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Using open and distance learning to support the Sustainable Development Goals

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TIDE - Transformation by Innovation in Distance Education


Please see attached links to the TIDE Fact Sheet, Project Card and Poster for further details on the TIDE Project.

Project Status: Completed.

Mother and son

The Transformation by Innovation in Distance Education (TIDE) was a 3.5 year project consortium of UK and Myanmar partners working in Myanmar to improve the quality of distance learning in higher education. TIDE built the capacity of staff at 40 Arts and Sciences Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across Myanmar, with the primary ambition of benefitting distance education students and resulting in more informed and employable graduates. In addition, by enhancing programmes of study, focusing on environmental studies, in those HEIs and by strengthening national systems and structures that support the HEIs, TIDE became a catalyst for further improvements across the Higher Education (HE) sector, helping to support strategy and leadership for the future of the sector in Myanmar and its contribution to sustainable development.

TIDE was part of the UK-Aid-funded Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform (SPHEIR) programme ( SPHEIR is managed on behalf of FCDO by a consortium led by the British Council that includes PwC and Universities UK International. The TIDE project closed in May 2021.

The Challenge

TIDE project operated in Myanmar prior to the military coup of 01 February 2021. At the time, Myanmar was a nation in transition having faced multiple milestones and challenges. The country’s development had been accelerated, with increased economic growth and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Nevertheless, Myanmar continued to suffer from the effects of years of sanctions and low investment in critical educational infrastructure and ranked below regional partners in human development index measurements. The need for the HE sector to deliver relevant courses that reach students across the country with high quality education and the demand for skilled graduates to meet new employment needs, particularly in relation to the environmental management of Myanmar’s natural resources, was more critical than ever. However, the HE system in the country faced significant difficulties in producing graduates with the necessary skills required to meet the needs of employers and the economic needs of the country at the time.

The Approach

TIDE aimed to strengthen the HE sector in Myanmar, through delivering capacity building activities for academic and support staff at HEIs involved in distance education enabling better engagement with students through training in innovative pedagogy, use of educational technology, and development of Open Educational Resources (OER). This approach enabled educators to deliver improved learning outcomes to students, with a particular subject focus on Education for the Environment and Sustainable Development (EfESD). The project also supported the development and use of the growing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure in the HE sector through offering training on online education platforms and facilitating online courses designed to enhance digital literacy.

Our country still needs technology development and more advance communication for Distance Education, TIDE fills these needs.  TIDE Academic Participant, Yadanabon University.

Due to the TIDE project, we know about changes in teaching pedagogy. We also have more knowledge about the creation of online courses, teaching materials from OER, how to assess environmental impact, climate change, biodiversity and other technical knowledge.  Associate Professor, Bago University.

TIDE Collection

The TIDE collection of OER ( showcases both a programmatic approach to supporting learning in open and distance pedagogies as well as openly licensed materials created throughout the project. Additional materials were created when planned work could no longer take place, due to COVID-19 and following the military coup on 1 February 2021. The aim of the TIDE Collection is to provide a set of resources for both Myanmar colleagues and any other interested parties who may wish to support learners and institutions in developing distance learning through open educational practices. Materials are available on a range of Creative Commons licenses and feature original, localised, adapted and translated content.

The Collection includes:

  • Materials from the 2-year blended programme covering a range of topics including pedagogy, learning design, professional development, open education, environmental and sustainable development.
  • An openly available change management course.
  • A range of collaboratively created OER, including adaptations of existing OER from projects such as BizMOOC, OpenWASH and OU Digital literacy development aimed at both Myanmar educators and students.
  • A range of Master Trainer Programme resources including an adaptation of the Creative Commons Certificate for Librarians, which was co-created with Myanmar colleagues.

The TIDE project is a welcome second home for me in my 32-year journey in education.   Professor, Yangon University of Distance Education.

The Partners

The TIDE partnership was led by The Open University (UK), working with Yangon University (Myanmar), Yangon University of Distance Education (Myanmar), Yadanabon University (Myanmar), Irrawaddy Policy Exchange (UK), Oxford University (UK) and University of Manchester (UK).

TIDE Publications