Mon Schools Struggle to Pay Teachers

Low pay and income insecurity are forcing many Mon national teachers to quit their jobs.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Mon schools operating under the auspices of the New Mon State Party’s (NMSP) Mon National Education Department are struggling to provide teachers with a decent salary, forcing many to quit the job due to income insecurity.

“We are worried about how we will pay our teachers. Mostly we rely on villagers and private donors to raise the money for salaries. But sometimes donors only provide enough to cover our budget for one year, so it’s really difficult for us to hold on to our teachers,” Mi Sar Tar, the person in charge of the department, told NMG.

According to Mi Sar Tar , the education department has formed a fundraising team to try to find new sources of funding.

Many teachers who work for the department say that the salary they receive is so low that it’s not enough to live on.

“My salary is 100,000 kyat [US$66] per month. If you compare our salaries with those of government schoolteachers, ours are much lower. Some schoolteachers quit after teaching for just one or two years,” said one Mon national teacher who spoke to NMG.

The education department said that it has increased teachers’ salaries to 130,000 kyat ($87)—a dramatic increase from the 50-70,000 kyat per month it paid in previous years, but still very low by most standards.

According to the education department’s statistics, it employs a total of 800 teachers, who teach Mon language in government schools, Mon national schools (in areas under NMSP control), and in joint schools run by both the government and the NMSP.

The Mon National Education Department operates Mon-language schools in Mon State’s Ye Township, in Kyar-Inn-Seik-Gyi in Kayin (Karen) State, and in Yayphyu Township in Tanintharyi Region.

In addition, Mon children can learn their mother language at Mon national schools and joint schools in Thanbyuzayat, Mudon, and Kyaikmaraw townships in Mon State and Hpa-an and Kawkareik townships in Karen State.