Villagers Struggle to Pay Teachers’ Salaries

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By NAW DWAY EH KHU / KANTARAWADDY TIMES

Residents of the Karenni (Kayah) village of Law Palyr Lae, where there is no official government school, say they can’t afford to pay the teachers at a private school established for local children two years ago.

“We have to save some money for the teachers’ salaries. Some families here are poor, so they have to work hard to pay the teachers,” Mee Reh, a resident of Law Palyr Lae, told Kantarawaddy Times.

The private school has been operating with the permission of the manager of the Hpruso Township education department. It was jointly built by village residents and the Local Development Network, a nongovernmental organization.The school has four grade-1 students and three grade-2 students. Its two volunteer teachers, who also work with the Kayan New Generation Youth (KNGY), say they sometimes have difficulty communicating.

“I am Kayan. I come from Demawso. Our students don’t understand Burmese, and I cannot speak Kayah, so there is a language barrier between us. Now our language skills are improving. My students can speak a little Burmese now and I can speak a bit of Kayah. Our teaching and learning are much improved now,” Eldy Paw, one of the school’s teachers, told Kantarawaddy Times.

There is a government-run school in the area, but the young students from Law Palyr Lae found it difficult to travel there every day, so their parents decided to set up a school in their village.The education department says that the government can only open schools in areas that have a sufficient number of school-age children.

However, Law Palyr Lae does not meet that requirement, according to a state parliamentarian.

“If we could run a government school there, it would be better for the village. I have reported to the government about it, but according to official policy, the government cannot run a public school in the village,” Thae Reh, a state MP for for Hpruso Township’s constituency-1, told Kantarawaddy Times.

Currently, private donors are helping to provide the salaries of the school’s teachers for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year because villagers cannot afford to pay it.

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