Despite Burma Govt Promise of Free Education – Parents Claim They Are Still Paying Fees

The parents of students at Taungkalay High School, in Hpa-an, have expressed concerns that they have to pay fees for their children despite the government promising that state schools – from primary to secondary level – would provide free registration and textbooks for study.

Taungkalay High School opened on June 2, but before school started, on May 25, students about to attend the middle grades had to pay money as they were admitted into the school.

A parent of a student’s, who asked for their identity be protected, said that they had to pay 5,000 Kyats ($US5.15) for each child at secondary level.

“According to the state government, primary and middle school students would be admitted to school without [paying] school registration fees. But now the middle school students are still having money collected from them as in previous years. I had to pay 5,000 kyats (USD 5.15) a student when I went to register my children.”

Other parents reported paying more, several told Karen News that some students had to pay up to 10,000 kyats (USD 10.31) each as an enrollment fee.

The headmistress of Taungkalay High School Daw Hla Yee, said that the money was to be used for providing school facilities, such as tables, a well and concrete floor. It is collected as a donation by the school advisory body and not related to the schoolteachers.

Speaking to Karen News, Daw Hla Yee said.

“The school enrollment and textbooks are provided free for primary class levels to middle class levels. There are six exercise books provided for primary levels. Money has been collected with the intention of providing better school services.”

The head village administrator, Saw Htay Kyaw said, “these circumstances will still exist. We need to take time to change and improve it to a perfect system. The relevant officials will need to take action step by step. Everyone only wants the good things.”

Taungkalay High School was established in 1991. There are 50 schoolteachers and approximately 1300 students.

The Myanmar government has officially stated that the primary and secondary levels of government schools, that the enrollment fee and textbooks would be provided free for the academic 2014 to 2015year.

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