Friday, August 18, 2017

MOE abolishes rules curtailing student participation in political activities

The Ministry of Education has cancelled all rules that curtailed the participation of students in political activities beginning coming school year, a senior official told The Myanmar Times on Thursday.

“Political activities, immoral and disobedience to the universities regulations carry criminal penalties. We canceled the rules that are not updated. Regulations on political activities that carries criminal penalties will be cancelled in the coming school year,” said Dr Aung Aung Min,Deputy Director General for the Department of Higher Education.

Prior to the cancellation, section (d) of the University Entrance Guide Book, political activities carried criminal penalties and the highest criminal penalties was expulsion from the universities.

There were six offenses related to restrictions in students’ participation in political activities that have been cancelled.

“Every issue of the citizen in this country is political. That’s why education, social, economic…those all are political. But, in the past, the authoritarian governments that governed the country they think these issues threatened their authority. That’s why they set up the rules curtailing students from engaging in political activities. That rule should no longer exist today,” said Dr Zaw Myo Hlaing, Lecture for Physics Department of Kyaukse University.

“This present government has been chosen by the people and those rules that the people considered not in line with what the public wants should be cancelled. For me, I happily welcome this change,” he continued.

Ko Zaw Ye Htut, who was expelled from the Sagaing Education College in May due to protest in front of the Upper Myanmar branch of the Higher Education Department building in Mandalay on April 26, welcomed the news.

He and his friends claimed that the administration at Sagaing Education College was oppressive and did not allow students to use their mobile phones two days a week. They also alleged that there were human rights abuses.

After that he requested for a review of the regulations in universities and colleges.

“I think the rules should be democratic. Students now can participate widely in the political sector,” Ko Zaw Ye Htut said, when asked of his reaction to the cancellation of regulations suppressing student participation in political activities.

He got the chance to attend the Sagaing Education College after negotiation with Ministry of Education in June.