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Home > Main Library > Education > Education in Burma/Myanmar > Education in Burma/Myanmar by ethnicity/administrative area > Education by State > Education in Shan State > Education in the Palaung (Ta'ang) areas

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Education in the Palaung (Ta'ang) areas

Individual Documents

Title: Children in Palaung IDPs’ camp are facing education problems
Date of publication: 21 May 2013
Description/subject: "The children of Palaung IDPs in Namkhan cannot access education because they don’t have certificates of permission for moving schools since they fled from their homes in 2012. Even though the children have passed exams in 2012, they can’t further their education in 2013 without certificates for moving schools..."
Source/publisher: Palaung Women's Organisation
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 27 May 2013

Title: Lightless Life (English)
Date of publication: February 2010
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "This report seeks to explore the targeted institutionalized failings of the Burmese military regime with regard to the education system in Burma and for the Ta’ang people. Data was collected primarily from Namkham, Man Tong, and Namhsan Townships in the Ta’ang region. 175 interviews were conducted in 61 villages from August 2006 to March 2009. Through decades of the regime’s mismanagement, Burma is one of the few areas in the world where the current generation of students will be less educated than their grandparents and little more than half of children complete their primary education1. The educational system in the Ta’ang region is demonstrably sub par and heavily controlled by the SPDC, thereby lacking the most basic resources for teachers and students, restricting critical thinking, and subsisting mainly by charging fees from impoverished parents. This leads many young Ta’ang youth and their families to abandon education so as to secure financial survival through other less effective and constructive means. Following a major collapse of the tea cultivating industry in the Ta’ang region in 2008, a significant economic shift occurred. The decimation of the region’s traditional industry placed a newfound premium on education for the Ta’ang people, who were forced to find new ways to provide for their families. The military regime’s use of educational suppression has led to not only an educational crisis, but also a major regional opium epidemic and increases in incidences of human trafficking and other illicit activities. Although the SPDC are signatories to the international conventions of CEDAW and CRC, ensuring access of education to all, the educational system in Ta’ang and other areas of Burma is vastly under-supported and of poor quality. Burma spends a paltry 1.4 per cent of GDP on health and education, and is the only country in the region whose military budget is greater than that of health and education combined1. This lack of funding leads to several important logistical issues, which conspire to diminish the state of educational affairs in the Ta’ang region. First, students often cannot afford the expenses associated with attending school due to the lack of governmental support for school fees and school supplies. Additionally, teacher salaries are wholly inadequate, leading many teachers to sacrifice the quality of their lessons and own training in order to seek out supplementary income. Most classes are taught by rote memorization and students often pass from grade to grade without sufficient knowledge of required materials, resulting in numerous students who are unable to read and write adequately upon completion of high school. Furthermore, there are vast discrepancies between the quantity and quality of educational institutions in rural and urban areas. Wealthy urban youth and private boarding schools associated with the military receive privileges and support, 11 Executive Summary while in rural Ta’ang areas there is only one school for every three or four villages2. This discrepancy prompted many villages to create community-run schools, but they are struggling to survive without support from NGOs or government institutions. Additionally, many parents particularly in rural Ta’ang region work day-to-day on a subsistence basis, and children are expected to contribute to the family’s meager income. As such, the additional time and transit costs associated with attending a school in another village lead to significant dropout rates. It is not uncommon for students to leave school to help support their families. Due to the economic crisis, many end up working at poppy farms or developing addictions to drugs, with a reported 85% addiction rate for men over 15 in one village in Man Tong Township2. Studies conducted in the Ta’ang region between 2000 and 2009 showed one school in which a class of 172 children dwindled to only three students by tenth grade as a result of various external pressures and inadequate internal support from the school staff and SPDC. The regime maintains many policies to exert systemic control over the educational system. Many state policies such as articles of the 2008 Constitution ensure that ethnic people will have no local influence over education by giving exclusive legislative and governing power to SPDC officials in the national Parliament and the commander in chief. Other systemic issues include overtly political school curricula, which is strictly enforced by the military regime. Similarly, schools for military personnel receive a higher standard of financial and material support, including incentives for teachers willing to work in these institutions and assurance of government jobs for students upon graduation. The regime also imposes arbitrary fees ranging from basic attendance and supply fees to requiring students to purchase school uniforms to greet top SPDC officials, making the high costs of education nearly impossible for a majority of youth. The failings of the regime in other sectors such as gender equity, health care, and regard for human rights also degrade the quality of education. Girls have limited opportunities to attend school, especially in times of economic crisis. Students and school staff are frequently absent from classes due to the prevalence of infectious diseases and lack of medical aid in ethnic areas. The heavily militarized presence in the ethnic areas lends itself to human rights abuses where students are routinely recruited for forced labor to repair roads or military camps and to join USDA forces. It also permits culturally repressive policies whereby Ta’ang students are not permitted to study their native language in school and cultural celebrations in the school are banned by the regime. Burma’s Ta’ang people are in the midst of an educational crisis, which can only be rectified by significant educational and political reforms on the part of the SPDC"
Language: English
Source/publisher: Ta'ang Students and Youth Organization – TSYO
Format/size: pdf (1.9MB-OBL version; 3.47MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.palaungland.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/Report/ED/Education%20Publication%20Report.pdf
Date of entry/update: 26 January 2012

Title: PWO Part One: ‘It’s the women and children that are suffering’
Description/subject: "The northern Shan state, home to a majority of the Ta’ang people (referred to as ‘Palaung’ by others), is among the least accessible areas in Burma. These areas host some of the bloodiest conflict, the most poppy cultivation, extremely high rates of opium addiction, and crippling poverty. The Palaung Women’s Organization (PWO) has developed an impressive range of programs to empower Palaung women and support and advocate for their communities in the war-torn, drug-ravaged areas in northern Burma–all while combatting gender-discrimination and an epidemic of domestic violence. Three Palaung women, De De, Lway Yu Ni, and Lway Chee Sangar, each from a different Palaung village, sat down with us to speak about their lives, their struggles, and the work of the PWO."...See the Alternate link for part 2.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalink.org/pwo-part-two-empowering-women-whilst-facing-conflict-poverty-opiate-epidem...
Date of entry/update: 18 March 2016