Teachers forced to buy portraits of president in Arakan State

Buthidaung: School teachers from Buthidaung in Arakan State said the education department in their area has forced them to buy portraits of the president U Thein Sein even though the price for the portrait is unaffordable to them.

The portrait forced to sell the teachers

8,000 kyat is said to have been cut from the salary of each teacher last November with the departmental order that every teacher must buy a portrait of the president.

The teachers said they would like to complain of the matter to the higher authorities of the department, but they are afraid to do so because their salary will again be cut again for the travel expenses of the officials who will come to investigate the matter.

“This is unfair, but we cannot complain to the responsible authorities. If we will do, the authorities will send a team to investigate and the expenses for the team will be cut from our salary, and the complainants will be suspended or transferred to the remote areas as well. So, it is useless to complain to the higher authorities”, said a female teacher.

A head-teacher also said there are other fees the township education department has regularly cut from the monthly salary of the teachers in Buthidaung.

“The township education department here has cut 2,500 kyat from the salary of a primary school teacher and 3,000 kyat from a middle and high school teacher for the sports fee. It has also cut 8,000 kyat from a teacher of middle and high schools with its order that every teacher of middle and high schools must buy a portrait of the president. As I am a head-teacher, total 11,000 kyat was cut from my salary last November”, said the head-teacher.

The teachers said the education department should provide the portraits of the president to the schools spending its own departmental budget and should not cut from their salaries.

They said their monthly salaries are hardly enough to cover their families’ living costs as they have been suffering from departmental salary cuts for many reasons every month as well as from high prices of commodities.

According to the teachers, the education department in Arakan State has been corrupted with bribes, discrimination, money-lending on interest and other unofficial activities besides the unofficial salary cut.