Myanmar military govt announces reopening of schools from June 1, but teachers, students continue protests

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Myanmar coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing (Photo Credit - Reuters)
Myanmar coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing (Photo Credit - Reuters)

Naypyitaw [Myanmar], May 15 (ANI): Myanmar's military government announced it will reopen public schools on June 1 but many teachers and students opposed to the coup might refuse to return.

According to Kyodo News, a number of teachers and others engaged in education have joined the so-called civil disobedience movement to boycott work, as a protest against the junta. But the junta called on them to return to work and prepare for the reopening of the schools as it announced the restart on April 30.

The junta also said it will dismiss those who do not follow the call, maintaining its hard-line stance against protesters since the coup.

On February 1, the Myanmar military overthrew the civilian government and declared a year-long state of emergency. The coup triggered mass protests and was met by deadly violence.

At a press conference in the capital Naypyitaw, junta spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun said it will reopen public elementary schools, junior high schools and high schools on June 1, adding it has resumed classes of public graduate schools and the final year of public universities on May 5.

"It is a sad thing that some instigators and extremist political activists are campaigning for the students not to go back to the schools and are trying to stop reopening of the schools," Zaw Min Tun said.

The academic year in Myanmar starts on June 1. But public schools in the country have been closed for more than a year since the ousted government led by detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi had decided not to open the schools in June last year as the country saw a surge in the coronavirus infections, Kyodo News reported.

It further reported that, while the junta plans to reopen public schools amid efforts at normalizing the country, some 10,000 teachers and others engaged in education, which account for 60 percent of the total, are refusing to go back, according to teachers' unions in the country.

One teacher said he does not mind losing his job by boycotting work from June 1.

"I will keep on joining the civil disobedience movement until we win against the junta," said teacher.

A female junior high school student expressed anger toward the junta, saying, "How can we go to school under the military government that has killed hundreds of people and continued firing (at protesters)?"

The junta's security forces have killed 788 people as of Saturday since the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a rights group monitoring the situation in Myanmar. (ANI)