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Iran Press TV

Myanmar junta suspends thousands of academics, targeting country's education sector

Iran Press TV

Monday, 10 May 2021 2:57 PM

Thousands of academics opposed to Myanmar's ruling junta have been suspended after going on strike in protest over the Feb. 1 coup, a teacher association says.

The Myanmar Teachers' Federation said more than 11,100 academic and other staff had been suspended from colleges and universities as of Monday.

Security forces occupied university campuses in the biggest city, Yangon, and elsewhere as protests flared after the coup across the country.

At the public West Yangon Technological University, the student's union published a list of 180 staff who had been suspended to hail them as heroes.

Many teachers, like other government workers, have stopped work as part of a civil disobedience movement that has paralyzed Myanmar.

"I feel upset to give up a job that I adored so much, but I feel proud to stand against injustice," one 37-year-old university rector was quoted as saying.

"My department summoned me today. I'm not going. We shouldn't follow the orders of the military council."

A Myanmar's female professor on a fellowship in the United States also said she was told she would have to declare opposition to the strikes or lose her job. Her university authorities had told her every scholar would be tracked down and forced to choose.

"I don't feel sad to miss school," said a 22-year-old student of the Yangon University of Education. "There's nothing to lose from missing the junta's education."

According to the most recent data, Myanmar had over 26,000 teachers in universities and other tertiary education institutions in 2018.

Students and teachers have been prominent in the protests it ousted the civilian government of de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the coup.

The junta-controlled Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper said teachers and students should cooperate to get the education system started again.

"Political opportunists do not wish to see such development by committing sabotage acts," it said.

Many students are among at least 780 people killed by security forces and the 3,800 in detention, According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) advocacy group.

At least 47 teachers are also among the detainees while arrest warrants have been issued for some 150 teachers on charges of incitement.

Myanmar's education system was already one of the poorest in the region.



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