Min­is­ter ties im­proved ed­u­ca­tion for eth­nic mi­nori­ties to peace

The Myanmar Times - - News - SWAN YE HTUT swanye­htut@mm­times.com – Trans­la­tion by Win Thaw Tar and Khine Thazin Han

ED­U­CA­TION Min­is­ter U Myo Thein Gyi told law­mak­ers in the Amyotha Hlut­taw yes­ter­day that ed­u­ca­tional de­vel­op­ment in eth­nic mi­nor­ity ar­eas is di­rectly linked to the suc­cess or fail­ure of Myan­mar’s peace process.

Ef­forts to ex­pand eth­nic lan­guage in­struc­tion, boost lit­er­acy rates and im­prove higher ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties in the coun­try’s long-ne­glected fron­tier re­gions would hinge on the forg­ing of a durable peace na­tion­wide, he said.

The Union min­is­ter was speak­ing in re­sponse to a pro­posal put for­ward by for­mer Amyotha Hlut­taw Speaker U Khin Aung Myint (USDP; Man­dalay 8) urg­ing the gov­ern­ment to en­act a spe­cial plan to com­bat il­lit­er­acy among eth­nic mi­nori­ties and ad­vance study of these groups’ lit­er­a­ture.

Re­gard­ing cur­ric­ula tai­lored to­ward mi­nori­ties, U Myo Thein Gyi said the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion plans to print and dis­trib­ute learn­ing ma­te­ri­als in 54 eth­nic lan­guages for 540,289 stu­dents from grades 1, 2 and 3 across 187 town­ships.

His min­istry ear­marked more than K5.5 bil­lion (US$4.53 mil­lion) for the salaries of 18,300 eth­nic lan­guage in­struc­tors in the 2016-17 aca­demic year. A less am­bi­tious pro­gram span­ning the 2013-14 to 2015-16 aca­demic years saw 28 eth­nic lan­guages taught at a cost of about K6 bil­lion for teacher salaries and in­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als.

The Union min­is­ter added that the Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­tor Plan 2016-2021 has been drawn up with a spe­cific em­pha­sis on sup­port­ing and im­prov­ing in­struc­tion in eth­nic lan­guages, lit­er­a­ture, cul­ture, arts and tra­di­tions.

To­ward that end, he noted a name change for the for­mer Myan­mar-lan­guage Depart­ment un­der the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry, which on Au­gust 7 was rechris­tened as the Depart­ment of Myan­mar Eth­nic Lan­guages.

U Khin Aung Myint’s pro­posal was de­feated yes­ter­day, re­ceiv­ing more votes op­posed than in favour.

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