Govt Schools Start To Teach Karen Language in Pago Division

Thousands of Karen students from as many as 370 schools in Pago [Pegu] Division can now officially learn their mother tongue.

Saw Jubilee San Hla, the Minister of Karen Ethnic Affairs in Pago Division told Karen News that the teaching of the ethnic S’gaw Karen language would be taught in all government’s primary schools in the Pago Division in the 2014-2015 school year.

“The number of Karen students is more than 40,000 in approximately 370 schools in the Pago Division. We have arranged for them to be taught the Karen language. Teaching materials and textbooks have also been distributed. Some schools in some Townships will arrange to find teachers but for other we will have to arrange to find the teachers for them.”

Minister Saw Jubilee San Hla explained that Karen Culture and Literacy Committees had been set-up in 15 Townships in the western and eastern part of Pago division to support the teaching of Karen language at the schools.

The committee has provided refresher courses for teachers in Nyaunglebin, Kyaukgyi, Shwegyin Townships and schoolteachers from Htantabin and Kawa have completed the upgrading courses successfully. Minister Saw Jubilee San Hla said refresher courses would be provided in an ongoing basis according to needs.

The teaching of Karen language in primary schools is only applied to schools that have Karen students in the majority.

Saw Sha Mwe La, a member of the Karen Culture and Literacy Committee, Letpandan Township told Karen News that the program would be discussed at a later date on how to proceed in order to teach Karen language at schools were Karen students were in the minority.

Speaking to Karen News, Saw Sha Mwe La explained.

“There are ethnic Karen students studying in more than 30 schools in Letpandan Township in western Pago division. However, the Karen language will only be taught at 11 schools that have a majority of Karen students. Some of the schoolteachers who graduated from the Bible School with strong Karen literacy skills are assigned to teach. This assignment has been approved by the District Education Department officials.”

The government only officially started to provide financial support to schoolteachers, after 26 schools in Nyaunglebin Township self-funded the teaching of the ethnic Karen language to more than 1,200 students in the previous 2013-2014 academic year.

This program was initiated through collaboration with the Division’s Literacy and Cultural Committee and [Pago] Division’s Education Department.

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