On September 7, 2019, MIIT Mandalay made history by conducting the first ever computer-based entrance examination in the history of Myanmar education for admissions to its Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) programme. Out of the 1,565 candidates who had filled out the application form, 1,454 candidates took the exam on September 7 and September 8 over the course of 4 sessions. All of us at MIIT are extremely proud of this achievement – it is one record nobody can take away from us.
The exam was divided into 4 sessions, with two sessions each conducted on September 7 and September 8. Each session could simultaneously accommodate 400 students, spread over 4 classrooms and two laboratories. All the equipment used in the exam – laptops, desktops, servers, power units, etc. – was sourced in-house. Nothing was leased or borrowed from any other organisation. Unique problem sets were used for each session. Each problem set was carefully designed to be of the same level of difficulty and consisted of 100 questions from Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and English. There was also a spillover session planned for September 9 in case something went wrong.
All four sessions of the exam were conducted on Moodle (www.moodle.org) – an open source learning management system. MIIT instructors regularly use Moodle for managing courseware and for conducting assessments in their courses. Nearly 400 students took the exam at the same time in each session. There were a few early hiccups, but they were ironed out very quickly – thanks to some ingenious troubleshooting by the technical support team.
The success of the exam was due to the strong team work of all faculty members involved. Faculty members from both India and Myanmar came together to contribute in multiple ways – data entry of incoming applications, distribution of hall tickets, preparation of the computers, making the exams rooms ready, getting the exam questions ready, doing numerous quality checks, getting the infrastructure and technology working, managing the logistics, invigilating, dealing with support, and numerous other activities.
MIIT hopes to go from strength to strength in transforming the nature of professional education in Myanmar. While it would be easy to sit back and bask in the glory of our achievement, the real challenge lies in striving to improve continuously and working towards realising our motto – “Transforming Education. Enriching Lives.”