Tragic Losses in Rakhine State, Matriculation Exam Participation Plummets

Myanmar Spring Chronicle: Tragic Losses in Rakhine State, Matriculation Exam Participation Plummets

MoeMaKa, March 13, 2024

In a heartbreaking turn of events, over 90 Rohingya individuals have lost their lives in the ongoing conflict in Rakhine State. The military council has instructed officials from Rohingya refugee camps in Sittwe to retrieve the bodies of those who perished in the Ah Ngu Maw Battle in Rathedaung Township. However, details surrounding their deaths remain undisclosed, leaving independent verification pending. Reports suggest that the military council has been recruiting soldiers from Rohingya camps since before the enforcement of the conscription law on February 10, with recruitment efforts intensifying thereafter.

The Rohingya, residing in isolated camps since the eruption of conflict violence in 2012, have been coerced into military activities, serving as combatants or human shields in the Rakhine State armed conflicts. Exploiting historical ethnic tensions, the military council aims to utilize Rohingya individuals as militia and combat soldiers against the Arakan Army (AA), an armed organization opposing the council.

Propaganda channels have circulated videos depicting Rohingya youths participating voluntarily in military training, attempting to portray their recruitment as consensual. However, underlying tensions and historical grievances threaten to exacerbate intercommunal conflicts beyond the current armed conflict, potentially resulting in further violence and instability in Rakhine State.

Meanwhile, the nation witnesses a stark decline in matriculation exam participation, with only over 140,000 candidates compared to the pre-coup figure of over 900,000 in 2020. This significant drop is attributed to political opposition to the military council and the ongoing armed conflict. Many students and teachers refuse to recognize the military regime, boycotting official examinations and opting for alternative educational institutions accredited by the National Unity Government (NUG) or other non-governmental organizations.

The educational landscape has been further disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been affecting the sector for four years now, necessitating preparations for prolonged disruptions.

As Myanmar grapples with escalating conflict and educational challenges, the plight of marginalized communities like the Rohingya underscores the urgent need for a peaceful resolution and inclusive governance.