A move by the Burmese government to send teachers to Karen National Union controlled areas has created tensions with villagers.
Saw Mu Htee, from the Karen Teacher Working Group (KTWG) who is visiting Karen schools in the Pa-an district spoke to Karen News.
“In 2013, Burmese government sent more government teachers to Karen villages and order local educational authorities. Parents and the village education responsible authority were not informed. The government put in place the government’s teaching system [without consultation] and ordered the school to fly the Burma flag.”
KTWG is a Karen non-government organization (NGO) that provides Karen teacher training and educational assistance to villages in eastern Burma, specifically Karen State.
Many schools in KNU controlled areas use the Karen Education Department curriculum while those Karen schools in government controlled areas use the Burmese government curriculum. The government’s deployment of its teachers happened after its cease-fire with the KNU.
Saw Mu Htee cited the villagers’ complaints to Karen News.
“The villagers said at first the government told them they only had to provide accommodation for its teachers. But when the teachers arrived villagers had to provide them with food and transportation – it made it difficult for villagers. The villagers complained that as the teachers are Burmese and were from other places it was difficult for them live like the villagers. Villagers said as government teachers are not like local teachers, it is difficult to take care of them.”
Saw Mu Htee said the arrival of the government teachers had created conflict and arguments among villagers.
“Villagers are suspicious of them. It is very difficult for villagers to accept or reject the government. They are afraid that if they reject or do not follow the government’s decisions action will be taken against them.”
There are 119 schools applying the Karen Education Department teaching system in the Pa-an district. Some of these schools are in KNU controlled areas while some are in the mixed administration controlled by the KNU and Burmese government.