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Reuters-Myanmar resumes first-year

Subject: Reuters-Myanmar resumes first-year medicine classes 

Myanmar resumes first-year medicine classes
06:47 a.m. May 11, 1999 Eastern
YANGON, May 11 (Reuters) - Myanmar's military government has allowed the
resumption of classes for first-year medical students for the first time
since 1996, when it shut down universities after student unrest.

``First-year classes were opened at three medical institutes, the Institute
of Dental Medicine, the Institute of Paramedical Sciences, and the Institute
of Pharmacy last week,'' a Health Ministry official told Reuters on Tuesday.

He said nearly 750 students had been admitted to the first-year classes in
Yangon and Mandalay and were ``peacefully and eagerly pursuing their
studies.'' Official media has made no mention of the reopening of the

The government closed about 30 universities and colleges in mid-December
1996 following the biggest student demonstrations seen in Yangon since a
nationwide pro-democracy uprising crushed by the military in 1988.

Although higher year medical classes resumed some time ago, most
universities and colleges under the Ministry of Education remain closed,
keeping an estimated 300,000 students away from classes.

The universities have been closed for most of the period since the
student-led uprising in 1988.

Opponents of the military government have slammed its failure to reopen
them. The government blames the pro-democracy opposition, which it accuses
of inciting student unrest.