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More than 125,000 Myanmar teachers suspended for opposing coup

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More than 125,000 school teachers in Myanmar have been suspended by the military authorities for joining a civil disobedience movement to oppose the military coup in February, an official of the Myanmar Teachers' Federation said.

The suspensions have come days before the start of a new school year, which some teachers and parents are boycotting as part of the campaign that has paralysed the country since the coup cut short a decade of democratic reforms.

A total of 125,900 school teachers had been suspended as of Saturday, said the official of the teachers' federation, who declined to give his name for fear of reprisals. He is already on the junta's wanted list on charges of inciting disaffection.

Myanmar had 430,000 school teachers according to the most recent data, from two years ago.

"These are just statements to threaten people to come back to work. If they actually fire this many people, the whole system will stop," said the official, who is also a teacher. He said he had been told that the charges he faces would be dropped if he returns.

Reuters was unable to reach a junta spokesman or the education ministry for comment. The state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper has called on teachers and students to return to schools to get the education system started again.

The disruption at schools echoes that in the health sector and across government and private business since the Southeast Asian country was plunged into chaos by the coup and the arrest of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Around 19,500 university staff have also been suspended, according to the teachers' group.

PARENTS KEEP CHILDREN HOME

Registrations begin next week for the school term that starts in June, but some parents said they also plan to keep their children out of school.

"I am not going to enrol my daughter because I don't want to give her education from military dictatorship. I also worry about her safety," said 42-year-old Myint, whose daughter is 14.

Students, who have been at the forefront of daily protests at which hundreds of people have been killed by security forces, also said they planned to boycott classes.

"I will only go back to school if we get back democracy," said Lwin, 18.

Myanmar's education system was already one of the poorest in the region - and ranked 92 of 93 countries in a global survey last year.

Even under the leadership of Suu Kyi, who had championed education, spending was below 2% of gross domestic product. That was one of the lowest rates in the world, according to World Bank figures.

A National Unity Government, set up underground by opponents of the junta, said it would do all it could to support the teachers and students itself - calling on foreign donors to stop funding the junta-controlled education ministry.

"We will work with Myanmar's educators who are refusing to support the cruel military," Sasa, who goes by one name and is a spokesman for the national unity government, said in an email to Reuters. "These great teachers and brave teachers will never be left behind."

© Thomson Reuters 2021.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

20 Comments
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Sheesh. What a terrible choice they have! - not only is school necessary for education (you could homeschool but) it is also a way to keep the kids occupied while you work.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

These teachers deserve respect for RESISTing the Myanmar totaltarian regime and the ideological rubbish the regime wants them to spoon fed the students.

Knowledge is freedom. This is what Pink Floyd means in 'we don't need no education'. Nobody needs thought control from an illegal government like this bunch of thuggy scum.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Exactly @joey, you got the point here.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Many thousands of these teachers suspended by the junta would certainly end up in conducting covert activities to oppose the military government.

The tyrannical nation could only witness many more years of restlessness, regression, recession, and..

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If you are a teacher, you can get fired for politically incorrect opinions, whether in Myanmar, or in the USA.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

If you are a teacher, you can get fired for politically incorrect opinions, whether in Myanmar, or in the USA.

Myanmar:Teachers suspended for speaking out against a dictatorial regime slaughtering citizens.

USA: Teachers suspended for using racial and sexist slurs.

Totally the same thing.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

dagonToday  01:30 pm JST

If you are a teacher, you can get fired for politically incorrect opinions, whether in Myanmar, or in the USA.

Myanmar:Teachers suspended for speaking out against a dictatorial regime slaughtering citizens.

USA: Teachers suspended for using racial and sexist slurs.

Totally the same thing.

Nonsense. US teachers have been fired for the 'wrong' opinion. Search "politically incorrect teachers fired usa" and see what comes up.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

What don't you explain what a "politically incorrect teacher" is in a US context or give examples of conduct resulting in firing?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

dagonToday  02:47 pm JST

What don't you explain what a "politically incorrect teacher" is in a US context or give examples of conduct resulting in firing?

