Border Government School Teachers Dissatisfied with their Salaries

October 16, 2014

Government school teachers in Three Pagoda Pass, Kyar Inn Seik Kyi Township, Karen State, argue that officers appointed to provide teachers with security and a sufficient salary are failing to do so.

Teachers on the border find it difficult to live on the salary they are provided, especially since they are not allowed to tutor students outside classroom hours in order to supplement their income, as other districts allow.

A twenty-eight year old primary school teacher states that, “Three Pagoda Pass administrator Myo Naw Zaw always sends letters to the Township Chief of Education to alert him when teachers are absent without leave.”

The teacher continues, “We are always smart for the students, [and] we fulfill our duty on the border, [but] not all the teachers’ situations are the same. It is fine for single [people] to live on our salary, but it is difficult for a married person. Also, living on the border, we [teachers] can’t find other [sources] of income like the staff from other areas [can]. Some teachers want to move to the town because [there] we can teach Tuition [tutoring sessions], and earn more income. On the border, we can’t teach Tuition, and we also have to buy the book for the student from our own money.”

One teacher suggests that the government should provide sufficient support for teachers working in border or rural areas.

Beyond insufficient compensation, there are not enough teachers assigned to each school.

According to local parent Saw Kyaw Tin, 45, from Three Pagoda Pass, “There is not really much time for the [the teachers to spend with the] students in a month. There are normally only two teachers in each school, and the school has a lot of classes, so two teachers are not enough. Normally, there should be around four teachers for these kind of schools, but due to lack of teachers, students are just playing [during class time] and [then] going back home; they haven’t learned very much.”

Saw Kyat Tin continued that, “If we compare [our students] with the students in other areas, we can compare them in everything such as education, knowledge, and other things. For my children, I teach them at home, [but] I also need to go to my jobs [so] I can’t teach them every day. There is also some weaknesses in [benefits for our teachers] and [more] benefits for teachers from other areas. We also help as much as we can to provide the teacher with accommodations. The security is not very good during this month, but we don’t need to worry for our area; the armed group will not give the teachers any trouble.”

A member of the village committee evaluated that only 30-45% of area children attend school, while a 28-year-old Karen teacher estimates that the true percentage of students that are able to attend school is lower.

 

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