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Economic, Social and Cultural issues
In this and the following sections the material is divided into Texts and Commentary. The texts may be adopted laws ("Laws", "Acts") or bills (legislation proposed but not yet adopted) or implementing instruments ("rules", "regulations", "directives", "notifications", "procedures" etc.)

  • Education

    • Laws, decrees, bills and regulations relating to education (commentary)

      Websites/Multiple Documents

      Title: Monywa Students Protest Education Bill
      Date of publication: 25 September 2014
      Description/subject: "Students from Monywa University in Sagaing Division on Wednesday launched a campaign opposing the National Education Bill. The controversial bill, passed by parliament at the end of July, has been a subject of criticism among educators and students alike. Several student protests have been held around the country, claiming that the new bill would centralise decision-making and grant too much power to the Ministry of Education. Around 50 students from the Monywa University Students’ Union Network on Wednesday distributed leaflets and spoke to fellow students at the gate to the campus, explaining why they believed the National Education Bill should be rejected. “We demand the abolition of the National Education Commission and the Coordination Committee for Higher Education (CCHE), which both centralise control of our education,” said San Wai Phyo, coordinator of the Monywa University Students Union Network. “We want to see the inclusion of articles in the bill that allow freedom to students and lecturers to form associations and unions at their campus.” The protestors at Monywa University also called for a tri-lingual education system – in Burmese, English, and ethnic languages – which, they said, would promote ethnic unity in the multinational Union of Burma. A clause in chapter four of the draft National Education Bill said centralisation of power would be decreased only if teachers and lecturers “display good conduct and attitude”, which students deemed an insult to teachers and education staff. University students across Burma, since March this year, have been campaigning against the bill, even before it was approved by parliament. The CCHE to date has not responded to their calls. San Wai Phyo said the Monywa student protestors will now step up their campaign in solidarity with student associations from other universities."
      Author/creator: Nang Mya Nadi
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: "Democratic Voice of Burma"
      Format/size: html
      Date of entry/update: 26 September 2014


      Title: MPs to Vote on Education Bill
      Date of publication: 22 September 2014
      Description/subject: "The National Education Bill was approved by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw on July 31. Faced with the choice of signing it into law or proposing changes, President U Thein Sein sent it back with 25 suggestions. On September 11, the Joint Bill Committee delivered its report to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, recommending representatives approve 19 of the president’s proposed changes and reject six, including one that would delay the full introduction of reforms from 2019 to 2027. U Myat Nyarna Soe, secretary of the Amyotha Hluttaw Education Development Committee, said he was hopeful MPs would vote in line with the committee’s recommendation. “The government needs to undertake reforms to give universities real autonomy within five years,” he said. The Joint Bill Committee also rejected the president’s suggestions to make both primary and middle school free and compulsory, instead advising MPs to opt for the original version, which states that free and compulsory basic education should be implemented “step by step” throughout primary, middle and high school. It also rejected the president’s request to remove a provision requiring the government to get parliamentary approval when forming the National Education Committee, and to place some universities under the responsibility of other government ministries, such as defence and religious affairs. If the original version is maintained, military training schools, such as the elite Defence Service Academy, will become independent."...
      Author/creator: Wa Lone
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Myanmar Times
      Alternate URLs: www.mmtimes.com
      Date of entry/update: 26 September 2014


      Title: Burma’s Teachers Chime in on Education Reform
      Date of publication: 15 September 2014
      Description/subject: "Opposition to Burma’s National Education Bill continues to grow as the draft moves closer to approval. The Myanmar Teachers Federation (MTF) has joined the long list of students and educators that oppose the legislation. “We would like to announce to the people that we strongly believe the National Education Law affects not only the education sector but the entire country and the people,” the MTF said in a statement released on Monday. “Therefore, the Myanmar Teachers Federation will fully cooperate with student unions across the country who are pushing for education reform that will truly benefit the country.” Related Stories The bill, drafted by the government’s Education Promotion Implementation Committee (EPIC) and submitted to parliament in March 2014, was recently passed by both houses of parliament and now awaits the president’s signature. Controversial from the outset, the bill has sparked heated demonstrations in Mandalay, Sagaing and Rangoon divisions. The bill’s detractors claim that the education reform process lacks transparency and could ultimately serve to centralise education, granting too much power to the government. History has shown a tendency to marginalise minorities through the education system, which is in poor shape after decades of fiscal and administrative neglect."...
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Democratic Voice of Burma
      Alternate URLs: www.dvb.no
      Date of entry/update: 26 September 2014


      Title: ‘We Will Create an All-Inclusive Education System’
      Date of publication: 08 September 2014
      Description/subject: "In late July, the Union Parliament approved the National Education Bill and the legislation, which is still awaiting approval by the president, is meant to overhaul Burma’s derelict education system. Under previous military governments, the system suffered from neglect, underfunding and outdated teaching methods. The new bill includes a range of reforms for all education levels, but has come in for criticism from independent organizations, who said it continues unnecessary central government controls on education. In the basic education sector, the bill strives to ensure enrollment of every school-age child, provision of free schooling and the use of student-centered teaching methods. San San Yi, director of the Ministry of Education’s No. 3 Basic Education Department, spoke with The Irrawaddy about how the new legislation would change basic education in Burma."...
      Author/creator: HTET NAING ZAW
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: The Irrawaddy
      Date of entry/update: 26 September 2014


