Karenni Teachers Oppose Govt Extension of Academic Year

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Teachers in Karenni State said that if the government goes ahead with a plan to extend the Burmese public school year from the end of February until the end of March, they will face difficulties in managing their duties.

During a meeting in a high school on January 2 in neighboring Pyinmana Township—in Naypyidaw—Union education minister Myo Thein Gyi said that the objective of extending the academic year was to better accommodate parents and students.

“I think teachers will face difficulties in the management of their schedules,” a school teacher told Kantarawaddy Times on condition of anonymity, referring to the balance of teaching duties with matriculation exams typically delivered in March, once their classes have ended. “For example, a middle school teacher who has to work as an examiner for the high school examination—how can she manage her fifth or eighth standard classroom? We will have many difficulties. But we will have to do it.”

Myo Hlaing Win, chairperson of the Karenni State Students Union (KSSU), said that the government should discuss major issues with teachers throughout the country before making decisions like this one.

“The education ministry should consult with schoolteachers in regions and states. They should take advice from schoolteachers who are really working on the ground level. The education ministry set up this kind of policy without consultation with schoolteachers. Therefore, schoolteachers will face many difficulties on the ground level,” Myo Hlaing Win told Kantarawaddy Times.

KSSU released a statement on January 10, supporting what is known as the “green ribbon movement,” or calls launched by students from education colleges universities opposing the extension of the school year on the grounds that it limits teachers’ opportunities and creates unnecessary hardship.

The All Burma Schoolteachers League released a statement on January 5, declaring that teachers will not assist with the 2020 election in Burma if the government does not reconsider its extension of the academic year.

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