Middle School Children Abused by Teachers in Chin State
02 November 2012: The headmaster and teachers are reported to have violently treated children from the middle school of Congthia village, Thantlang Township of Chin State.
The Chin headmaster and two Burmese female teachers named Eih Khine Phyu and Nweh Nweh Win forced students to carry out domestic chores including collecting firewood, and severely beat them with sticks, according to confirmed sources.
“The headmaster asked students to work on his farm and to carry bags of rice to the village. On Fridays, he also asked them to work in the school garden and took all the produce such as bananas, cabbage, mustard and sugarcane for himself,” explained a Chin reporter from Thantlang.
He is also accused of forcibly demanding 2,000 kyats from students of the primary classes and 3,000 kyats of the middle classes for school fees, according to the Hakha Post, although laws affirm that primary school education in the country is free and compulsory.
Parents complained that the headmaster ordered each student to contribute 1,500 kyats after the villagers collectively agreed that students would stop providing the so-called ‘voluntary services’, known as loh-aa-pe in Burmese.
“Children are asked to contribute loh-aa-pe services between 10 to 15 days a year. In the rainy seasons, children get sick because they are required to work in the rain,” said one of the local villagers.
Eih Khin Phyu and Nweh Nweh Win forcibly demanded school children to provide firewood and vegetables for curries, with a threat of failing them in the examinations.
The Thantlang Chin reporter, who contacted Congthia villagers, said five children, three boys and two girls, have been expelled from school so far on the accusations that they did not obey the instructions their teachers gave.
“A school boy named Duh Tin Thang, an orphan being looked after by the Zophei Baptist Association (ZPBA), was dismissed from school for not being able to give two pieces of firewood for the Burmese teachers,” confirmed the Chin reporter.
The hands of Duh Tin Thang were swollen due to a number of beatings with sticks given as a form of punishment to him by the headmaster, according to the Hakha Post.
It was claimed that two girls have been re-admitted to their school after an appeal from their parents.
On 16 October, 16 students from kindergarten, Grade-1 and 2 were also punished with beatings on their hands with sticks for not wearing the school uniforms.
“Tluang Peng, a Grade-1 student, had one of his fingers broken while others were given some treatment by their respective parents as they were not able to hold pencils properly to write,” added the reporter.
There are seven teachers working at the middle school of Congthia, including the Chin headmaster from Hnaring village of Thantlang Township, who has held his current position for over 15 years.
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang