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Students forced to donate money to school

Jan 30, 2008 (DVB), High school students in Htayaw Sakhangyi village, Ma-au Bin township, have been forced to pay money towards new classrooms, causing many poorer students to leave the school.

Local officials and school headteacher Daw Thin Thin Nwe demanded that each student pay 15,000 kyat towards the classroom construction, according to one student.

"The headmistress and village Peace and Development Council officials were collecting 15,000 kyat from each student from the 2006/7 intake of students, which they said was for building new classrooms," the student said.

A new classroom was built, but the student said that the quality was very poor and it was not adequate for the students' needs.

The student estimated that around 70 percent of grade 9 and 10 students had been forced to leave the school because they could not afford to pay the 15,000 kyat.

Now officials are again collecting 15,000 kyat from the 2007/8 intake of students for the building of new classrooms.

One female student said that more students had been forced to leave the school this year because they were unable to pay.

"About 50 students from farming backgrounds had to quit school because they couldn't afford to pay the money that was demanded to build the new classrooms," she said.

Teachers also instructed the students not to tell officials from the education administration office about the forced donations when they carried out inspections at the school, and threatened them with expulsion if they said anything.

The students are now preparing to file a complaint against the headteacher and local authorities.

This village PDC office and the school's headmistress were unavailable for comment.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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