The Burmese army is still in turmoil after 100 days since the Feb. 1 coup, and the military government has begun asking education scholars to show support or be suspended from their jobs.
The Myanmar Teachers’ Federation says about 11,000 educators have been suspended by the military government for participating in strikes and protests, according to foreign media reports.
A 37-year-old university lecturer, who spoke on condition of anonymity as Thandar, was saddened by the loss of her job but said she was proud to stand up to the injustice. “My department summoned me there today, but I refused, we shouldn’t follow the junta’s orders.”
Another scholar, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she was told to oppose the strikes and protests and that she would lose her job unless she expressed a position. The authorities at the university she belongs to told her that all academics would be tracked down and forced to take a stand.
Not only teachers, but also Burmese health care workers have gone on strike, and security forces have been stationed on most campuses since the military coup. The junta-controlled media outlet Global New Light has called on teachers and students to work with the junta to restart the education system.
It is unclear how effective the strikes have been in Myanmar, which has a student population of about 10 million, as educational institutions begin registration for the new school year and people protest with signs reading “We don’t want military slave education” in front of a school in the southern city of Mawlamyine last week. In the northern city of Pagaon (Hpakant), a student wrote: “We will not go to school unless Ung San Suu Kyi is freed.”
At least 780 people have been killed and 3,800 arrested by the junta in Myanmar’s coup so far, and military leader Min Aung Hlaing went to Indonesia late last month to attend the Southeast Asian Nations Association summit, after which the Association issued a five-point consensus calling for an end to violence. Consider the proposal of the Association of East Asia”.