View All Photos

Yangon Adventist Seminary, present building

Photo courtesy of Southern Asia-Pacific Division Archives.

Yangon Adventist Seminary

By Lay Wah


Lay Wah, M.A. in education (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan), is currently the principal of Yangon Adventist Seminary and has worked as a teacher, as an Adventist volunteer to South Korea, as a project manager in Thailand, and for ADRA Myanmar. He is married to Mya Yee Win and has two sons.

First Published: January 29, 2020

Yangon Adventist Seminary (YAS) is a Christian institution owned and operated by Myanmar Union Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church since 1975. The school is located in Bahan Township, Yangon, Myanmar.1


In the 1950s, the Yangon Seventh-day Adventist church school was known as Miss Gifford School. It was named after Miss Lockie Gifford, a missionary teacher from the United States.

Church mission schools were nationalized in 1966, and children of Adventists attended state schools all over Myanmar for their education. Students were to attend school on Saturday, and examinations were also conducted on Saturdays. If Seventh-day Adventist children at public schools did not sit for examinations held on Saturday (Sabbath), this would result in failure of the examination, and the students were barred from moving up to the next level. Church leaders decided to provide education for Seventh-day Adventist children in the form of a Bible seminary. The Park Lane Junior Bible Seminary was established on June 9, 1975.2

The seminary was operated under the leadership of Yangon Attached District until 2013. On November 29, 2013, a church business session voted that the school would operate under the administration of the Myanmar Union Mission of Seventh-day Adventists.3

Development of the School

The Bible seminary started with 14 students, the children of church workers and lay members. The classroom was a single room located in the basement of a building.4 In 1978, a 24 x 36 ft. wooden building was constructed for the students to use as a classroom.5 Under the leadership of Yee Yee Shwe, the first principal of the school, the available space accommodated students up to grade 9. The name of the school was changed to Yangon Adventist Seminary in 1996.6

As the number of students enrolled increased year by year, the need arose for more space and the upgrading of grade levels. In 1998, the school board started planning for a bigger building for the school.7 In 2000, a two-story brick building, which could accommodate 150 students, was constructed.

Initially, the majority of students were Adventist children. From 2000 onward, non-Adventist parents learned of Adventist education services and enrolled their children, and YAS continued to grow in numbers. The classrooms were becoming more congested. According to the school statistical report for the 2017–2018 school year, the school had more than 630 students,8 with 28 percent of the student population being Adventist and 72 percent non-Adventist.9

Considering this as an opportunity for mission to the cities, and looking to create a center of influence, church leaders from the Southern Asia-Pacific Division and Myanmar Union Mission started planning for a bigger building to accommodate more students. With funding sources from a 13th Sabbath offering from the General Conference and from the Division, Union, and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), a six-story building was constructed.10 The building was completed on June 5, 2018.11

In 2019, 651 students were enrolled and 38 teachers employed at YAS.12

Yangon Adventist Seminary is accredited by the Accrediting Association of Seventh-day Adventist Schools, Colleges, and Universities (AAA), in Maryland, United States.13

Table: Growth of the student population at Yangon Adventist Seminary.


 School Year                  Male     Students  Female   Students  Total               

        Number of Teachers                       

2005-2006  92                 97   189                                 15
2006–2007 119 132 251                       15
2007–2008 153 138 291                       15
2008–2009 146 154 300                       18
2009–2010 162 163 325                       18
2010–2011 200 209 409                       20
2011–2012 213 247 460                       22
2012–2013 236 296 532                       24
2013–2014 291 297 588                       28
2014–2015 317 308 625                       29
2015–2016 311 313 624                       30
2016–2017 310 311 621                       33
2017–2018 314 319 633                       35

Principal List

Yee Yee Shwe, 1975–1985; Noreen Shwe, 1985–1990; Jonathan Zaw Weik, 1990–1991; Claudius Brown, 1991–2002; Saw Lay Wah, 2002–2005; Claudius Brown, 2005–2013; Dhay Htoo Sein, 2013–2016; Saw Lay Wah, 2016–


Burma Union Committee Minutes, 1978. Archives of the Myanmar Union Mission.

Myanmar Union Committee Minutes, 1996, 1998, 2013. Archives of the Myanmar Union Mission.

School Admission Record Book. Yangon Adventist Seminary, 2000.

School Bulletin. Yangon Adventist Seminary, 2000.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press, 2017.

YAS Statistical Report. Yangon Adventist Seminary, 2017, 2018.


  1. “Myanmar Union Mission: Institutions and/or Other Entities,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press, 2017), 431.

  2. School Bulletin (Yangon Adventist Seminary, 2000).

  3. Myanmar Union Committee Minutes, Action No. 2013, 155, Archives of the Myanmar Union Mission.

  4. School Admission Record Book (Yangon Adventist Seminary, 2000).

  5. Burma Union Committee Minutes, 1978, 67, Archives of the Myanmar Union Mission.

  6. YAS Statistical Report 2017 (Yangon Adventist Seminary, 2017).

  7. Myanmar Union Committee Minutes, Action No. 1996, 8, Archives of the Myanmar Union Mission.

  8. Myanmar Union Committee Minutes, Action No. 1998, 173, Archives of the Myanmar Union Mission.

  9. YAS Statistical Report 2017.

  10. Myanmar Union Committee Minutes, Action No. 2013–129, Archives of the Myanmar Union Mission.

  11. Contract agreement with the construction company, TM Engineering Company Limited, June 1, 2016 (Yangon Adventist Seminary records).

  12. YAS Statistical Report 2018 (Yangon Adventist Seminary, 2018).

  13. Adventist Accrediting Association Certificate issued on May 4, 2016 (Adventist Accrediting Association, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA).


Wah, Lay. "Yangon Adventist Seminary." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed May 24, 2023.

Wah, Lay. "Yangon Adventist Seminary." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access May 24, 2023,

Wah, Lay (2020, January 29). Yangon Adventist Seminary. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 24, 2023,