      Title: New law to see private universities use State curriculum
      Date of publication: 03 July 2014
      Description/subject: "Currently private universities are responsible for their own curriculum and many receive assistance in developing their courses from foreign universities. This will change after the National Educational Bill, which was submitted to parliament earlier this year, is enacted, said the official, who asked not to be named. “By the time the National Education Law is enacted, the curriculums of those private universities have to be [the same as] those of the state-owned universities,” the official said. He insisted that this would “not degrade” the standards of the private sector. “If they cannot teach it, we cannot recognise those schools. If every school teaches their own curriculum, we cannot know which school is better.” Private universities, of which there are more than 10 in Myanmar, say they are opposed to the provision in the draft law. U Nay Win Naing from Victoria College said students would lose out if the law is passed in its current form. “We are opening this university in this country and so we are going to follow this country’s law. However, the curriculum should not be degraded. If this happens, students will lose out,” he said. The NLD, which has been at the forefront of the push for education reform, is in favour of private universities being independent. It argues that rather than force private universities to adhere to the state curriculum, the state universities should raise their standards to those of the private sector."...
      Author/creator: May Thinzar Naing
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: "Myanmar Times"
      Format/size: html
      Alternate URLs: http://www.mmtimes.com/
      Date of entry/update: 26 September 2014


      Title: Higher Education Bill Scrapped over Lack of University Autonomy
      Date of publication: 26 August 2012
      Description/subject: "In a major upset, the Education Ministry’s higher education bill was rejected during the final stages of its passage through Myanmar’s Hluttaw, or parliament, after opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other legislators criticised it. It is the first time that the lower house has scrapped an entire bill rather than amending it. A new bill to increase university autonomy and place institutions on the road to international competitiveness will be drafted by legislators after the proposed bill was thrown out on 31 July because it would not allow universities enough freedom. Amendments would not be sufficient, Aung San Suu Kyi said, requesting parliament “to bring about a bill that is more suitable, for this country, this era and this world”. Suspension of the ministry’s bill would “enable the Hluttaw to discuss a higher education bill that is more comprehensive, brings more benefit to the country and represents the voice of the students,” said Thein Nyunt, the MP responsible for putting forward the eleventh-hour motion to scrap the bill. Legislators said the ministry’s proposed bill simply mirrored the system set up by the previous military regime, and blamed government control of universities for the collapse of higher education standards in recent decades."...
      Author/creator: Naw Say Phaw Waa
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: University World News
      Alternate URLs: www.universityworldnews.com
      Date of entry/update: 25 September 2014


      Individual Documents

      Title: University Students Union Opposes Education Bill
      Date of publication: 10 September 2014
      Description/subject: "The University Students Union released a statement on Wednesday denouncing the National Education Bill; at the same time it launched an awareness campaign in front of the University for Computer Studies, 25km north of Rangoon. A spokesperson for the students’ union, commonly known in Burma as the ta-ka-tha, said the event was not a demonstration but rather “a gathering to raise awareness about the weaknesses of the education bill”, and that they had timed it to meet students who were entering the campus to sit for exams on Wednesday morning. The draft National Education Bill awaits the president’s signature since being approved by both houses of parliament in late July. Controversial from the outset, the bill’s detractors claim that it was drafted unilaterally and without enough transparency. Last month, a group of almost 100 students gathered at Mandalay’s Yadanabon University to voice opposition to certain aspects of the bill, claiming that it creates excessive restrictions on the formation of student unions and centralises Burma’s education system. Related Stories The All Burma Federation of Students Unions, or ba-ka-tha, has also released statements opposing the current draft of the Education Bill, as has the National Network for Education Reform, an independent oversight body. Burma has a high literacy rate – 93 percent, according to World Bank data released in 2012. However, the country’s education system was stymied under decades of military rule, and remains sorely short of highly-skilled instructors. The budget allocated for education in Burma is under six percent of national spending."
      Author/creator: KAUNG HTET KYAW
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Democratic Voice of Burma
      Date of entry/update: 26 September 2014


  • Religion

    • Laws, decrees, bills and regulations relating to religion (commentary)

      Individual Documents

      Title: Law and Religion in Burma
      Date of publication: April 2001
      Description/subject: "Burma was annexed by the British through the three wars in 1824-1826, 1852-1853 and 1885-1886. When colonial rule started, it was British policy (as in other British colonies) not to interfere with local religion. The British did not want to create further confrontations. If they had not adopted this policy, there would have been more uprisings and more discontent among the people. And that would have endangered the position of the British. The policy reflected the experience of the colonial administrators in the implementation of colonial rule in India in the 18th century...Although according to the regime there is religious freedom in Burma, the reality is that there is religious discrimination. The junta is suppressing Muslims and Christians in order to disperse them, while it pretends to promote Buddhism. Buddhism is promoted by the military at the expense of other religions to increase SPDC?s nationalism. The generals systematically use propaganda in their attempts to falsely convince the Buddhists that the military regime is representing their interests.49 Such is the state of Law and Religion in Burma today. Under the cloak of law, Buddhists are suppressed and the Sangha curtailed, as these are among the most active in the struggle for the restoration of democracy and human rights."
      Author/creator: Peter Gutter
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: "Legal Issues on Burma Journal" No. 8 (Burma Lawyers' Council)
      Alternate URLs: The original (and authoritative) version of this article may be found in http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/Legal%20Issues%20on%20Burma%20Journal%208.pdf
      Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003