Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds /Milk Tea Alliance
The people of Myanmar are not just fighting against a military government. They want a complete social revolution that includes the education system. The following thread published by allies of the Myanmar movement for democracy describes the system of ‘education’ that was instituted by the military during their last dictatorship. It shows how the education system is used to create and enforce obedience, militarization and authoritarianism. This is why Myanmar parents and students are also striking against the school systems and shutting them down.
Thread #1: 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝘀𝗼 𝘄𝗿𝗼𝗻𝗴 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗦𝗔𝗖 𝗲𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗶𝗻 𝗠𝘆𝗮𝗻𝗺𝗮𝗿?
This is a very long thread, but we put this out because we feel it is very important matter not many have spoken out.
We also want people, especially foreigners, to know the reasons why we are adamant on rejecting SAC education, and why that matters. We currently have a campagin going on to reject SAC education. See here for more
In addition to supporting CDM teachers, there are several factors why citizens reject SAC education. Following is a personal experience and opinion of someone who lived through the life of students of primary, secondary and tertiary education system in Myanmar.
Education system in Myanmar can be summarised as such
𝟭. 𝗗𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗸
𝟮. 𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺 𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗶𝘁
𝟯. 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘀𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗹𝗮𝗿𝗴𝗲𝗹𝘆 𝗼𝘂𝘁𝗱𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱 & impractical to apply back in real life.
1. Destory the ability to think
All subjects must be learnt by heart aka parrot learning. Even subjects that require to think creatively like maths and Science must be memorized words by words.
Students are forced to copy directly what is already printed on the textbook as homework, and expected to write back the exact same words with no room for errors, such as misplacing punctuation, during exams.
Eassys, Analysis of poem & famous novel excerpt face the same situation. Teachers will write those eassys, and analysis by themselves and distribute those to students to make them memorize word by word and wrote that back in exam.
Freedom to solve a maths problem in different methods than taught by the teacher is greatly frowned upon. So does writing a definition of theory in the student own interpretation. In many cases, this leads to teacher completely refuses to give any marks for that.
The only subject that gives the student freedom is perhaps eassys. Even then it is common for students to copy from already existed eassy book published by famous teachers. Such eassy could receive high marks without the teacher source checking.
2. Discourage the team spirit
Arts, Sports, Social time, and Health & Sex education are greatly discouraged by teachers in favor of forcing students to learn by heart of already written textbook.
Teachers do such for the sake of finishing the course for a semester ASAP so that the ministry won’t pressure them should they didn’t manage to finish courses on time before exam.
Such subjects are important in building teamwork among peers and students were always denied of such. Courses are taught as fast as possible, with no regards to the students actual understanding of the subjects.
Marking system in school is one of the biggest factors that discourages the students to collaborate with friends. Ranks are not decided as A, B, C, D. Instead the system is based on 100-mark system.
Students who received all 100 mark on all subjects get the top spot in the class and doted by everyone as geniuses. But the sad reality is, they obtain such ranking by inputting none of their thinking, but by memorization of already existed materials.
Since art, sports, and social time are always overlooked and often decided by teachers as unnecessary subjects, students couldn’t bond over those times too.
Students are also further divided by teachers and parents based on their ranking in class, regardless of their performance in art or sports is outstanding or not.
Students who get low ranking in class often 𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗲𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗱 𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗯𝗮𝗹, 𝗽𝗵𝘆𝘀𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝘀𝗲𝘅𝘂𝗮𝗹 𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗮𝘂𝗹𝘁 from both teachers and parents.
Eg: Students (regardless of gender) were often 𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗰𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗽 𝗽𝗮𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗴𝗼𝘁 𝘄𝗵𝗶𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗯𝗼𝘁𝘁𝗼𝗺𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗻𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗵𝗼𝗹𝗲 𝗰𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘀 by teacher when they have the lowest mark in a subject or disobey teacher.
They were often 𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗰𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗶𝗻 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗻𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗰𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗴𝗲𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗮𝗹𝘀 𝗼𝗻 𝗳𝘂𝗹𝗹 𝗱𝗶𝘀𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘆 𝗮𝘀 𝗮 𝗽𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘀𝗵𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁.
Students are often whipped with canes as punishment too. In some cases, the teachers hit the students to the point of drawing blood and leaving scars.
Those punishment left many students with 𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗹 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝘂𝗺𝗮, 𝗱𝗲𝗲𝗽 𝘀𝗵𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗳𝗲𝗮𝗿 𝗼𝗳 𝘀𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘇𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗹𝗶𝘃𝗲𝘀. And often disregarded by their parents as useless children even after school.
Such scars never healed for a lot. Most of them never managed to work in professional field and ended up in physical labor field for they think they are useless since they failed at school.
Most surprising factor is parents encourage such actions by teachers. They sincerely believe it is for the good of the children. Although such practices are getting more frowned upon as parents got more educated, such punishment are still largely in practice.
Teachers give tuition in addition to their school teaching since they earn bare minimum from school. Giving tuition is a way to keep themselves and their families afloat.
Thus, leads to forcing students at school to come to their tuitions so that they can give tips for upcoming exams and proper notes.
Some even go to the point of not teaching anything useful for exam at school and only teach those in their own tutitions.
Students who couldn’t afford their tuitions are further divided again by teachers and classmates. They also are the ones who often have to endure humiliating punishments by teachers.
3. Courses are largely outdated & impractical to apply back in real life
Most textbooks have been in use since decades ago, many infos are neither updated nor reformed.
In addition to having to memorize words by words of such textbook, student also face the problems of such information so outdated it has almost no use outsides school.
Since social time are often overlooked, students almost never develop the habits of working with teams or communicating properly to finish a work with their peer.
This poses a great problem later when they work in company projects, which often cause distain and miscommunication among team, since most never learn how to corporate with team members back in school or even in university.
Such reasons are why SAC education must be rejected and replaced with a nurturing system that encourage the student to express their thought freely and to collaborate with their peers.
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