Central Myanmar Adventist Seminary (formerly Mountain View Academy, or “Khone Myint Tha Academy”) is the only Adventist secondary educational institution in the territory of Central Myanmar Mission, located on Thang Daung Road in Taungngu. At present, the school offers education from kindergarten to standard 10 and grades 11 and 12. Central Myanmar Adventist Seminary was established because of the challenge the Adventist Church faced in Central Myanmar when the Kyauk Taing Adventist High School was nationalized by the socialist Burma government in 1965. Church leaders began looking for a place to reestablish a church-owned school.
History of the School
In 1977, Burma Union gave approval to Central Burma Section to buy land for a junior Bible seminary.1 Thus, Pastor Moses Po, mission leader, purchased land from a local villager. The Burma Union officers and Central Myanmar Mission officers visited the land and decided it suitable to establish a junior Bible seminary. The union committee members intended to establish the institution in 1978 as Burma Union Bible Seminary.2
Burma Union Mission authorized the operation of the junior Bible seminary at Tar Byay on March 6, 1978.3 Central Burma Section appointed E Han as its first principal, Aung Shein as cafeteria manager, Mya San as preceptor, and Salome Tin as preceptress. They also served as teachers.4 The seminary was established and dedicated on June 8, 1978, on Thang Daung Road near Tar Byay Village in Taungngu. The Central Burma Section executive committee voted for the school to be named Mountain View Academy, or “Khone Myint Tha Academy” in Burmese. The school began offering only standards 5 to 8. There were 40 students at that time.5
From 1983-1992, during Moses Po’s term and up to Kyaw Ba Lay’s term as principals, the school operated as a trade school. The school offered courses like sewing and carpentry to students who could not study in government or mission schools.6
Pastor Moses Po bought certain plots of land from different people in the village to expand the school. He bought three plots of land from Ma Pyo for 130 kyats, a piece of land from Maung Gyi for 500 kyats, and a piece of land from Khin Maung for 150 kyats.7 Only one main school building, student dormitories, and six staff housing existed at the beginning. Later, the school’s administration expanded the school’s operation, offering additional standards. The school now offered kindergarten to standard 10. In 2001, with committee approval, Principal Timothy Muna Paul introduced grade 11.8 Myanmar Union’s education committee voted to upgrade the school’s operation, introducing grade 12 on May 25, 2005, during Alvin Po Po Hla’s term as principal.9
Hardships in the School’s Early Years
The school was caught in a wildfire and burned down in 1985. The church suffered a great loss as the school’s main building and two staff homes were totally reduced to ashes.10 The school building and staff houses were rebuilt during Principal Kyaw Zan’s term. A new chapel hall was built on top of a hill during Pastor Montana Paul’s term as principal. A rubber tree plantation was started in 1997 during Pastor Bo Than’s term as principal.11 In 2001, during Timothy Muna Paul’s term as principal, 10 acres of the school’s land were sold to Herbert Sein, who established Bethel Orphanage.
The school experienced significant hardships since its establishment. The place they had selected to build the school was underdeveloped, very remote, and infested with malaria. However, the school’s establishment proved to be a great blessing and opened opportunities for local villagers and church members alike. Later, malaria was totally eradicated, and many new developments took place over the years. Year after year, developments in different sectors and categories became evident thanks to donations of well-wishers, church leaders, staff, and students.
The school humbly began with buildings that had thatched roofs, bamboo walls, and bamboo and timber pillars in a malaria-infested jungle campus, which made many parents hesitant to send their children to study there. With God’s intervention, the school and its campus became well-established and developed with the help of many donors like Elder Garwin McNeilus from the United States; a “Fly and Build” team led by Pastor Wolfgang Jenke from Australia; friends from countries like the Republic of Korea, England, and Canada; and many other organizations such as Advocates for Southeast Asians and the Persecuted, Adventist Development and Relief Agency, Myanmar Heart Development Organization, and Asian Aid USA.12
New School Campus
The campus development began in 2002, and the school’s new era was launched.13 During Timothy Muna Paul’s term as principal, Elder McNeilus pledged his commitment to build a new school building, cafeteria, staff housing, student dormitories, water reservoir, campus sidewalks, toilet blocks, and storage building as well as provide a transformer and light posts. Pastor Memory Tun, president of Myanmar Union, Pastor Yan Aye, president of Myanmar Union Adventist Seminary, and Pastor Kyaw Sein, retired church pastor, assisted to start and complete all the construction work during Alvin Po Po Hla’s term as school principal. A new 200kv transformer to provide better electricity to the campus was installed in 2009 during Pastor Van Ceu Mang’s term as principal.14
From 2013-2016, more developments took place when Pastor Wolfgang Jenke’s “Fly and Build” team constructed three toilet blocks, a water reservoir, and a campus driveway and renovated the roof of the campus chapel hall. As the construction team worked, an evangelistic campaign was conducted. As a result, many new believers joined the church. In 2017, during Tin Maung Kyi’s term as principal, a training center and kitchen were constructed.
