Mon National Schools Resume Classes

By Network Media Group
Saturday, July 18, 2020

More than 30 schools in New Mon State Party’s (NMSP) controlled territories in Burma’s Mon State re-opened from mid-June to mid-July, after the ethnic armed organization found no new cases of COVID-19.

According to the Mon National Education Committee (MNEC), primary, middle and high schools resumed in Mon State, Karen State and Taninthari Region.

Min Aung Zay, head of MNEC, says schools opened in Kyar-In-Seik-Gyi, Ye Chaung Phyar and Yebyu. High schools opened on June 15, and elementary and middle schools are opening soon.

To ensure safety during the coronavirus pandemic, donors provided basins for hand washing, face shields, hand gel and face masks. Min Aung Zay says they still need infrared thermometers to check students’ temperatures.

”Social distancing and health regulations, as outlined by the Ministry of Health and Sports, must be followed during classes,” he says.

Khin Kyi, who has children attending classes, says NMSP has been working hard to prevent COVID-19 in its area. “In my opinion, our schools are safer than government schools.”

Before classes resumed, she says parents and students met with their teachers to discuss reopening. “We are working together. We trust what the NMSP has done. We don’t need to worry about our children being exposed to illicit narcotics while they’re in NMSP schools.”

Nyi Ser, the principal of a high school, told NMG with an increased enrollment this year it’s a challenge to implement the new social distancing protocol for classes.

Another obstacle is funding. Mon National Schools rely on donations from private donors, but they are facing financial shortfalls this year because of the pandemic.

There are over 10,000 students enrolled at 133 Mon National Schools in NMSP-controlled areas for the 2019-2020 academic years. There are 780 teachers in these schools.

Over 14,000 students are enrolled for Mon literature classes in government schools that have not yet opened in Thanbyu, Zayap, Mudon, Kyaikmayaw, Hpa-an, Kawkareik townships.