Civil society groups have pledged not to rest until the government ensures the education system takes into account the language, history and culture of the ethnic minorities.
Among the education reforms badly needed in Myanmar’s long-neglected school system is a policy that enshrines federalism, members of the National Network for Education Reform – an NGO – said during an April 20 meeting in Kayin (Karen) State.
Dr Thein Lwin said the current education system is very centralized and does not allow for much state individualization.
“Myanmar’s education is poor. It needs to be uplifted and reformed. I want to urge teachers, students and parents from all areas to cooperate with us and lend their manpower and advice. I want to urge the government as well,” he said.
He added that educational reforms must include policy that reflects the needs of local residents. He urged CSOs, members of the public and education experts to contribute their thoughts on the redrafting of the education system’s blueprint.
A curriculum for the Karen area needs to teach local culture, history and customs, Dr Thein Lwin said. It should be taught in a three-language system that is based on the mother tongue, Karen, but also teaches Burmese, and English.
Over 70 representatives from various CSOs, political parties, monastic schools, student unions and private schools attended the recent discussion in Hpa-an led by the NNER and the Karen Civil Society Organization (KSCN), a civil society umbrella group made up of 70 organizations.
“An autonomous education system needs to be free from centralization. It must be an education system based on ethnic literature, traditions and culture. It is a system where the ethnic leader makes the decision and joins hands with the public. That’s why this discussion needs to have a common voice. We, the KSCN, will meet regularly with the Karen State government to lobby for this [process],” Sa Shine from the KSCN told KIC News.
Translated by Thida Linn
Edited by Laignee Barron