Mountain View Academy was renamed Central Myanmar Adventist Seminary on May 21, 1996. The school was visited and evaluated by a team from the Adventist Accrediting Association led by the Southern Asia-Pacific Division’s education director to grant accreditation for a three-year period. Members of the team included Dr. Mike M. Lekic, Dr. Oliver Kok, Dr. Gladden O. Flores, and Dr. Lawrence L. Domingo, and their visit resulted in granting permission for the school to offer lower- and higher-level standards (kindergarten to standard 10) and grades 11 and 12. This accomplishment has been a great blessing for students and parents as local and poor students can continue studying at a local institution. This results in financial savings as students do not have to study far from home or abroad.
Central Myanmar Adventist Seminary has produced God-fearing church leaders, businessmen, and community leaders. Pastor Samuel Paul, president of Southern Asia-Pacific Division, and many other church leaders in Myanmar Union Mission are graduates of Central Myanmar Adventist Seminary. Successful businessmen and influential community leaders are also products of the school. Former students and graduates have settled in the country as well as abroad, thus, Central Myanmar Adventist Seminary is internationally known and supported financially.
Issues and Challenges
Central Myanmar Adventist Seminary’s administration and staff are dedicated to educating students and assisting them to develop spiritually, mentally, socially, and physically. However, a lack of instructional aids, insufficient classrooms, and inadequate library holdings negatively impact the quality of education the school could provide, preventing it from reaching its full potential. Thus, it educates with what is available. School faculty and staff, to the best of their knowledge and experience, work with students toward reaching the school’s mission.
List of Principals
E Han (1978-1979); Moses Po (1979-1984); Chit Sein (1984-1985); Kyaw Zan (1985-1989); Kyaw Ba Lay (1989-1992); Doe Doe Chit (1992-1993); Montana Paul (1993-1996); Bo Than (1997-2001); Timothy Muna Paul (2001-2003); Alvin Po Po Hla (2003-2007); Van Ceu Mang (2007-2011); Alvin Po Po Hla (2011-2015); Tin Maung Kyi (2016- )15
Central Myanmar Adventist Seminary School Board minutes, 2009. Central Myanmar Mission Archives, Taungngu, Myanmar.
Central Myanmar Mission Committee minutes, 1977-2005. Myanmar Union Mission Archives, Dagon, Myanmar.
Myanmar Union Mission Education Committee minutes, 1996. Myanmar Union Mission Archives, Dagon, Myanmar.
Myanmar Union Mission Education Committee minutes, 2005. Myanmar Union Mission Archives, Dagon, Myanmar.
Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press, 2017.
Workers Service Records: Far Eastern Division. Central Myanmar Mission Archives, Taungngu, Myanmar.
Central Myanmar Mission Committee, June 1977, 77:51. Myanmar Union Mission Archives, Dagon, Myanmar.↩
Central Myanmar Mission Committee, January 5, 1978, 78:4. Myanmar Union Mission Archives, Dagon, Myanmar.↩
Central Myanmar Mission Committee, August 1977, 77:70. Myanmar Union Mission Archives, Dagon, Myanmar.↩
Central Myanmar Mission Committee, March 1978, 78:16. Myanmar Union Mission Archives, Dagon, Myanmar.↩
Central Myanmar Mission Committee, January 1984, 84:1. Myanmar Union Mission Archives, Dagon, Myanmar.↩
Central Myanmar Mission Committee, January 1984, 84:5. Myanmar Union Mission Archives, Dagon, Myanmar.↩
Central Myanmar Mission Committee, June 1978, 78:25. Myanmar Union Mission Archives, Dagon, Myanmar.↩
Myanmar Union Mission Education Committee, January 1996, 96:08. Myanmar Union Mission Archives, Dagon, Myanmar.↩
Myanmar Union Mission Education Committee, January 2005, 05:02. Myanmar Union Mission Archives, Dagon, Myanmar.↩
Pastor Herbert Sein and Pricilla Sein, interview with author, Taungngu, 2017.↩
Pastor Saw Andrew Tin, interview with author, Taungngu, 2018.↩
Pastor Timothy Muna Paul, interview with author, Yangon, 2018.↩
Pastor Alvin Po Po Hla, interview with author, Taungngu, 2018.↩
Central Myanmar Adventist Seminary School Board, April 2009, 09:03. Central Myanmar Mission Archives, Taungngu, Myanmar.↩
Workers Service Record: Far Eastern Division. Central Myanmar Mission Archives, Taungngu, Myanmar.↩