Myanmar school reopening order resisted

Myanmar school reopening order resisted

Many protesting teachers and students say they won't return, parallel government proposes remote learning

Students take part in a protest against the Myanmar military regime in Hpakant in Kachin state on May 5. (Handout Photo from Kachinwaves via AFP)
Students take part in a protest against the Myanmar military regime in Hpakant in Kachin state on May 5. (Handout Photo from Kachinwaves via AFP)

Myanmar’s military government says it aims to reopen public schools on June 1 but many teachers and students have said they will refuse to return, in protest against the junta that seized power in a Feb 1 coup.

Catering to students rejecting schools supervised by the junta, the parallel government launched by pro-democracy forces in Myanmar says it is trying to establish an education system that enables them to learn from home.

A number of teachers and others engaged in education have joined the civil disobedience movement to boycott work, as a protest against the junta. But the junta has called on them to return to work or face dismissal, maintaining its hard-line stance against protesters.

The academic year in Myanmar starts on June 1. But public schools in the country have been closed for more than a year since the ousted government led by Aung San Suu Kyi decided not to open the schools in June last year as coronavirus infections were surging.

While the junta plans to reopen public schools amid efforts to normalise the country, some 10,000 teachers and others engaged in education, which account for 60% of the total, are refusing to go back, according to teachers’ unions in the country.

One teacher said he does not mind losing his job by boycotting work from June 1.

“I will keep on joining the civil disobedience movement until we win against the junta,” he said.

A female junior high school student expressed anger toward the junta, saying, “How can we go to school under the military government that has killed hundreds of people and continued firing (at protesters)?”

Aiming to provide education to such students, officials of the National Unity Government are discussing what kind of educational systems are needed at this time.

Ja Htoi Pan, deputy education minister of the NUG, told local media that the parallel government is planning to authorise studying at home as a formal educational course.

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