Basic education schools in Maungtaw District, Rakhine State, that were closed due to attacks of ARSA extremist terrorists on 25 August this year were reopened in September end. The Ministry of Education is implementing a plan to extend up to 300 schools in the district at the end of this month. Teachers are staying at a temporary hostel and teaching lessons at the nearby schools. Teachers were interviewed to express their difficulties and challenges in their work.
U Aye Tun, teacher BEPS Tarein village
Our Tarein village has opened since October end. I am in Maungtaw to present papers. We will not go back home during the December school holidays as we are going to open classes. We will sacrifice our holidays as we want to end the courses in time. Only half of the students come back to school in Tarein. Many of the schools are like that. We found transport and other social needs as the main difficulty of Maungtaw region. Despite the hardships, teachers do their work with heart and soul. We were in Tarein during the terrorist attacks. We could not go anywhere till the Tatmadaw came and conveyed us to our relatives in the nearest places. It costs K 15,000 to travel by car as the final submission date is on 25 this month. It will be K 30000 for the round trip. We are facing a lot of difficulties in drawing our salary in Maungtaw. It will be more convenient if our salaries are paid at the nearest school or if the school head will draw all the salaries on behalf of teachers who will equally bear the transport cost.
U Nay Myo Naing, teacher of affiliate BEPS, Khontaing village
A student of affiliate basic primary school in Khontaing village lost his life during the terrorist attack on 25 August. As the village was burnt down, we have to close the school till now. We have instructions that we must open collective classes for our students at Jatchaung village. We face language barriers as most of the students are ethnic Mros. We can break the language barrier if we have a teacher who is skill in Mro language. Transport is poor. During the rains, we have to spend a night just to draw our salary. So we could not make progress in teaching as expected. It would be appropriate if a certain person takes the responsibility of drawing all the salaries. We see no borders as long as there is peace and security.
U Maung Byawh, teacher, Thaohottaw Post BEPS
We were sent to the assigned schools on 20 this month. After drawing our salary for this month, we will go to our assigned places. It is not convenience for us as we will have to draw our salary by ourselves. It takes five hours and cost K 15000 to get our salary. Most of the students are of the Islamic faith. We have to learn their language first in teaching them. Now we are attached at Ngakuya school.
U Than Lwin, teacher, Ngayantchaung BEPS
We have over 100 students. They are ethnic Rakhines, Mros and Thets and students of Islamic faith. We closed our school after the incidents on 25 August. We have not reopened it yet. Food is poor. Teachers in Maungtaw region face difficulties in drawing their salary by themselves. It will be good for us if the school head takes this responsibility. Some places are not secure for teachers till now.
U Soe Min Kyaw, Yankhaceti BEPS
Yankhaceti BEPS has lesser number of students. And there are only three teachers. Many people of the village were murdered during the terrorist attacks. We could not go anywhere. We faced hardships as it was rainy season. We draw our salary in Buthidaung. It is too difficult for us to get the monthly salary. Poor transport is our main difficulty. Improve in transport will erase all difficulties.
Due to the terrorist attacks in Maungtaw region, Rakhine State, 16 high schools, 109 middle schools and 58 primary schools totaling 183 schools were temporarily closed in Maungtaw Township, and 10 high schools, 107 middle schools and 104 primary schools totaling 220 schools, in Buthisdaung Township in Maungtaw District. Education Ministry made arrangements to reopen the schools on 13 and 14 September. Maungtaw Township has 1281 teachers, Buthidaung Township has 1384. The whole Maungtaw District has over 2600 teachers. Arrangements are under way to appoint teacher assistances.— News Team