yangon are relentless and their spirit is indomitable.