Feb 3, 2009 (DVB), As the national tenth standard examinations draw closer in Burma, parents, teachers and students have expressed their concerns about the quality of teaching in standard schools and the level of preparation for the exam.
A parent in a Rangoon suburban complained about the discrepancy in the standard of education for children studying small government schools compared to those in private schools in the cities.
Some prominent schools have invited university professors to give intensive lectures to students in preparation for the examinations.
A private chemistry tutor in Myin Chan said he was giving crash courses to prepare his students.
"They have come as far as passing the ninth grade in their schools despite the poor teaching systems and now I can only give them crash courses to pass the tenth grade exams," he said.
"Normally chemistry has to be taught through practical lessons in a laboratory but that wouldn’t happen in our country. So I can only teach them the theory."
A tenth grade student in Myin Chan said he and his fellow students were finding it hard to study in the evenings as the electricity is out most of the time.
"We don’t have much time to review our studies in the daytime as we also have to go to school and private tuition," he said.
"It’s difficult to read by candlelight at night."
The Education Ministry recently set out a new regulation to improve school attendance by disallowing students with low attendance levels from sitting the exam.
A high school teacher in Rangoon said the move was intended to improve school attendance but was unlikely to increase students' attention in classes.
Students in the tenth grade often skip school classes due to the poor quality of the teaching and rely instead on private tuition.
"The minister doesn’t like the students being absent from school, so he brought in this regulation of not letting students with low attendance to sit the final exam," the teacher explained.
"The students only pay attention to their tutors," he said.
"They get so tired from the extra tuition that they can’t concentrate at school and they are very disrespectful to their teachers too."
Reporting by Yee May Aung