An initiative to cultivate critical thinking, inspired leadership, and compassionate service
Parami’s story goes all the way back to 2003. Three visionary educators established a private not-for-profit school called the Pre-Collegiate Program (PCP), with the mission to cultivate change agents. The school provides liberal education to outstanding students, and instills in them a sense of social responsibility. The graduates of the school went on to study abroad to receive a world-class education. The majority of PCP graduates return to Myanmar to work towards the development of the nation.
Extending the mission of that program, the PCP alumni formed the Parami University Founding Committee in March 2016 and are now mobilizing interests and resources to establish Parami University of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Myanmar’s first private, not-for-profit, four-year residential university.
Over the past 50 years, waves of Myanmar youth have left the country to pursue better educational opportunities abroad. This exodus has sapped Myanmar of many of its promising young people who stay abroad and assume new cultural, national, and social identities. Furthermore, millions of dollars in tuition that would have supported our country’s own educational development have been transferred overseas.
Addressing the current outflow of Myanmar citizens from the country is the first step in ameliorating the brain drain. Deep cultural understanding will be critical in tackling the challenges that Myanmar is facing now. We aim to establish a world-class tertiary education institution that will not only retain our bright high school graduates in the country but also transform them into socially- and culturally-rooted global citizens.
WHY LIBERAL EDUCATION AT PARAMI?
With Myanmar opening up, there have been many educational initiatives in both private and public sectors. There are now several vocational institutions and many new professional schools offering business, management, and medicine degrees. There are also robust projects underway to rejuvenate Myanmar’s public universities that will provide focused studies in specific subject areas. What is lacking, however, is an institution designed to provide a broad education in the liberal arts and sciences. The complex and dynamic nature of the 21st century workplace demands skills such as critical thinking, effective communication, interdisciplinary analysis. Liberal education nurtures well-rounded individuals empowered with rich knowledge and skills in the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities.
Parami in Pali language means perfection or fulfillment of potential of secular virtues. Perhaps some of the most well-known virtues among Myanmar people are wisdom (panna parami), generosity ( dana parami), loving-kindness (metta parami), patience (khanti parami), vigor (viriya parami), and morality (sila parami). A liberal arts and sciences education at Parami University tends to the holistic development of students’ intellectual, academic, and personal virtues, rather than the specialized cultivation of a single skill or knowledge in a single field. It is our aim to make the campus at Parami University the ideal location for students to realize their parami (potential and virtues).
Parami University will maintain a body of 600 students, with 150–160 students being admitted annually. In the spirit of the university’s commitment to the liberal education, students will take courses in the physical, biological and social sciences, as well as the arts and humanities.
All students in their first and second years will be required to follow a common curriculum designed to nurture their critical thinking and reasoning, after which they will choose a concentration to study in greater depth. Upon satisfactory completion of four years of study, students will be awarded a Bachelor’s degree (B.A./B.S.) indicating the majors of their choice. In order to enhance faculty-student interactions that will contribute to a more personalized education, the university’s student-to-teacher ratio will be maintained at 12:1.
Parami University hopes to foster a deep sense of community among its students, teachers, staff and the local community, as well as to forge strong links between the campus and the global society. We expect that our university graduates will go forth to become influential leaders in local, regional, national and international institutions, thereby strengthening Myanmar and its contributions to the world.
PARAMI UNIVERSITY FOUNDING COMMITTEE
The development of Parami University is spearheaded by the Parami University Founding Committee: a group of like-minded Pre-Collegiate Program alumni and graduates of liberal arts and sciences universities.
Such a monumental project requires inputs and supports from many individuals and community members. Our strategy thus is to mobilize interests and commitments among the local and international stakeholders to the cause of developing a home-grown liberal arts and sciences university. Towards this end, we believe that achieving the following milestones are essential as part of our research and development phase.