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Fourth NLD charity school opens in Pegu Region

New Delhi (Mizzima) – A township branch of the National League for Democracy (NLD) has opened a free school for poor high school students in Taungoo in Pegu Region.

Students at Mom's Home, a free elementary school in Hlaingtharyar Township in Rangoon, sponsored by the NLD. Photo: MizzimaThe school, which opened on Monday, was organized by NLD members, local residents and teachers as part of the NLD social network program which is reaching out to rural areas.

‘In our township, there are many poor students who cannot attend the government school or who cannot afford to pay for extra private tuition. So, we talked with retired teachers, private donors and area residents to open the free school’, Aung Soe Myint, a member of the NLD Tauugoo Township branch told Mizzima.

Currently, the classes are held in the party’s office in Aung Soe Myint’s home in Aungmingalar Ward.

Eight retired teachers have volunteered to work and more than 90 students in grade 9 and nearly 50 in grade 10 have registered to attend.

The students will study the syllabus of the government high school from Monday through Friday, and on weekends, they will study  English. Later, the project will try to help outstanding students to attend an international school in Rangoon.

In Taungoo, many students rely on private tuition to obtain a better education but many parents cannot afford to pay, according to Aung Soe Myint. 

‘Many teachers in government school shirk their responsibilities because they want the students to come to their private tutoring sessions’, he said. ‘Although I can understand their financial problems, they really overdo this business. So, if a student cannot afford to take private tutoring, they might have trouble passing the exams’, he said. The Ward Administration Office asked about the free school, but it has not created any obstacles, he said.

Residents donated chairs, fluorescent lights, electrical power inverters and batteries. To take more students, the school needs more classrooms.

In Rangoon, the total private tuition fee for a grade 10 student is about US $1,200 per  year, said the mother of a student.

The NLD says it is trying to open more free schools with the help of its young activists’ social network.

‘During the military dictatorship, children did not receive good education and could not access a good health care system. Parents could not afford to pay the children’s tuition fees. On the other hand, there are many young people who want to volunteer in free charity schools, so with the help of the social network, we can open schools’, said Ohn Kyaing, a spokesman in Rangoon.

Currently, free schools run by local NLD branches include Mom’s Home school in Hlaingtharyar Township, the Baydar school in Sanchaung Township in Rangoon and the Myat Mikhin school in Sittwe in Arkan State.

The Baydar school provide courses in social relationships, world affairs, South East Asian Studies and basic English. Mom’s Home is a free elementary school that also provides a basic English course.

The national budget allocated to education is 4.57 percent; the military affairs budget is 30 percent. There are an estimated 410,000 schools and 8 million students in Burma, according to the Education Ministry.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 May 2011 15:13 )  

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