The Private Education Law, signed by junta chief Min Aung Hlaing and issued on 12 May, specified the need of official approval for curricula and appointment of teachers. The law includes 16 chapters and 82 sections. The supervisory team for this law is responsible for rannking private schools, application of teacher certificate, registration of foreign teachers, extension of their registration and termination or rejecting the registration.
This interview with Teacher Naung Cho, the member of Basic Education Workers Union, is about the reason of this law and its possible impacts on rights to education.
TLT: What is your view on Private Education Law of the military council?
Naung Cho: I have read this law. It specifies the terms of private education, private school, founder of private school, and ministries concerned. I understood the provisions in this law are centralized from above. The whole rights to education are controlled by the ministry concerned. So, this law is created with outdated policies.
TLT: How will this law impact the education sector, and what will be the situations of education sector in Myanmar?
Naung Cho: Education should not be controlled by a single organization. Education sector should meet human rights norms. It is not a property of a single organization or elite groups. Education must be liberal and all-inclusive.
The Federal Democracy Education Policy, recently adopted by the National Unity Consultative Council, includes nine chapters. We believe in this policy. The private education law is the junta will lead to the lack of freedom for education and democracy. Education should be a small environment of democracy. Education policies with tight controls will turn into military-influenced education and the highly centralized education.
TLT: The military council’s education law describes the need of their approval on curricula. What is your opinion on this?
Naung Cho: It flagrantly violates freedom of education. The need of their approval on curricula is a move to control ethnic education system. Federal curricula must include lessons based on ethnic languages. However, the military council illogically control it. As a result, there would be a major dispute on education sector between the ethnic people and the military council. Students under the education of junta regime would not have a good future. They would not get access to freedom of thought in education. We have deeply concerned about it.
TLT: Why did the military council create the private education law?
Naung Cho: Dictatorship regimes have two types of thinking on education— to develop schools which are the pillars of their regimes and to prevent opposition schools against their system by following freedom of education, democratic norms and human rights. Newly adopted education laws and policies are intended to generate their supporters for lasting their dictatorship, and to prevent opposition schools.
TLT: What is your concluding remark on this Private Education Law?
Naung Cho: It is an education law based on conservative polices with highly centralization. Neither private schools or state-owned schools under the military regime will have access to democratic education or federal education. Democratic and federal knowledge will disappear from the schools in Myanmar.