Student activists have said that the government is attempting to buy time by creating delays with its scheduled “briefing sessions” on amendments to the National Education Law.
After the upper house on Tuesday invited representatives from several groups – including political parties, members of the public and student groups – to attend separate briefings in Naypyidaw between 5 and 15 March, the National Network for Education Reform (NNER) in a statement on Wednesday said that this plan was not in line with previous agreements.
The NNER statement said that the move aims to push students into confrontation with authorities by forcing them to act on their ultimatum, issued last week, vowing to resume their march to Rangoon if the bill is not officially accepted in parliament by 28 February.
NNER member Thu Thu Mar told DVB on Thursday that the plan to present briefs about the bill in the upper house is an irregular procedure for parliament and could be meant to buy the government more time.
“The parliament has announced a schedule for the bill briefing, and this has sparked a lot of questions for us. We believe that the briefing should meet the preconditions agreed in the four-way talks. We agreed that representatives from all four parties from the talks [in February] should be present during the bill briefing in the parliament, but should not be briefed separately. Because of this, we may have to re-discuss the plan,” said Thu Thu Mar, speaking to DVB on Thursday.
Representatives of parliament, the government, the NNER and the Committee for Democratic Education Movement attended negotiations in February which led to an apparent breakthrough in agreement on amendments to the controversial National Education Law.