MPs call for im­proved as­sess­ments, teacher ac­com­mo­da­tion

The Myanmar Times - - News - Thanhtoo@mm­ HTOO THANT

AD­DRESS­ING the un­der­funded and ail­ing ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor must start with bet­ter pro­vi­sions for teach­ers in ru­ral ar­eas, ac­cord­ing to an NLD MP’s pro­posal.

Lower house law­maker U Kyaw Htay (NLD; Leshi) urged the gov­ern­ment to fund the con­struc­tion of ed­u­ca­tion staff hous­ing in ar­eas where it is lack­ing, es­pe­cially in ru­ral, un­der­de­vel­oped vil­lages.

Teach­ers as­signed to ru­ral ar­eas of­ten do not have for­mal ac­com­mo­da­tion, but in­stead must rely on vil­lagers find­ing them a fam­ily will­ing to house them.

“It is es­sen­tial to have staff hous­ing for teach­ers be­cause they are fac­ing so­cial prob­lems in their vil­lages and the school man­age­ment has to ne­go­ti­ate con­flicts over hous­ing,” he told the Pyithu Hlut­taw on Au­gust 8.

He added that when teach­ers are not com­fort­able in their ac­com­mo­da­tions, or are placed in very re­mote ar­eas with­out any sort of as­sis­tance, it is stu­dents who end up suf­fer­ing the con­se­quences of the high teacher at­tri­tion rates.

“Where teach­ers face ac­com­mo­da­tion prob­lems as well as trans­porta­tion prob­lems, it is the stu­dents who suf­fer as they lose out on their ed­u­ca­tion,” U Kyaw Htay said.

Chin State MP U Par Htan (NLD; Matupi) sec­onded the pro­posal, not­ing that in de­vel­oped vil­lages, lo­cal res­i­dents can ar­range a ba­sic wood house for teach­ers, but in poorer ar­eas, such as the Naga self-ad­min­is­tered zone, the op­tions are ex­tremely lim­ited.

Man­dalay MP U Hla Moe (NLD; Aung Myay Tharzan) put for­ward a separate ed­u­ca­tion pro­posal re­quest­ing a re­think­ing of how schools as­sess stu­dents’ progress, and to move away from the high-stakes exam forms of eval­u­a­tion.

“Now what is hap­pen­ing is that stu­dents and par­ents are de­vot­ing their at­ten­tion only to exam re­sults,” he said, be­moan­ing the per­ceived lack of real learn­ing in the class­rooms.

Stu­dents mem­o­rise their lessons to par­rot them back dur­ing the ex­ams, but do not in­ter­nalise the in­for­ma­tion, he said. From kinder­garten to the ma­tric­u­la­tion ex­ams, the whole sys­tem is bi­ased against crit­i­cal think­ing, he said.

“In other coun­tries, ex­ams are not the only way to de­cide whether stu­dents move to the next class or not,” said U Hla Moe.

The ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem is not fos­ter­ing out­stand­ing cit­i­zens who can think log­i­cally, he added, and in­stead par­ents are wast­ing a lot of money on prepar­ing for tests.

Last week, the state coun­sel­lor also voiced sup­port for mov­ing the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem away from rote learn­ing.

“A good mem­ory is not enough,” she said at an Au­gust 4 ed­u­ca­tion sem­i­nar in Nay Pyi Taw.

Arakan Na­tional Party MP U Pe Than (Mye­bon) said he sup­ports both ed­u­ca­tion pro­pos­als, but en­cour­aged par­lia­ment to mon­i­tor re­sponses to the pro­posal, rather than adopt them and move on.

U Hla Moe said they hope ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter U Myo Thein Gyi takes the pro­pos­als se­ri­ously, and col­lab­o­rates with par­lia­ment.

“If we are not sat­is­fied with his re­sponse, we will have to make a par­lia­men­tary de­ci­sion be­cause boost­ing the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor is re­ally needed for the coun­try,” he said. – Trans­la­tion by Thiri Min Htun

and Kyawt Darly Linn

Photo: EPA

A teacher over­sees Myan­mar-lan­guage in­struc­tion at a ru­ral school out­side the Nay Pyi Taw Coun­cil. MPs are push­ing the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion to fund staff hous­ing for ed­u­ca­tors in re­mote ar­eas.

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