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Upper House passes Private School Bill allowing ethnic language classes

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The Burmese Upper House passed a Private School Bill on Wednesday, which could permit opening and operating middle schools and high schools, and the teaching of ethnic languages.

The bill, which passed unanimously, would allow ethnic groups to teach their language as an additional subject in private schools. It would require them to obtain approval from local education departments, said MPs who are familiar with the bill. The bill must now win approval in the Lower House.

The Burmese Parliament meets in Naypyitaw, the capital. Photo: Mizzima
The Private School Bill has eight chapters and 41 sections. According to the bill, private schools must teach their lessons in accord with the same curriculums and syllabuses laid down by the Ministry of Education, and they would be required to submit their lessons to the local Township Education Officer at least one-week in advance. The bill also requires that an assembly hall and sports ground be included in the private schools.

The bill does not allow opening and operating primary level schools in order to prevent the expansion of such schools, said Education Minister Dr. Mya Aye during deliberations on August 2.

Moreover, the bill bans foreign funding to the schools, and they must not be established and led by foreigners.

On behalf of the central government, the education minister introduced the bill on Wednesday, with instructions that, “Every private school must emphasize the non-disintegration of the Union, non-disintegration of the unity of the national races and the perpetuation of sovereignty.”

Violations of the law would carry a penalty of up to 3 years imprisonment and a 300,000 kyat (US$ 400) fine.

The bill will now be sent to the Lower House for deliberations. If passed by the Lower House, it will become law. The Education Ministry would then enact rules and detailed provisions and the law and rules would be published by the Parliament Bill Committee.

If the schools do not teach the same syllabuses and curriculum, they will not be covered under the Private School law. In addition, current boarding schools that are run as tuition classes must register as private schools in accordance with the new law, if it is approved.

MPs speculated that the ongoing sessions of the Lower House and Upper House would conclude at the end of this month.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 08 September 2011 22:46 )  

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