Partnership launches MIL Competency Framework in Myanmar

Partnership launches MIL Competency Framework in Myanmar

Critical thinking about media and information is crucial for a safe and knowledgeable civil society, and to counter mis- and disinformation. Media and Information Literacy (MIL) practitioners and trainers in Myanmar now have a framework that can make their work more systematic and focused to realize those goals.

On 9 September 2020, UNESCO Myanmar Office launched “Towards MIL Competency Framework in Myanmar, a collaborative effort with representatives from the Ministry of Information, teacher colleges and NGOs under the auspices of UNESCO Myanmar Project Office.

Among the components of the Framework are MIL core principles and values, competencies translated into observable and measurable performance indicators, and priority stakeholders.  

The primary users of the Framework are MIL service providers, such as planners and managers of MIL programmes/projects from government agencies, international and national NGOs, academic institutions and civil society organizations.

During the launch, Ms. Min Jeong Kim, Head of UNESCO Myanmar Office, said MIL in Myanmar had been introduced in December 2015 during a seminar for civil society organizations organized by UNESCO. Today, MIL continues to gain support and recognition in Myanmar among various sectors.

Myanmar is emerging as a leader in MIL advocacy and practice in the ASEAN region, Ms. Kim said. In addition to the recently launched Framework, she cited other initiatives such as the inclusion by the Ministry of Education of MIL in teachers’ preservice education; the development of information materials to combat disinfodemic; MIL training series for agricultural extension workers, information officers, media and community librarians; and the creation by the Ministry of Information MIL Awareness Promotion Committee. The Ministry with UNESCO support will soon roll out the programme “Training on Addressing Hate Speech and Promoting Peaceful Society through MIL”,which will benefit 600 individuals nationwide.

Recognition of the importance of MIL can be attributed to the realization that relevant competencies can effectively address national issues such as the disinformation order, proliferation of hate speech, radicalization and extremism, Ms. Kim said.

An important contribution of the Framework is the translation of MIL competencies into concrete performance criteria expressed in terms of skills, knowledge and attitudes that provide evidence of competent performance for each competency, according to UNESCO Media Development Specialist Mr. Ramon Tuazon.

During the virtual launch, representatives from the Ministry of Information, academia and NGOs explained how the Framework could be immediately applied to their work.

Dr. Zin Mar Kyaw and Mr. Kyaw Min Oo discussed the MIL Competency Framework during the virtual launch (©UNESCO Myanmar)
Dr. Zin Mar Kyaw and Mr. Kyaw Min Oo discussed the MIL Competency Framework during the virtual launch (©UNESCO Myanmar)

Dr. Zin Mar Kyaw, Professor and Head of Journalism Department of National Management Degree College (NMDC), said the Framework would be very useful in designing MIL programmes that will equip young people with critical thinking and analytical skills especially in the use of social media. She added that young people depend on social media for information, news and entertainment and highlighted the need to link formal education with out-of-school (non-formal) education in MIL using the new Competency Framework.

Deputy Director-General Dr. Thida Tin, from the Information and Public Relations Department of the Ministry of Industry, said the Ministry had collaborated with UNESCO, the Journalism Department of the NMDC and MIL-related NGOs to commemorate the annual Global MIL Week since 2018. The MIL Awareness Promotion Committee was set up by the Ministry in 2019 to develop MIL policies and strategies. She recommended the integration of MIL in basic education, specifically in social studies subjects, to enable young people to understand and apply MIL skills.

Mr. Kyaw Min Oo, Operations Manager of Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation (MBAPF), said many people share information or post on social media without thinking whether it is accurate or harmful. He also cited cases of cyber bullying. E-business are adversely affected by phishing and fraud, he added, emphasizing the importance of social media literacy, which is one of the priority competencies included in the Framework. He also explained why he proposed the inclusion of digital games literacy in the Framework, citing the educational app Mind Craft as appropriate to children and young people.

During the launch, Ms. Kim reiterated UNESCO’s commitment to support endeavours promoting MIL as the first line of defence against all forms of information disorder and hate speech.

The MIL Competency Framework in English and Myanmar languages can be downloaded here.

The virtual launch event can be accessed through:

About the Multi-Donor Programme for Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists (MDP)

The MDP strengthens UNESCO’s work at the global, regional and national levels by channeling funds towards emerging priorities and the most pressing needs to achieve its mandate on freedom of expression. It enables UNESCO’s Communication and Information Sector to address complex issues through the design and implementation of holistic media and long-term interventions. This mechanism enables UNESCO and its partners to achieve greater impact and sustainability, while reducing fragmentation of activities in the same field.

To learn more about how to protect journalists and freedom of expression, visit: https://en.unesco.org/themes/fostering-freedom-expression/mdp

 

Main Photo credit: Shutterstock/Genius Studio