Insecurity and terrorism: Education in Myanmar in danger

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Tun Mon Thet (NP News) - June 18

With increasing terroristic acts committed by notorious PDF terrorists (claiming themselves as the People’s Defense Force) in Myanmar, the education sector is one of the top targets of the non-State armed troops, terrorists, and ethnic armed forces.

At least 12 teachers, some reported 17, from Pauk Township in Magway Region were abducted last week by the PDF terrorists (alliance with the KIA troops). Reports state that the teachers were arrested during school time as terrorists came and raided the school while they were teaching. It is also reported that the armed terrorists (PDFs) forced the teachers to join the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) and not to teach the children. Teachers refused and so they abducted the teachers.

After the 2021 political transition, those who opposed the annulation of 2020 vote rigging and the constituted coup aim utter devastation of Myanmar. That destructive group schemed non-military and soft-target as the designated locations for terror plots. Many schools, civilian houses, monasteries, hospitals, and religious sites were deliberately destroyed by the PDF terrorists and their allied ethnic armed forces such as KIA (Kachin), KNU/ KNDO (Kayin), KNDF (Kayah/ Karenni), and CNF/CNDF (Chin).

The said destructive group, as circulated with foreign financial aid, especially from the US organizations, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the West bloc, initiated the CDM just a few days after the constituted coup in 2021. The destructive group forced and has been forcing civil staff and personnel to abscond from their workplaces. Many schoolteachers, physicians, medical doctors, staff and officers from the ministerial department were confused and joined in the CDM.

On the other hand, the destructive entity threatened, abducted, and killed the civil personnel who refused to CDM accusing them of supporting the military junta. As per the Ministry of Education, there are a total of 125 education staff have been brutally killed while 255 others from the education sector were kidnapped or abducted by the PDF terrorists and their affiliated ethnic armed troops within three years. The mentioned numbers are as per the reported information and there are many more in remote and faraway areas where information is beyond to be reached.

As of June 2024, a total of 13,700 schools across the country, particularly in areas controlled by terrorists, have been closed, as statistics reported by the Ministry of Education. Thus, it is almost 30 percent closing schools as there are 47,853 schools in total nationwide. Around 150 basic education schools (excluding universities and colleges) were destroyed in arson attacks across the country, mostly from the Mandalay Region and Sagaing Region.

The right to education has been jeopardized in Myanmar as the terrorists frequently and from time to time force schoolchildren and parents to drop out the school. Basic education schools and exam centres were usually bombed especially during exam periods and matriculation exams.

Education, as per the United Nations, is defined as the building block of every society to build prosperous, healthy, and equitable societies. Article 26 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to education.”

However, in Myanmar at present, at least 500,000 schoolchildren throughout the country are out of school due to the current ongoing conflicts since the military conflicts have expanded many towns and cities in various states and regions, especially in schoolchildren from Sagaing and Magway regions, and Chin, Kayin, Kayah and Shan states to sacrifice their right to education.

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