Standard 9 and 10 Students are to Forced Attend School for Additional Hours

November 30, 2009

WCRP: Several schools throughout Mon state are forcing Standard 9 and 10 students to study for additional hours and pay extra fees. Most schools in Mon state hold class from 9am to 3pm, although several students have reported mandatory review sessions that go well beyond regular school hours.  

In Anan village, Thanbyuzayat Township, Mon State, standard 9 students are being forced to study for 3 additional hours or more. The adjustment began in June when school hours were extended until 6pm or later. Each student must pay 1,500 kyat per month for the extra classes until their final exams.

“We have no time to relax, we are so tired. We go to school at 9 am and do not arrive home till late at night…We have to spend a lot of time and money to study. One of our friends is so poor, she cannot afford to pay, so she had to leave school [stop attending],” said a female student from Anan village.

Students that cannot afford the additional classes are not allowed to attend regular school.

For standard 9 and 10 students in Kawdut village, Ye Township, Mon State, teachers hold mandatory review sessions from 6pm until 11pm. Students sleep at the school from 11pm till 4am, review till 6am and then head home. At 8am they return to school for new lessons. The new schedule has been in effect since July.

The students paid 60,000 kyat for this year’s registration fee and review sessions. In past years the registration fee was 20,000 kyat. Middle school students study for an extra 45 minutes each day and pay 1,000 kyat per month.

Students from Kalawthut and Mawkanin village, Mon State, are required to attend daily 1 hour review sessions, but they are not charged additional fees. The change occurred in June.

Teachers think, because of the elections, the government is mandating extra hours to compensate for a possible shortened school year. They speculate that final exams will be held in December and classes will not resume until after the elections. Schools normally finish in March and recommence in June.

“Our teacher said in December we have to take an exam, they think it’s because of the 2010 election. So they are forcing us to study a lot, at some schools the teachers are also teaching during the night,” said the female student from Anan.

There have also been reports of extended school hours in the Three Pagodas Pass area, Karen State.

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