Friday, September 22, 2017

6000 school buildings in ‘dangerous’ need of upkeep: deputy minister

Nearly 6000 school buildings are so badly in need of repairs that they are considered “dangerous”, according to a Ministry of Education official.

U Win Maw Tun, deputy minister for education, said yesterday at the first day of the Amyotha Hluttaw’s third session after a month-long recess that fixing the damaged buildings is an urgent concern.

“When the minister for education conducted field tests, he found that there are about 6000 dangerous school buildings, which are necessary to repair,” he said.

He added that field inspections were conducted at school buildings throughout each state and region.

“Led by the Union minister for education, the directors general, including me, inspected the dangerous buildings, damaged buildings and buildings in need of repair,” U Win Maw Tun said.

During the hluttaw session, two MPs put forward proposals for constructing new schools in underserved areas of Rakhine and Shan states.

MP U Kyaw Ni Naing (USDP; Shan State 11) proposed putting up a new school building at Aike Kyaw Kyaing Basic Education Primary School in Shan State’s Laukkai township.

Lawmaker U Kyaw Than (Arakan National Party; Rakhine 11) said Hin Sa Ne Basic Education High School in Manaung township is badly in need of more classroom space, proposing a new two-storey building be erected.

MPs also discussed dismantling Aye Yeik Nyein ward’s high school building in Tanintharyi Region’s Kawthoung township, as the structure has fallen into disrepair and needs to be rebuilt before the next school year.

U Win Maw Tun accepted the proposals and said work would be carried out to fix school buildings in the coming 2017-18 fiscal year, but he asked parliament to consider allotting more money for the job.

“All the proposals will be carried out under the budget of the coming 2017-18 fiscal year. I want to request the Amyotha Hluttaw Speaker and all the hluttaw representatives to re-examine the earmarked budget. We can implement what the Amyotha Hluttaw, the Pyithu Hluttaw and the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw assign us to do,” he said.

Myanmar has historically spent less on education as a share of GDP than its regional peers. Education spending fell to 0.7 percent of GDP in the 2011-12 fiscal year. Although this rose from 1.6pc in 2012-13 to 2.1pc in 2013-14, the ASEAN average is 3.6pc.

President U Htin Kyaw has pledged to increase public spending on education, healthcare and social security. A 5pc commercial tax on mobile phones collected by the Internal Revenue Department is expected to generate K7.5 billion, with the extra tax income slated for use in the education sector.

Translation by San Layy