Schools start without textbooks for students in Paletwa Tsp
17 June 2016 – Students of the Basic Education Primary Schools and Basic Education Middle Schools in Paletwa Township, Chin State have not received their textbooks despite the school commencement on 1 June.
Some schools have started teaching without textbooks while others cannot begin classes as they still wait for them to arrive in the villages.
Nyein Maung, a Khumi Chin who is currently in Rangoon attending training, told the Chinland Guardian: “I grew up attending schools in villages in the township and I know the situation. This has been taking place since my childhood.”
The 27-year-old said that the Education Department might have sent textbooks but they could be delayed because of difficult access to the areas or they would never get to the destinations for some reasons.
A primary school branch teacher from Auhsinlee village told the Chin World Media on condition of anonymity that she was not able to start teaching Grade 4 students as they had no textbooks at all.
Auhsinlee residents raised their concern over the shortage of teachers at the middle school in the village, highlighting they had hired one teacher on their own initiative as there was only one teacher assigned by the government.
In Du-chaung-wa and Kyinlin-auh villages, students from Grades 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8 have not received textbooks for some subjects including geography and Burmese.
“Last year, we didn’t receive an Grade 8th Burmese grammar textbook the whole year. So, we tried our best to borrow from those students who passed the eight Standard the previous year,” a Du-chaung-wa teacher told the Chin World Media.
Since the beginning of June, Nyein Maung has started collecting new and used textbooks from friends, colleagues and teachers in the former capital in an effort to contribute for students in his native places.
“I am planning to send the books around the end of this month. This will be sent to Paletwa town via Kyauktaw in Arakan State. I strongly hope that these books will safely reach students who do not have textbooks,” Maung said.
The Education Department has been criticized for taking no prior action to address the issue facing students in remote areas as it is well aware of the situation from its past experiences.
A staff member from the Paletwa Township Education Department talked on condition of anonymity about the experience last year saying there had been some books that they had not been able to carry from the Mindat District Education Department and that some textbooks had not actually been in Mindat.
“This has been happening for years and still continues. In the end, students are the ones being affected and suffering. I just want to do as much as I can to help them get education. That’s my main goal,” Nyein Maung said.
The State and Paletwa Township Education Departments cannot be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, Chin State stands at the lowest in the list of the country’s 2016 matriculation examination results announced last Saturday, with 14.36 per cent.#