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More than 7,800 school buildings in the country are unsafe or in a dilapidated condition, Burma’s Deputy Education Minister Thant Shin told the upper house on Wednesday.
The deputy minister, responding to a question from a military MP regarding proposed renovations for schools, said that 3,612 school buildings across the country are considered unsafe, while 4,275 more are in what he described as “an unsightly state”.
Thant Shin said the ministry is seeking a budget to repair 2,800 of the unsafe school buildings during the 2015-16 fiscal year, and the remainder the following year.
In June 2014, 17 students were injured – one seriously – when part of the upper floor of a government high school in Pegu Division collapsed. A local resident in the town of Padigon said at the time that the two-storey school building, built in the 1950s, had been deteriorating and was in need of drastic renovation.
Recent protests by students and activists against the controversial Education Law were put down violently in the Pegu town of Letpadan in March. One of the conditions students have been calling for is a dramatic increase in spending on education over the next five years, from under six percent as it stands now to a figure representing 20 percent of the national budget.
President Thein Sein pledged to increase health and education spending during a budget meeting in Naypyidaw on 7 January 2014, with the education budget set to increase from 5.43 to 5.92 percent.