Search "politically incorrect teachers fired usa" and see what comes up.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

dagonToday  02:47 pm JST

What don't you explain what a "politically incorrect teacher" is in a US context or give examples of conduct resulting in firing?

Search "politically incorrect teachers fired usa" and see what comes up.

No need to. Teachers opposing a murderous military dictatorship in Myanmar and culture war topics that allegedly resulted in the firing of teachers in the US would not be rationally equivalent in context.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Thanks for supporting the junta Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In Burma, children usually work from a very young age. Rich kids probably go to Bangkok, Singapre, UK or USA for study.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nonsense. US teachers have been fired for the 'wrong' opinion. Search "politically incorrect teachers fired usa" and see what comes up.

It’s not as simple as you are making it out to be. Teachers have been fired for being political in the classroom or in front/with of students, not for their private speech outside of school.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

joey stalinToday  04:38 pm JST

dagonToday  02:47 pm JST

What don't you explain what a "politically incorrect teacher" is in a US context or give examples of conduct resulting in firing?

Search "politically incorrect teachers fired usa" and see what comes up.

In the 5th grade our teacher wrote on the blackboard many various ethnic and racial hateful slur words and epithets, incl. those for white people. She explained what they all meant, who they are targeted against, why those words are so derogatory and stupid, and why we shouldn't use them towards other people. She was married to a Ukrainian Holocaust survivor so I guess this is the best way to educate kids about hatred. Show them the UGLY words and tell them about the hideous consequences of it.

This is NOT a matter of 'political correctness', it's NOT a matter of 'culture wars' - it's a matter of decency and common sence.

When I was in the service they made it very clear that racism, anti-Semitism, etc. wouldn't be tolerated. And recent events have shone that some people in America still haven't grown up!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It’s not as simple as you are making it out to be. Teachers have been fired for being political in the classroom or in front/with of students, not for their private speech outside of school.

That is not true. Many public employees including teachers and police officers have been fired to things they did or said on social media outside of the classroom. In the private sector you have even fewer protections. I don't agree with this but this is the state of the law today.

https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/employees-fired-for-hate-speech-on-social-media.aspx

https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/5th-grade-teacher-on-leave-after-vulgar-social-media-post-about-students-officials-say/158522/

https://www.weareteachers.com/dos-donts-social-media-for-teachers/

That last link says teachers should not post on social media what they like or dislike. Pretty restrictive if you ask me.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder how this junta expects to stay in power if nobody works or goes to school?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Desert: Thanks for the response.

Your links don’t demonstrate that teachers are fired for being politically incorrect. The first link doesn’t mention teachers at all. (Maybe the link didn’t take me to the article you were referencing, but I did just copy and paste it.

The second link is about a teacher getting fired for making vulgar comments about students. That’s a no-no.

The last link doesn’t mention anything about teachers being fired; it’s just a list of best practices.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Search "politically incorrect teachers fired usa" and see what comes up.

A lot of right-wing propaganda websites falsely claiming that teachers have been fired for being politically incorrect. That's what comes up.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

JsapcToday  09:15 am JST

Search "politically incorrect teachers fired usa" and see what comes up.

A lot of right-wing propaganda websites falsely claiming that teachers have been fired for being politically incorrect. That's what comes up.

They whine about that, 'oh woe is me'. Then they want to ban anything they don't like because it's 'unpatriotic', 'satanic', or 'Communist' with no clue whatsoever what those words even mean. They're ignorant and stupid and not even worth wasting time talking to.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Desert TortoiseToday  05:42 am JST

I wonder how this junta expects to stay in power if nobody works or goes to school?

Because they love the uneducated, uninitiated and dumb. It goes back to Shakespear's 'Julius Caesar' where the main character wanted the Republic's citizens to be 'sleek-headed' content men. And in 1975 when the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia/Kampuchea the Communists slaughtered intellectuals. And in America Donald Trump boasted about loving uneducated Americans. And look at Myanmar with its totalitarian agenda effective since 1962.

Knowledge is freedom. And dictatorships don't like that because it's a questioning challenge to their authority and power.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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