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The headmaster and the village headman sold off a school property in Irrawaddy Division, without providing any prior notification to the staff, trustees or villagers, claimed local residents of Sakhangyi village in Irrawaddy Division.
The Taw Phyar Primary School, located in Sakhangyi village, was established in 1958 and is constructed upon 2.6 acres of land that was donated by U Sein, a local resident. Since then, Sien has also been paying the property tax for the school property.
The land was allegedly sold four years ago without consent; the local residents learnt about the sale only when they applied to expand the school building and to construct a new building nearby.
The local land statistics office informed them that the land had been sold off to a private entity.
Infuriated by the sale of the school land, villagers voiced their dissent. A villager told DVB that, “Even if they wanted to sell the land they should have consulted with the parents and the village authorities. Instead they sold the land and it is now owned by someone else.”
The village headman, Soe Win, who is also accused of being involved in the deal, had earlier also in 2001, tried to construct a school building on a plot of land used for animal breeding without the consent of local authorities, the villagers claimed.
Despite filing a complaint with the town administrator, the issue remains unresolved. The school was notified regarding a merger with another school, which is one mile away from Sakhangyi. The education department has reportedly stopped sending teachers to the school since the fracas began.
“The school has been here for generations and teachers came and taught here every year. However, the administrator has not allowed the teachers to come this year. The students are still waiting at the school for teachers to arrive since the term started,” said a local resident.
Locals said that they are dissatisfied and have notified the authorities. However, residents have since updated DVB, saying that the town administrator read them an order threatening to tear down the school.
“He told us that if the local people do not agree to the proposed merger of the two schools and continue to obstruct the demolition, then legal action would be taken against them,” claimed a villager.