Rangoon Karen Community Angry, As Official Permission to Teach Its Language in Government Schools Denied

Karen Literacy and Cultural Committee members in the Rangoon Region are disappointed over the lack of official permission to allow the ethnic group to teach its language in government schools.

Teaching of ethnic languages in government’s schools now is allowed outside of the official curriculum, but ethnic nationalities pushed to have their languages taught officially in government schools.

A general agreed concept is that ethnic language could be taught during official teaching hours in government’s school where the majority are ethnic students. The Karen community point out that other ethnic groups are already teaching their respective languages at government schools.

Schools with a majority of Karen students in the Rangoon region are still fighting to get official permission from the local education department.

Saw Htay Htay Tun, the secretary of the Hmawbi Township’s Karen Literacy and Cultural Committee said that they had since December, 2014 requested permission and are still waiting for a response from the government.

Speaking to Karen News, Saw Htay Htay Aung said.

“There are 29 Karen Schools in Hmawbi Township. We met with officials of the respective schools and made a students list. We submitted it to the minister for Karen Affairs and copied it to the No.3 Basic Education Department on the 14th of December 2014. But whenever we ask the township level officials, we were told there has been no reply received. We are disappointed.”

The Rangoon region Karen Literacy and Cultural Committee said that it trained 82 teachers and Karen language textbooks have been copied to give to students as soon as permission is given.

Saw Maung Htoo, the chairman of the Karen Literacy and Cultural Committee in Htantabin Township said that they had already trained Karen language teachers in coordination with other neighboring townships, but teaching could not start as they are also waiting for official permission.

The Karen Literacy and Cultural Committee, Hlegu Township has stopped its preparation activities as they cannot move forward until permission is received.

Saw Tun Aung Myint, chairman of the Rangoon regional committee and the Minster of Karen Affairs for the Rangoon region said the issue will again be on the agenda of the township committee in this March.

The Karen Literacy and Cultural Committee sources said that at present the Karen language is being taught outside of official school hours and Karen students are having difficulty attending as they have to help their parents’ business after school.

The last meeting of the Karen Literacy and Cultural Committee was joined by more than 200 committee members from Kawthmu, Kunchangone, Tunte, Taitgyi, Htandabin, Hlaing Tharyar Shwe Pyithar and Hlegu Township. The Rangoon region Karen Literacy and Cultural Committee was formed in 2014 with the regional Karen affairs minister as the chairman, Saw Hla Tun as the vice chairman and Mann Poe Saw as the secretary of the regional committee.

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