Monday, 18 November 2019

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Private schools shifted under Ministry of Education

New Delhi (Mizzima) – For the first time, the Burmese ministry of Education has allowed a school in Rangoon to operate as a private school on November 9, a Deputy Director of the Basic Education Department said.

The ACA Boarding School in North Okkalapa Township of Rangoon has been given permission to run as a private school to be recognized by Ministry of Education.

“The permission was given verbally. We were invited on October 29 to come to their office and were met with the Minister and Rangoon Regional Command Commander. We were told at the meeting that ACA is to be allowed as a private school starting from November 9,” the Deputy Director, who request anonymity, told Mizzima.

Students from ACA boarding school, which has students from the 5th to 10th Grades, have to attend enrolled at a regular government school and are thought subjects on extra-time.

While the new permission puts the ACA under the direct control of the ministry of education from the township municipal, students still have to attend the government day-school. But the classrooms of the ACA are required to renovate.

Currently the private education service providers are operating with the license from either the Economics and Commerce Ministry or Municipal bodies, not directly with permission from the Education Ministry.

“The Ministry of Education gives license only to part time tuition classes without boarding. These private tuition classes are being run by individuals who are not employees of the ministry,” the deputy director said.

Boarding schools that has over 1,000 students such as the popular ‘Soe San’ boarding home in Central Burma’s Pyin Oo Lwin, are running with the license issued by the Economics and Commerce Ministry.

But smaller boarding homes, that has about 60 to 80 students are running with the license issued by their respective municipal bodies under the Guest Houses Act,  the Deputy Director added.

The new permission, however, is not similar to the former private schools in Burma, which had autonomy in choosing their own curriculums and syllabuses, and holding promotion examinations independently only with the exception of standard 8 and 10, which are directly conducted by the central education board.

“I enquired in the ACA for enrolment in their school for my child. I have to pay for a whole academic year in advance and they will enrol my child at the nearby government school. They will be taught in this school with the government curriculum. The 10th Grade students have to sit for the government board examination and for the rest of the grades, the students will have to sit for promotion exams from this school,” a parent in Rangoon told Mizzima.

Following the military coup on March 2, 1962, Newin’s Burma’s Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) regime declared nationalisation of all private schools in 1964 as part of his new socialist system, erasing all private schools.

The first Private School in Burma was established in 1920, after Rangoon University students demanded for ‘National School’ from the British colonial rulers.

A retired Township Education Officer, who had her education from the former Private Schools, told Mizzima that the new order does not change anything but said she would like to see private schools running similarly as the old days before the BSPP regime ruled.

“We welcome private schools as I attended such a school in 1958. These schools were disciplined, competent with other schools and had good results in the exams. We did not need to attend other coaching or tuition classes. They taught us well and there was no discrimination in the school,” she added.

In the last stages of colonialism and in early independent era, Burma had one of the best education systems in Southeast Asia, with Rangoon University directly affiliated with the Calcutta University.

Private Schools, including catholic convents, were popular for their discipline, and proper teachings that produces outstanding students.

Following the fall of the BSPP regime in 1988 after student-led pro-democracy uprising, boarding schools such as the ACA have become popular. And the number of boarding schools has increased to more than hundreds.

Similarly, private schools affiliated to international schools such as the International Language and Business Centre (ILBC) and Yangon International Education Centre (YIEC) are also booming and have now numbered about 30.

However, the Burmese military government have not granted recognition to these private schools.

The ACA charges Kyat 2 million (US $ 2,000 approximately) for a whole academic year for a 5th Grader, and Kyat 2.5 million for a 9th Grader and Kyat 3 million for a 10th Grader.

Reports suggest that like the ACA, the ‘Sar Pan Ein’ in Pyin Oo Lwin and the Naypyitaw branch of ‘Soe San’ boarding schools were also permitted to run as private schools.


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