Yoma Strategic to invest $100m in Dulwich College Yangon

A new international school set to open in Yangon could receive up to US$100 million in financing from Yoma Strategic, an official from Dulwich College International said yesterday.

The school will operate across two linked campuses, taking over Pun Hlaing International School in Hlaing Tharyar township – which Dulwich College International already runs – and starting classes in 2017 at a facility under construction in Star City, Yoma’s large-scale residential development in Thanlyin.

“Today we mark the official opening of admissions for our Star City project,” said Dulwich College International CEO Christian Guertler.

“We will invest around $100 million into this school. We will cater to 500 to 800 students in the beginning, later up to 1400 students,” he said.

Yoma Strategic will be responsible for the investment, which will be made in phases. The company will start with an initial injection of more than $30 million, according to a press release, for a development period expected to last two years.

The school will be open to students aged 2 to 18 years old. Founding headmaster Daryl Orchard said the college will be selective, with admissions tests administered and English language ability a crucial criteria.

Competition is also high in the hiring market for teachers. Getting the best educators onboard means students will have to pay the price, according to Dulwich College International founder and executive chair Fraser White.

“The fees are going to be set largely by the international market. However, we have made a particular commitment here in Myanmar to develop a scholarship scheme so that the best students will be able to access the school,” he said.

This may not be enough for some, as many in Myanmar struggle to keep their children in government schools until graduation, let alone pay private tuition.

Mr Orchard said that in the future, the school’s population could shake out to a 60-40 ratio of international students to local Myanmar pupils.

“We offer a British independent school style of education, while at the same time recognising the importance of studying Myanmar language and culture,” he said in a statement.

This education could lead students to the world’s top universities, according to Mr White, who said 1 in 10 recent Dulwich College Beijing graduates were admitted to Ivy League institutions in the United States.

The school has faced some standard challenges building its school in Myanmar, including human resource and logistics constraints, along with “snakes in the building site”, said Mr White.

However, this isn’t the first time a Dulwich College has been established across the pond, and its Yangon venture is supported by leadership in the region.

Dulwich College Yangon will be the company’s 10th international school, with others already running in China, South Korea and Singapore. However, its entry into Myanmar may be particularly resonant considering the college’s ties to the country. U Tin Tut, the first foreign minister of an independent Myanmar – who was assassinated in 1948 – called Dulwich College his alma mater.

“It’s really a renewal of a relationship in Myanmar, because over 100 years ago, a very distinguished person in this country, U Tin Tut, was a pupil in Dulwich,” said Dulwich College Board of Governors chair Peter Riddell. “He played rugby there.”

Source: The Myanmar Times

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