While over 6 million children were enrolled in schools for 2023-2024 academic years under the military, million of their peers have lost their access to education in the conflict-torn areas, mostly in Sagaing, Magway and Kayah.
This interview with a CDM female teacher is about difficult access to education and challenges of school children in the conflict-affected Sagaing region.
TLT: Could you talk about access to education of school children in Sagaing region?
Teacher: Basic education students can learn well, while the military cannot run their schools here, including state high schools in cities. We tried for the children not to lose their rights to education. When we followed directives of National Unity Government, these children are attending classes suitable of their age. Their ages were one year above the level of respective classes due to Covid-19 pandemic. We could not start education at the early stage of this revolution. So, the ages of children were two years above their classes. It means that they have lost rights to education for two years. After our harmonious efforts, we could start the classes suitable for their ages. Most of children are attending the schools under the interim education of NUG, and some other are taking part in armed struggles.
We held a workshop on implementing future education plans for CDM students and our revolutionary forces who have no access to education. We have adopted plans to create education opportunities. About 99 percent of school children in Sagaing and Magway regions have access to education now thanks to CDM teachers at the schools of interim education.
TLT: Which classes have been opened now?
Teacher: We have opened primary, middle and high school classes, including Grade 12 now. Grade 11 exam under old matriculation system has been held under the management of NUG. We are now teaching children for Grade-12 class for high school level. So, we are teaching K-G to G-12.
TLT: What are the challenges of these children?
Teacher: When the military conducted offensive, we have to escape from schools although the area is not under their control. The schools are owned by the public. However, when public schools were opened, the military inhumanely bombed over and burnt schools of innocent children. Some schools were destroyed. The military set fire to all buildings including schools. Children lost their education facilities. It did not upset us. We can teach and learn under trees and in other public buildings although we have no enough classroom facilities such as desks. We can overcome such difficulties. As we have no printing machines in our region, the cost for printings has risen. When books were brought into our area, the military burned the books. Our serious difficulty is the requirement of printing.
TLT: What is your concluding remark in this interview?
Teacher: The military made forced enrollment to school in Kenni Township. It is the order to learn from non-CDM teachers who cannot distinguish the right and the wrong. Locals are not willing to attend their schools, and are now facing these difficulties. Parents who do not want their children to attend the military’s schools and expect them to join NUG schools are advised to join us for collaboration and to solve these problems together. Keep in touch with us.