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School opening delayed in cyclone-hit areas

May 30, 2008 (DVB), The start of the school term is likely to be delayed in many areas affected by the recent cyclone while schools are rebuilt, but efforts are underway to reopen as soon as possible.

One parent in Bogalay said the schools would not reopen until July, though this had not been officially announced.

"But the township’s educational administration chairman said they had been told by senior authorities that it would be postponed," the parent said.

"Parents in Bogalay can’t concentrate much on their children’s education at the moment. Everyone is desperate for food , that's their first priority."

The parent said that many families would find it hard to get the money for school fees for their children.

"The school entrance fee for a grade 9 student is 2500 kyat, but apparently the school’s headmistress has told school clerks to let children in whose families can’t afford to pay for it," he said.

"But apart from High School (1) in Bogalay, all the schools were knocked down by the cyclone and they haven’t been rebuilt yet."

According to the United Nations, more than 4000 basic education schools were damaged or destroyed by the cyclone, affecting around 1.1 million children.

The UN Children's Fund, UNICEF, has said it will work with the Burmese Ministry of Education to try to reopen schools in some of the affected areas by 2 June.

The joint project will focus on schools in more remote areas that have not yet been reached by aid agencies.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw


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