National Education Bill: student marches begin

National Education Bill: student marches begin

Dozens of students who oppose the National Education Bill have begun two marches to Rangoon, one from Mandalay in central Burma and the other from Tavoy in the southern coastal region of Tenasserim.

Both protest rallies set off on Tuesday morning to mark the 60-day deadline that the students had given to the government to negotiate on education legislation.

A column of student protesters left from Loka Marazein Pagoda in Tavoy, officially known as Dawei, at 7am on Tuesday, while a simultaneous march left from Mandalay.

The Committee for Democratic Education Movement, a group leading the protests, said both groups are expected to arrive in Rangoon in two weeks when they plan to set up a rally camp.

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The journey by foot from Tavoy to central Rangoon is over 670 km (419 miles) while Mandalay to Rangoon is 633 km.

“Student unions have objected to the National Education Law ever since it was at the drafting stage,” said Swe Linn Tun, the Mandalay district chair of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions, speaking to DVB in November. “This law centralises control with the government, offers no guarantee for freedom of education, and does not include provisions to allow for the forming of student unions.”

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