Students Without a University
covering burma and southeast asia
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FEATURE

Students Without a University


By SAW YAN NAING / THE IRRAWADDY Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Students sit exams at a community school in a temporary camp for Internally Displaced Persons in Karen State. (Photo: Irrawaddy)
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There are also more than 60,000 displaced ethnic Kachin people in northern Burma since armed conflicts between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) broke out in June last year.

On March 23, US Campaign for Burma sent a petition letter signed by more than 5,000 resettled Burmese refugees across the world to the US Special Envoy to Burma Derek Mitchell calling for international pressure against the Naypyidaw government to stop attacks and human rights abuses in ethnic areas, especially in Kachin and Shan states where hostilities have escalated over the last nine months.

They said that more attention should be given to ethnic issues if the international community sincerely wants to help bring a long-lasting peace and true reconciliation to the people of Burma.

Mai Li Awng, a spokesperson for the Wun Tawng Ningtwey (Light for Kachin People) relief group in Maija Yang village, said that hundreds of students in Kachin State do not have the chance to go to school as classes were shut down due to clashes between the government and KIA troops.

As there has been no agreement between the government and KIO leaders despite several rounds of peace talks, families of refugees also do not dare return to their hometowns, said Mai Li Awng.

The Burmese government’s human rights body, the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, reported on Dec. 14 that there are 51 schools in 10 townships in Kachin State with a student population of 7,872 that have temporarily shut down due to armed conflicts. Hundreds of children have also suffered trauma due to the hostilities, said the rights body.

The TBBC reported that household poverty assessments across 14 townships in rural areas in eastern and southern Burma indicate that 63 percent of homes are unable to meet basic needs.

“As we are stateless people, we don’t have dignity,” said Bway Gay Thein Maung. “Other people don’t respect us. Our education system is not recognized.”

Grag Moo, a young Karen refugee who resettled in Canada several years ago, said, “[Displaced refugee children] are like students without a university.”



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Mualcin Wrote:
28/03/2012
Under the rule of guns and bullets, education is eradicated. Than Shwe has no education and education has no value to him. The current government is ten percent democratic, ninety percent dictatorship. Since this government is spending too much budget for military, Education and Health Care have to suffer years to come. It is so sad.

Martin West Wrote:
28/03/2012
It is very sad that Karen students in Thailand do not have the opportunity to attend university.

Here is Australia, where there is government suport for college and university students, newly arrived Karen students are sucessfully studying in university. I know one Karen Buddhist monk who has almost completed a Master degree in social work, while other Karen students are completing degrees in law and education.

Karen students will succeed if they have the chance.

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