Teaching Karen Gets Govt Green Light

The regional government of Tanintharyi in Southern Burma has given the go-ahead to the Karen National Union (KNU) to allow Karen villages to teach their language and wear traditional dress at school.

Following a meeting in Dawei Town on November 8 with KNU leaders, the Tanintharyi Government ministers granted permission for Karen schools to teach their language.

P’doh Saw Beeler, the KNU Mergui-Tavoy District chairman told Karen News.

“We talked with the Tanintharyi chief-minister and ministers agreed that it is okay as long as there are no negative impacts on the normal school curriculum. To implement it we need to talk to the local Karen schools and find the best way to teach Karen in our schools.”

The official meeting between the KNU Mergui-Tavoy District and Tanintharyi government is the first time since the KNU peace talks began in 2012.

P’doh Saw Beeler said it was a positive step as many villagers were scared that if they ‘unofficially’ taught Karen it would cause negative repercussions.

“Some Karen villages feared that if they taught Karen and the government authority found out that action would be taken against them. Now we can inform villagers that they can teach the Karen language in the schools without fear.”

P’doh Saw Beeler said the KNU also raised the issue of village schools being allowed to fly the Karen flag.

“The regional government said could not give us an agreement on the flag as there is only one country flag and the school is a government school. The chief-minister said that there was no problem raising the Karen flag in residental homes, in the village and on occasional activities.

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