SEES staff train students on water quality assessments in Myanmar

Dr Cecilia Medupin from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (SEES) and Professor Amanda Bamford from the School of Biological Sciences recently visited Myanmar to deliver workshops on freshwater ecology.

Through help groups to sample freshwaters and identify organisms in the lab, as well as face-to-face seminars and YouTube videos, the pair helped to raise awareness of the crucial importance of clean waters.

Myanmar has only recently reopened to the world and is in urgent need of improving its higher education and knowledge transfer. Around 60% of higher education in the state is distance learning. This workshop - a collaboration between The University of Manchester, the Open University and the Department for International Development - is helping to create opportunities to deliver and transform education in Myanmar, making it more inclusive and open, and increasing opportunities for employment.

Ahead of their trip, Dr Medupin and Professor Bamford prepared a series of YouTube videos and manuals to help students prepare for the course. On arrival in Yangon (in the south of the country) and Mandalay (in the north), they worked together with local university staff, surveying local rivers and lakes to find sites for their workshop. Here they discovered some unfamiliar organisms, and worked together with local academics to identify them.

Sessions with students, involving lectures and practical sessions, allowed them to share their experience of surveying water quality using biotic indices - vital skills in a country seeking to improve its infrastructure. The workshop proved an important intellectual and cultural exchange, with the pair learning from local scientists about unfamiliar ecosystems.

Read more about Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform.

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