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Sunday, October 12, 2008

No future for the young

The uprising by Buddhist monks in Myanmar in September last year and the devastation brought on by Cyclone Nargis in May this year spot-lit the reclusive and veiled South-east Asian country also known as Burma. The last time this happened was in 1988, when an uprising fronted by students led to a crackdown by the ruling military junta that left an estimated 3,000 people dead.

Myanmar, a country of 50 million people, has abundant natural resources such as oil, natural gas, timber and minerals. Once known as the "rice bowl of the world", it was one of the richest countries in the region when it gained independence from Britain in 1948. But its democratic phase lasted only 15 years and four decades of military rule have since ravaged the country.

In 1962, a coup d'etat brought General Ne Win into power, a position he held for more than 25 years. In 1990, multi-party elections were held and Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of Burmese World War II hero Aung San, led an umbrella democracy movement to a landslide victory. But despite winning just under two-thirds of the popular vote and 82 percent of the parliamentary seats, the ruling junta refused to stand aside. Instead, it placed the Oxford University-educated Ms Suu Kyi under house arrest. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 but has spent more than 10 years in confinement since.

In 1990, the United States, folllowed by other Western nations, imposed economic sanctions but this failed to loosen the junta's iron-grip rule and worsened the people's plight. In 2005, according to the United Nations Statistics Division, Myanmar's per capita groos domestic product was only US$217 (S$318), making it one of the 20 poorest countries in the world. A third of its 50 million people are said to live below the poverty line.

Education has been largely neglected. The military government reportedly spends less than US$3 per person per year on health and education, way below the World Health Organisation's recommended level of US$40 per person.

International organisations report that fewer than halof of its children complete five years of basic education. Universities, the hotbed of dissent in the 1980s, have been stultified and splintered. The older generation bemoans the loss of Rangoon University, once one of the finest seats of learning in the region. Now, young Myanmar nationals attend classes at splintered campuses two hours outside Yangon, or take up distance learning. The dire shortage of funding has meant universities have poor facilities and poorly-paid faculty.

Meanwhile, children of the elite, mostly successful merchants or those with ties to the military, head to Britain, Canada and Australia for further studies. The middle class tries to scrape together what it can to send its children to Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore. A veteran educationist, a former graduate of Rangoon University, who is trying to send his children to Singapore, told the Straits Times: "It is a crime against people of Myanmar. The once revered education system has been eroded and the future of Myanmar's young is list."

The Straits Times
Saturday, October 11 2008
Page D4.


ပန္းခရမ္းျပာ said...

စေနေန႔ သတင္းစာမွာ ထူးထူးျခားျခားပါတဲ့ သတင္းေနာ္။ ခုနစ္မ်က္ႏွာရွိတယ္။ ဝမ္းသာဂုဏ္ယူရမွာလား။ ဝမ္းနည္းရမွာလား မေဝခြဲႏိႈင္ဘူး။ စာလံုးမဲနဲ႔ ေခါင္းစဥ္တစ္ခုကို သတိထားမိတယ္။ It is easier to control an uneducated population .... တဲ့။

အလွတရား said...

ွွSorry to hear about this!!!

လူသစ္ said...

မဖတ္လိုက္ပါဘူးဗ်ာ။ စိတ္ညစ္လို႔။ :(

D N A ngel.. said...

စေနေန႔က သတင္းစာ ဖတ္လိုက္ရတယ္။ စိတ္မေကာင္းဘူး။ ဒါေပမယ့္ စာအုပ္ရွား၊ ဖတ္စရာေတြ လံုးလည္လုိက္ ဒါမ်ိဳး ဒါမ်ိဳးေတြပဲ ထြက္ေနတာ သိသာတာပဲေလ။ လိုခ်င္တဲ့ စာအုပ္ဆိုရင္ ရွာေတြ႔ဖုိ႔ခက္တာ အထူးအဆန္းမွ မဟုတ္ခဲ့ပဲ။
စာၾကည့္တိုက္ဆုိရင္ ေၿခဦးေတာင္ မလွည့္တဲ့ လူေတြ ပိုမ်ားတယ္။ စာၾကည့္တိုက္ၾကီးမွာ အရင္ က စာအုပ္ေတြ အရမ္းစံုတာလညး္ သိတဲ့သူနည္းပါတယ္။ အမ်ားဆံုးသြားၾကတာ BC နဲ႔ USIS ပဲ မဟုတ္လား။

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