After-affect of sectarian violence: Schools remain closed in northern Arakan

( Maungdaw, 7 June 2013): The first June is the opening day for the government schools in Burma, but a number of schools in rural areas of northern Arakan remain closed, alleged local residents. The reason behind the non-functioning of the institutions even after a week is understood to be the absence of teachers.

High-School-Arakan“It is because of the security reason. We cannot attend rural schools without the security cover. Hence we are still in the town areas where the security is not a problem,” disclosed Min Maung Than, a primary school teacher from Buthidaung.

Min Maung hails from Thandwe, a southern district town of Arakan and teaches in a school located in a Muslim dominated village. But he is still in Buthidaug and yet to join his duties. Mentionable is that Min Maung is one of many Buddhists who works in the government run primary schools located in Muslim villages under Buthidaung and Maungdaw township.

“We are Buddhist. We do not feel secured working in the Muslim localities. We are not convinced about the assurance of security by the authority. So we are yet to attend classes for our Muslim pupils,” he added.

Presently there is no report of violence in Buthidaaubg and Maungdaw township localities, but many teachers have not forgotten about the last year incidents those broke from the areas. A school teacher named U Maung Chan Tha was chopped to dead by his pupils during the clashes, said a female teacher Ma Nin Nin who hails form Maungdaw.

“Maung Chan Tha was a headmaster from Thari Konboung  village, who was killed by a group of his Muslim pupils last year. The incident took place when U Maung Chan Tha tried to intervene in an attack by a group of Muslims on his village. Not every teacher now reposes faith on the Muslim villagers,” she added.

The government has vowed to upgrade the education scenario in Buthidaung and Maungdaw areas, but many unseen hurdles have emerged like the fear of Buddhist teachers going to schools in Muslim localities. Nobody knows when these teachers would join their duties for the benefit of pupils.