Regime media announced that the junta has altered the Myanmar National Education Law to remove ethnic nationality languages from the main school curriculum on Oct. 29. The amended law includes 21 sections. Eighteen points from the Myanmar National Education Laws of 2014 and 2015 were replaced. Two paragraphs were added, while sections and subsections were removed from the laws. Sections that allow the formation of teachers’ and students’ unions in higher education institutions were removed by the junta. The law also renamed the National Education Policy Commission into the National Education Commission. This gives the commission direct control over education without input from the president and members of parliament.
Under the previous version of the law, Burmese, English, and ethnic nationality languages, could be used as the main teaching languages in classrooms. The new version of the law stipulates that only Burmese language can now be used to communicate in classrooms at Basic Education level schools. The Development Media Group (DMG), a Rakhine State-based media outlet, reported that the Rakhine Students’ Union (RSU) opposes the junta’s revision of the law. The RSU states that the law is now discriminatory and intended to wipe out ethnic minority languages in Burma.
“The altercation to the law erases everything about mother languages which is an element of federal education. We have not accepted the military council and fought against them since the beginning. We are not recognizing laws enacted or amended by the junta,” said Min Lwin Oo, a committee member of Democracy Movement Strike Committee-Dawei. Min Lwin Oo participated in a 2015 students’ strike against the previous version of the Myanmar National Education Law. The law was enacted in September 2014 and was revised in June 2015 after the successful Democratic Education Strike Campaign led by students.