By: Sophie Geoghegan
Our Clinical Legal Education (CLE) programme, in Myanmar, has been proceeding at an astounding pace since our last newsletter. Following the success of the 2nd Myanmar National CLE Summer School & the Inaugural Asia Regional CLE Summer School, both held in May, most universities have shown enormous enthusiasm and dedication to the programme. We are pleased to announce that some universities in Myanmar have continued signing memoranda of understanding (MOUs), in order to participate in the Clinical Legal Education (CLE) programme being undertaken by: BABSEACLE; UNDP, Herbert Smith Freehills; DLA Piper/New Perimeter and others. For most, these MOUs represent the first of their kind- e.g., having been signed by a foreign institution and a non-governmental organisation (NGO). The MOUs signify a breakthrough for legal education in Myanmar, and are a testament to the willingness of universities to engage in this programme, and they ensure the success of bringing CLE into their mainstream legal education system.
MOUs also provide the framework under which universities will engage with, and show their commitment to, the programme.
The Universities that have signed MOUs to date are: Yadanabon University (4th July 2014), Mandalay University of Distance Education (9th July 2014), University of Mandalay (10th July, 2014), Magway University (28th July, 2014), University of Yangon (12th August, 2014), Yangon University of Distance Education (13th August, 2014), East Yangon University (13th August, 2014), Myitkyina University (18th August, 2014), Dagon University (29th August, 2014), Dawei University (9th September, 2014), Taungoo University (10th September, 2014), Monywa University (24th December, 2014), Sittwe University (11th February, 2015), Taunggyi University (8 July, 2015), Mawlamyine University (15 July, 2015) and Pyay Univeristy (7 August, 2014). Pathein University is expected to follow in the coming months.
In addition to MOUs, universities are participating, simultaneously, in individual three-day CLE training sessions that are being conducted, at many of our core partner universities, throughout the year. Training of Trainers sessions (TOTs) build upon the CLE knowledge that participants have acquired, at the National CLE Summer School. These TOTs focus on CLE methodologies and programmes and on the last day have sessions on Mock Trials, in preparation for Annual National Mock Trial Event held each February. All participants have showed great enthusiasm and dedication, and are busy putting their new skills and knowledge to use, in their classrooms. Many universities are currently in the process of introducing CLE methods, into their teachings and their curricula, while simultaneously holding their own trainings, in order to pass on CLE knowledge to their colleagues and students.
Roundtable discussions that coordinate links, between universities and the justice institutions have been attended by law officers, judges, lawyers, professor heads and other Myanmar officials and have been met with interest and support. One of the successes of such discussions is encouraging law professors to work more closely with external justice actors and to arrange externships and field trips with these contacts.It is great to see how hard everyone is working, and to see this work pay off. We look forward to delivering more news to you, on all of the accomplishments and achievements from Myanmar, in our next newsletter, so please stay tuned…