Mon State Hires Nearly 400 Ethnic-language Teachers

Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Mon State government’s education department has appointed an additional 398 ethnic-language instructors to work as teaching assistants (TAs) in the public school system, nearly doubling the number officially employed by the state.

Of the 398 new TAs, 232 will teach the Mon language, 145 will teach Sagaw Karen and Poe Karen, and 21 will teach Pa-O.

“This is the second-batch appointment. There are many remaining teachers who have not yet been appointed. I think we can appoint more ethnic-language teachers as teaching assistants next year, depending on the budget of the education department,” Saw Aung Myint Khine, the state’s Karen ethnic affairs minister, told NMG.

Nearly 900 people applied when the Mon State Ethnic Affairs Ministry announced earlier this year that it was hiring more TAs to teach ethnic languages. In 2017, more than 400 ethnic- language teachers were appointed to the position in the first batch of new hires.

Currently, there are many ethnic-language teachers employed by the state who are not officially appointed. These teachers are paid 30,000 kyat (less than US$20) per month, while those who are officially appointed receive 4,800 kyat ($3.15) per day.

“We will have more opportunities if we are appointed as TAs. We have to work more and we have to teach not only Mon-language classes but also other subjects,” said one newly appointed TA working at a school in Mudon Township who spoke to NMG.

According to the education department’s official statistics, there are 30 schools offering Pa-O language classes, 273 schools offering Karen-language classes, and 270 schools offering Mon-language classes in eight townships in Mon State.

Ethnic-language courses are taught in the first three grades of elementary school. There are more than 2,700 students studying Pa-O, 15,600 studying S’gaw Karen and Poe Karen, and 21,000 studying Mon in the state’s public school system.