Minn Khant Kyaw Linn, a member of Burma Academy online education
The Ministry of Education under the junta regime issued a directive to district education officers in Kayin State on 17 February about rules and regulations for private schools which are conducting western democratic culture in their curriculum.
The directive said that the course of western democracy culture and ‘undesirable subjects’ will be strictly prohibited after the private education law has been adopted.
Why did the junta ban teaching of democracy course? Will this prohibition also affect ethnic language-based schools and colleges, in addition to private schools?
The interview with Minn Khant Kyaw Linn, a member of Burma Academy online education, has answered for these questions.
TLT: What does the junta regime mean ‘western democracy culture’? Do they see politics and culture collectively? What do you reckon?
Min Khant Kyaw Linn: Like the course of morality and civics, the democratic countries also have their own version in these topics to explain mutual love and affection, the essence of democratic culture and human rights. However, the military junta use the prefix of ‘western’ for ‘democracy’ to disfigure the essence of democratic culture as they dislike western group where democracy is thought to have originated, while they are practicing fascism.
TLT: Why did the education ministry of junta regime issue this directive for private schools? Are they trying to control non-state schools?
Min Khant Kyaw Linn: They have been trying to influence private schools since some years ago. It was known that many private schools follow the guidelines of regimes because some of these schools are working with the education ministry, while some others like to stay away from the military as possible as they can. However, all the private schools are assumed to be under the control of government, they have tried to influence on these schools. They could not control the private schools in the past when people could make their objection freely. At present, the regime is trying to manage the schools in their controlled areas. It is a sign of education under the military oppression.
TLT: Does this move mean to hinder democracy and democratic institutions in the country? How do you think?
Min Khant Kyaw Linn: As I mentioned, the military dislike both western group and democracy, but in different ways. They hate democracy as they are fascists and they prefer authoritarianism. They see the development of democracy is a threat to them. And that they deliberately misinterpret ‘democracy’. On the other hand, they dislike western group because the latter does not support them. Although the military targets both democracy and western group, they just fear the schools where most of the student movements began in successive years. They (the military) assume that development of democratic spirit and knowledge among the students is a considerable threat to them.
TLT: Will the directive of junta regime also affect ethnic language-based schools and colleges?
Min Khant Kyaw Linn: The military’s oppressive education will surely affect these schools to a considerable extent. The schools which are not associated with the military and those in liberated areas are exempted from it. However, the schools which unavoidably work with the military will have serious effects. It is very risky for them. The military would possibly make arrests. Therefore, it is regarded as an oppressive directive.
We do not support education system under the military regime. We prefer civil disobedient movement of students. Private schools are advised to disassociate with the regime as much as possible.