Mon National Schools appeal to Mon State government for financial support amid donor crisis

June 12, 2017

HURFOM: Mon National Schools are facing a funding crisis after their main donor UNICEF ended support, leaving the Mon National Education Department (MNED) having to request funding from the Mon State government, according to an official from the MNED. The MNED is a department under the Mon National Education Committee (MNEC).

We don’t have any donors this year so we can’t provide notebooks for the children. We can only provide curriculum [text] books. Due to the lack of donors, we have to request funding from the students’ parents if we want to make repairs to the school. They willingly pay the first and second time, but if we frequently make demands, they don’t want to pay anymore,” said an official from the MNED.

A meeting held by UNICEF in January of this year invited members of the Mon State Parliament, other Mon State government representatives, Mon State Chief Education Officers, and officials from the MNED to discuss the future of funding for Mon National Schools. UNICEF announced in the meeting that they would not be supporting the Mon National School system during the 2017-18 academic year and requested the Mon State government to take accountability for the sustainable operation of Mon national education.

The Mon National Education Committee (MNEC) has to submit a proposal to the Mon State government to get funding for the Mon National Schools. In the proposal, the department has requested that the government, like UNICEF, should support school fees and the stationary for Mon National School students,” according to Nai Min Aung Zay, a program coordinator in the MNED.

During the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years, UNICEF supported each Mon National School with 50 students or fewer with 400,000 kyat (US $295), each school with more than 50 but fewer than 100 students with 800,000 kyat (US $590), and each school with 100 and more students with 1,200,000 kyat (US $885) per academic year.

The [Mon] State government can’t make the decision [alone to fund us] as our schools are Mon National Schools [and under under the management of the MNEC]. So they must report to the Union Government. The Union Government also needs the approval of the President’s Office,” said Nai Min Aung Zay.

Although the MNED sent their proposal to the Mon State government in February 2017, there has been no reply from the government to date. However, the MNED has met with the Mon State government and the State Chief Education Officer U Myo Tin Aung several times since submitting their proposal.

Mon National Schools have previously received support from the Union Government one time before during the 2014-15 academic year. The Union Government supported the cost of curriculum books and stationary for Mon National School students.

There are 133 Mon National Schools throughout Mon and Karen States, as well as Tenasserim Division. Despite the lack of funding, the 2017-18 Mon National School academic year began June 1, 2017.

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