Schools Still Quiet Without Students in Sittwe

Sitwe: Schools in Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State, were reopened Monday after they were closed for nearly a month due to the violent unrest in the city, but they remain quiet without the sound of reading and ringing bells as no student has come to attend class.

U Aung Mra Kyaw, a state parliament legislator from Sittwe, said no student has gone to attend school even though they were reopened on 25 June after being shut down for over 20 days.

“The government has now reopened the schools with an announcement posted up in front of the school buildings. But parents are still too worried to send their children, so the schools are still empty without students even though they are already reopened,” said U Aung Mra Kyaw.

A student from Ohntapin Ward in Sittwe also said the authorities had announced the schools in the town would be reopened on Monday, 25 June.

“We found the notice that announced school will be reopened on Monday at our school. But it is not possible for students to attend because they are worried for the security. Some of the students have lost their houses in the recent arson attacks and they are now uncertain if they will be able to continue their education,” said the student.

U Aung Mra Kyaw said the current situation in Sittwe is calm in appearance, but the residents are still overwhelmed with worries and fears.

“It causes a great suffering to our children in Arakan State because they are still unable to go to their schools during the time the children from other regions are happily going to their classes. There are still a lot of breaches in security and it is not possible for a student to go to school in such a worrisome situation,” he said.

Ko Kaung San from Wanlak Foundation, which is helping provide aid to those displaced by the recent violence in Sittwe, said the schools should not be opened because state of emergency is still in effect.

“The situation here is not reliable or stable yet. The state of emergency is still in force and I think the schools should not be opened in this situation,” he said.

Schools in Maungdaw Township, from where the violent unrest started in Arakan State, are still closed down. Many school-aged children and elderly from the area were reportedly moved by their families to Sittwe and safer areas in the region.