Fr. Girish Santiago, SJ, the Regional Superior of the Myanmar Dependent Region,  visited Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) last 25 March 2023 to meet with various offices collaborating to assist the St. Aloysius Gonzaga Institute for Higher Studies (SAG-IHS) in Taunggyi, Myanmar. This collaboration has been ongoing since 2012 and has focused on creating a meaningful working partnership to assist SAG-IHS in its future development.

The School of Education (SoE) at ADDU has played a significant role in this partnership, sending four batches of faculty as visiting professors to teach professional education courses to students in the institute and provide training to teachers. This initiative has been essential in enhancing the skills and knowledge of teachers. Additionally, teachers from SAG have come to ADDU to either be retooled in specific disciplines or obtain a master’s degree.

The collaboration between ADDU and SAG-IHS also includes an ongoing diploma program designed to enhance the skills and knowledge of SAG-IHS students, particularly in using the English language. The diploma is awarded to students who fulfill the overall requirements of the curriculum. In July 2019, for the first time, the ADDU School of Education granted its Diploma in Education to a group of students from SAG-IHS who had successfully completed the program’s requirements. This program continues to provide opportunities for SAG-IHS students to acquire new knowledge and skills that will be useful for their future careers.

During his visit, Fr. Santiago met with Cardoner Volunteers and was inspired by their dedication to making a difference in the lives of the people they are serving. The Cardoner Volunteers, a program based in the ADDU, have been actively involved in supporting education initiatives at SAG-IHS. The volunteers are alumni of ADDU and are committed to serving mission areas in Myanmar, Thailand, and the Philippines.

At SAG-IHS, the Cardoner Volunteers work alongside the faculty and staff to assist in various areas, including teaching English and other subjects, developing curricula, and providing academic support to the students.  During his visit, Fr. Santiago learned about the impact that the volunteers are having in Myanmar and how their work is helping to improve the delivery of instruction in SAG-IHS.

On 19 March 2021, the Myanmar Mission became a Region dependent on the Philippine Province, further confirming the existing partnerships between the two regions. These partnerships include a long-standing relationship with Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro, which has been focused on providing education and training to teachers and students in Yangon, Myanmar. Similarly, there is a close partnership between Ateneo de Manila and the Myanmar Leadership Institute, which offers a joint graduate diploma in Leadership and Management.