Yangon, 18 Nov— The Education Ministry has urged students protesting the National Education Law to engage in a dialogue, asking them to show “tolerance” as the Comprehensive Education Sector Review is carried out to reform the education system step by step.
Union Minister for Education Dr Daw Khin San Yi told reporters on Tuesday the six demands made by the students are over-stepped, inviting the students to hold a dialogue with those who drafted the law and pledging the ministry will report the demands of the students to a legislative body.
Students took to the streets from 14 to 17 November in Yangon to protest the National Education Law, making six demands, of which education officials said some points will be satisfied by upcoming bylaws within the national law but some others will need more discussion.
Universities rectors have urged the students to include their demands in university charters that will be written in accordance with the upcoming bylaws.
Strong and weak points of the law can be discovered only when it is implemented in accordance with its bylaws, said Dr Than Oo, former president of Myanmar Academy of Arts and Science who participated in drafting the law.
The bylaws of the National Education Law are nearly complete and would guarantee the formation of students’ unions, academic freedom and autonomy of universities and institutes, which are included in the demands of the students, he added.
The ministry will implement academic freedom step by step as the country has not yet “enough intellectual capacity”, Union Minister Dr Daw Khin San Yi said.
The work committee drafting the National Education Law took more than two years writing the statue enacted by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw on 30 September.
More than 400 students ended their four-day protest in downtown Yangon on Monday, sending an ultimatum to the government to hold a dialogue with them on amending the National Education Law within 60 days or they will stage nation-wide protests against the law.—GNLM