18 Nov Students put protest over education law on hold, call for talks

Written by Nang Myint Published in Education Read 2767 times
Students say they will take a break and wait for the government to respond to their calls to rewrite the National Education Law. Students protest the new law in Yangon on November 15, 2014. Photo: Hein Htet/Mizzima Students say they will take a break and wait for the government to respond to their calls to rewrite the National Education Law. Students protest the new law in Yangon on November 15, 2014. Photo: Hein Htet/Mizzima

The government has 60 days to engage in talks with student leaders or larger scale demonstrations will be held, say students protesting against the new National Education Law.

Ko Nanda Sit Aung, a committee member of the Democracy Education Movement said, “If the government does not negotiate with us within 60 days, we will fuel further boycotts across the nation.”

November 17 witnessed the fourth consecutive day of the student protests, with a reported more than 300 students marching downtown from Sanpya Cinema to Maha Bandoola Park where they faced Yangon City Hall, before marching to the Secretariat building and then on to Tamwe Township.

Despite the protest having not sought permission, therefore making it technically an illegal action, no police or barriers blocked the protest.

On the fourth day of protest, the students recited poems in chorus, and a collection of political organisations issued statements in support of the protest.

Although Higher Education Department officials talked with the students on the third day of protest, the students said no government officials had come forward to negotiate with the students.

The National Education Law was approved by President U Thein Sein on September 30 after it was passed by parliament. On November 12-13, university students from across Myanmar held an emergency meeting in response at the Thukha Hall of the Free Funeral Service Association in Yangon. Student representatives expressed their objection to the law and called for a boycott and protests to push for a new education law in line with democratic principles.