Expanding “The Horizon” in Myanmar’s Education Sector Shahriyor Turgunov
Charlie Greene
January , 2015

Name : Shahriyor Turgunov

Position : Director of Public Relations Nationality : Uzbek

School : Horizon International School (HIS)

MI: When was your first visit to Myan- mar and what was your first impres- sion of the country then?

I first visited Myanmar in 2006 with very limited knowledge. However, I started feel- ing like I was in my own country in no time, thanks to the hospitality and friendliness of the people.

MI: How did you end up as the Direc- tor of PR of HIS and what is your role in HIS?

Before moving to Yangon, I worked in Man- dalay where we have two campuses. First I worked as the Head of a Department, then became the Vice-Principal of the school and then the Principal. Upon having spent 7 years I moved to Yangon where I assumed my current position. My responsibilities mainly include maintaining communication with officials, media and other institutions.

MI: Could you describe to our readers about Horizon International School:

Horizon International School is a private in- stitution that aims to offer the best quality education possible to the youth of Myan- mar. We currently have 5 campuses in Yan- gon, 2 in Mandalay and 1 in Nay Pyi Taw, which are all equipped with all necessary facilities both for the students and teach- ers. We have teachers of different nation- alities who are thoroughly selected to suit our requirements. Our school consists of Pre-School, Primary, Secondary and High School section.

MI : How was HIS founded in the first place in Myanmar?

We opened our school in the year 2000 in Yangon with the purpose of providing quali- ty international education. Our first campus was a humble one. However with the grow- ing interest in education and the increase in the number of our students we had to upgrade our campus, then build a new one with state-of-the-art facilities. With the view of expanding our operations in mind, we opened more campuses in Mandalay in 2004 and in Nay Pyi Taw in 2014.

MI : What programs does HIS offer currently?

We teach students from Toddler level up to Grade 12. In our pre-school we teach specially tailored international curriculum based on the latest research on early child- hood learning. In Primary and Secondary we follow Cambridge Curriculum. In Grade 9 and 10 the students take IGCSE Programme and for Grade 11 and 12 students we offer IB (International Baccalaureate) Diploma Pro- gramme. Apart from our regular school, we also offer Summer English Program and En- glish Weekend Course programs to give op- portunity to more students to learn English.

MI : What are the objectives and long term plans of HIS?

We are committed to providing quality edu- cation and other services to support it. Our main objective is to maintain this quality and continue updating and upgrading our facilities. One of our long-term plans is to further increase and strengthen our partic- ipation and involvement in the field of edu- cation internationally.

MI : Please tell us the achievements of HIS within the past three years?

We want our students to be not only ac- ademically successful, but socially active too. We offer several extra-class programs where students further their knowledge in the fields of their interest. To further help them achieve this, our school has been giv- ing a special attention to preparing tour students for International Competitions. Every year our students take part in several competitions worldwide. Namely, IJSO (In- ternational Junior Science Olympiad), SMO (Singapore Mathematical Olympiad), AMC (Australia Mathematical Competition), Australian Science Olympiad, Infomatrix (International Computer Project Competi- tion in Romania), I-Sweep ( International Sustainable World Project Olympiad in the USA), Ebiko (International ICT Olympiad in Turkey) and more. The students gain more self-confidence through taking part in such events. Recently our students took part in IJSO Competition held in Mendoza, Ar- gentina and received 2 Bronze medals, one of our students got the 3rd place in APRSAF Water Rocket Competition held in Japan. The IB Diploma Programme we offer is a very challenging program and only compe- tent, hardworking students are able to get high score from its exams and receive a di- ploma. We feel very proud that all of our re- cent graduates received their diplomas and are now studying in prominent universities in England, Australia, the USA and Canada. We are determined to continue this success story.

MI : What would be the extra curric- ula of HIS?

Apart from our classes we offer many ex- tra-curricular activities in the form of sports clubs, intra-school and inter-school competi- tions, donation campaigns that students un- dertake. We have 4 main annual events which are countrywide, Spelling Bee, Streetball, Table-Tennis Open and Mathemania Com- petitions. These activities help the students improve their academic and social skills and prepare them for future challenges.

MI: How would you determine the “success of a school”?

Since its inception, our school has witnessed many success stories, which, I am sure, will further continue in the future. Thanks to the hard work of our dedicated staff, hardwork- ing students, cooperation of the parents and support that we have received from the Gov- ernment of Myanmar we have established an image of a successful school.

MI: What sort of difficulties HIS is facing currently?

Running an educational institution has nev- er been easy and there will always be chal- lenges. I believe we can easily overcome all those challenges and hardships as long as we remain committed and dedicated to ed- ucating the youth. I have to admit that due to the changes that we have all witnessed in the country during the past couple of years, with the establishment of legal basis for all sorts of operations, it has become much eas- ier to run a school.

MI: How does HIS compete with oth- er private schools?

Myanmar has a relatively competitive mar- ket in terms of international schools and each school tries to provide the best educa- tion they can. I think there should be a good cooperation and relationship between dif- ferent schools as we are doing the same job.

However, we are a not-for-profit organiza- tion and we invest all the money the school makes back to update and upgrade both ac- ademic and physical condition of the school on a regular basis to remain in line with the latest requirements of modern education.

Furthermore, there is a range of activities that intend to improve students’ academic, social and physical skills throughout the year, both local and international, which makes our school different from other schools.

MI: How different are the customers’ expectations here in Myanmar com- pared to other countries?

Customers’ expectations are very similar in their nature regardless of which country you live in. They always want quality service in return and our job is to make sure that we meet those expectations.

MI: How do you feel about Myanmar’s education sector right now?

Education sector is a growing sector in Myanmar, compared to 3-4 years ago, there are more international and private schools now. Education is an important sector and ongoing changes in the overall perception of education indicate that people are getting more and more aware of its importance. Myanmar is a country with a great potential, I think it can easily overcome all the hard- ships for this sector to be fully stable and constructive.

MI: What would you like to advice to your students and their parents?

A country’s development will be stable and promising once the education is properly set. Only with educated people can a soci- ety prosper and be lasting. So, the parents’ foremost investment should be made in their children, since they are the future of the country.

MI: How are you enjoying your days in here?

It’s a cold season now and the weather is beautiful. I am trying to spend more time outside to enjoy it. I have traveled to most of the popular destinations of Myanmar and I am looking forward to exploring more of it.

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