Importance of right policy for education in school season

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – May 31 Scenes

MoeMaKa, June 01, 2023

Importance of right policy for education in school season

Myanmar’s school opening season, the end of May and beginning of June, has arrived again for the third year after the military coup.

In the areas of the country controlled by the military council, the last week of May, which is the school enrollment season, has seen calls for enrollment and students enrolling, and according to data released by the military council, there are more than 6 million students who have enrolled. According to information reported in the news, during the school enrollment season under the NLD government before the outbreak of Covid-19 and the political crisis, there were more than 9 million.

There will be a numerical increase compared to the enrollment seasons of 2021 and 2022, the early years after the military coup. In 2021, due to the danger of the Covid-19 infection, the fear and the situation where vaccines could not be administered widely, there were more people who did not go to schools under the Ministry of Education of the military council than now. In 2022, schools were unable to open due to the Covid-19 disaster, and due to the military coup, students were not enrolled in school for a year. Thinking about how long the spring revolution will last, and when the speed of the Covid-19 disaster is slowing down, it can be concluded that the number of school enrollments has increased again this year.

Now, when the school opening season comes again in May 2023, the NUG Ministry of Education has again issued warnings not to submit to schools under the Military Council. According to the statement, “Students and parents are encouraged to stop being victims of the terrorist military council and resist by doing continuous education through home-based learning, learning in public schools, and various accessible methods so that the evil system of terrorist military dictatorship cannot continue and its downfall as soon as possible.”

NUG refers to 3 methods: home-based learning, community-based schools, and continuous learning through various accessible methods. In the case of home-based learning, it depends on the parent’s time for support, having sufficient knowledge about education, and being able to provide supporting items and technical support, so it is a situation that parents are rarely able to do.

In looking at another learning method, learning in public based schools, it is necessary to look into how the public based schools are opened, how to register, and if these are online schools, they will need a computer, internet, monthly expenses, and parental monitoring and assessment. Last year, there were also cases where some students registered for a public school but did not receive an acceptance letter and wasted a school year.

NUG’s Deputy Minister of Education also posted a post on her personal Facebook account explaining interim education and the non-recognition of NUG schools. She said that teachers are now being given TOT courses, and the efforts of teachers in public education schools and federal online schools will bear fruit, and they will be able to do it more widely after the revolution. It is also said that after the interim education, various schools and the students must accept the policy of the people’s government. She also encourages people to prioritize improving skills and knowledge rather than attending classes.

In principle, there is no general objection to this statement, but according to the current education situation in Myanmar, internationally related learning, and what is understood in the workplace, it is still difficult to follow this advanced education vision and practical application. It is not controversial in theory, but I see the need to realize that there are many difficulties in bringing it into practice.

Although it is true that the National Unity Government needs to stimulate political awareness, it is important not to politicize education too much. If politics and education are intertwined, and education is sacrificed for political gain, the impact of these policies and statements will affect tens of thousands of school-aged children. On the other hand, it is true that there are many areas where there are political and armed conflicts, and we must plan for the education of the children who live in those areas. However, compared to the situation where children cannot go to school in those areas, I think that the education of children in cities that can open schools and learn should not be restricted.

I think it is important not to violate the basic value that the right to education for every child and youth is a basic human right. On the other hand, even though armed conflicts are widespread everywhere, the right of children to get an education is the choice of their parents, and that choice must be respected. If there is a wrong idea about education, there is an obligation to clarify and correct it, and I see that education should not be given too much of a political color. Armed revolutions or ideological revolutions may not be over in a matter of months or even years, so what I want to say is that it is the responsibility of the government to guide the children who will grow up in those days to learn basic education, professional skills, etc. according to their age.