Parents protest schools making money from selling university entrance forms

Parents of high school graduates in Three Pagoda Pass Town in Kyain Seikgyi Township, Karen State allege the headmistress of the school is demanding excessive fees for the university entrance exam application form.

A parent of a high school graduate, said the going rate in Kyain Seikgyi Township is 2,500kyat a student, Daw Khin Hla Wai, the headmistress of Three Pagoda Pass High School No. 1, is asking for around 7,000 kyat.

“Every business in our town has had a hard time this year. It is not easy to work and earn enough. It is hard for us to pay the high fees. We can’t raise that amount of money easily.”

Announcements in the state run media says university entrance exam application forms can be submitted from September 6 to 28 – the Three Pagodas Pass Town No. 1 High School’s headmistress, Daw Khin Hla Wai, has said every student must submit their application form and pay the fee within three days, from September 20 to 23.

Daw Ma Thein, the mother of a high school graduate told Karen News that the associated costs for her children’s education is getting beyond their means.

“For us, it hasn’t been easy. We have to rent our house. We have three kids that are at school now. We have our daily living expenses. We have to pay for their monthly tuition fees and other fees that are collected by the school.”

According to the Town’s residents, the headmistress will submit the application form, including student photos and household registration documents at the township education office in Kyain Seikgyi Town. There is only one high school this year, but there are over 70 graduates applying to take the university entrance exam.

Parents who can’t afford to pay the increased amounts for the university forms are getting together to negotiate with the school headmistress in an effort to reduce the fees. The Three Pagoda Pass Town is situated on the Thai-Burma border.

The government’s Ministry of Education set the rate of 2,500kyat for the university entrance exam application form, but different school in different areas have set higher rates. Parent’s estimate that if they include various donations the fee could be as high as 10,000kyat.

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