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Burma to open private schools and hospitals

Nov 20, 2009 (DVB), Private schools and hospitals abolished under the former Ne Win regime in Burma are to reopen in an attempt to generate more revenue in the country and improve the struggling sectors.

The government's health ministry announced a 21-point criteria list for the opening of private hospitals starting from early next year.

Dr Kyee Myint, deputy director of the ministry's health department, said that candidate health centers who meet the 21 conditions will be granted permission to run as hospitals.

"We have already announced this in the news," he said. "This is a programme intended to bring profit to the nation by assisting in the development of private businesses."

Private schools will be allowed to open at the start of the 2010 academic year, the education ministry has announced.

Guidance was recently given to private boarding tuition centres to prepare for the transition, with statistics delivered on school size, location, number of buildings and teachers, planned budget and school administration structures.

"This is only to test the capability of the candidates," said Major Maung Latt, owner of Soe San boarding tuition in the capital, Naypyidaw, which has been flagged for consideration.

"Maybe in about one year, some government schools will be opened for auction [to replace with private schools]. Nothing is definite at the moment.

"It would be better for the education," he added. "Why should the private boarding tuition centers be in existence now if the government schools were good enough?"

Well-known private tuition centres in Burma charge between 1.5 million and two million kyat ($US1,500 to $US2,000) per student each year.

People working in the education sector in Burma have said the move could lead to the development of more education-based businesses in the country.

Private schools once existed in Burma, but were abolished by former military leader Ne Win's Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) government when it came to power in 1964.

Reporting by Ahunt Phone Myat


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