yanmar also called Burma has faced a strong strike of the COVID-19 virus “Over 3000 people died in Myanmar during the first two waves of the pandemic”. In correspondence with this sad event, a big change has arrived to the Myanmar People. 

On February 1, the Myanmar military stepped in, dismantled parliament, arrested state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, installed a state of emergency and a state administration council to govern Myanmar, until  new elections are held, which is supposed to happen in 2022. 

The military action happened unexpectedly for the whole country. It’s a giant competition between the two political groups NLD and the Military backed USDP. The conflict quickly became violent and created intense fear, among the Myanmar People who want Peace and Justice and hope for better times.

Teacher Dealing with Covid 19 & Military Coup

Curious how people in Myanmar are coping with COVID 19 and the military coup, I spoke with a senior assistant teacher who lives in a small town,  an hour's drive from Yangon. Her school has closed since the COVID-19 pandemic so she stays at home.

Her school which is situated in the village

“During the pandemic time, I have started to teach the children who were far from their lessons as an educational charity via online learning”

This is her story about her current situation and her vision for the future of education in Myanmar: I have worked as a senior assistant teacher at the High School of the village about 5 miles far away  from my town. Every day, I go there on my cycle. During the pandemic time, I have started to teach the children who were far from their lessons as an educational charity via online learning. Unfortunately, the mobile internet was cut off because of the unstable political situation. Now, all my online teaching has stopped. Currently, I’m helping with the domestic work at home and I’m selling crops from our farmland. As the amount of money I get from selling crops is small, it covers only the basic needs of my family. I feel depressed sometimes and I want this hard situation to pass very soon and return to the ordinary old times. My suggestion for my school is that some teachers need to alter their attitudes to their teaching profession. 

For this case, I suggest that the schools substitute the old-service teachers with well-trained teachers. Education is shaping the community. My expectation for our  future education is simple. We have to upgrade our pupils' skills according to 21st-century skills and teach them how to be humane in their whole life. In our new curriculum, our students should focus on the 5'Cs which are creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and citizenship which are called 21st-century skills. 

How she always teaches her students at school
“According to the new curriculum, we will teach our students to think about how to protect our country”

To get the right citizenship is our main purpose. For example, In geography, we teach our country's weather, land-side, agriculture etc. In the old curriculum, the teachers focussed on facts and knowledge, but according to the new one, we let our students think about how to prevent our country, towns, villages from coming disasters and how to upgrade agriculture in our country by adding more practical experiences. Students will be interested because Myanmar is an agricultural country and it’s the land where they will live. There are many ways to get involved in citizenship in other subjects. Just let the students think about purpose, loving our country, and upgrading their communities. Another important thing is to review the entrance of teaching professionals who are the main stem of education. The entrance of teaching professionals must change from the start. From my viewpoint, most of the teachers are not trained by professionals. The ministry referred many graduates from multiple fields to work in teaching positions. But they can't give enough training to them to become good teachers. 

There are not enough teachers who have received 2 years training from educational colleges or 5 years from educational universities. That's one of the weak points of the Ministry of Education and becomes the biggest challenge for our community standard.

Writer Remark:  I am wondering about her super hard-working for her pupils’ future with her limited resources. I see that she is the best teacher not only for her students but also for the education of Myanmar. Now she is waiting for a better condition by helping the neighbors’ kids. For the future, I wish for a higher education system with pervasive accessibility in Myanmar.

*** Website of Free Online Educational Institution Myanmar - https://foeim.org/edu/

May 8, 2021