Education is the Best hope for Burma's Future...
Aung San Suu Kyi
The Burmese military authorities have maintained a stranglehold on every aspect of peoples’ lives, creatingaculture where there is neither freedom from fear, nor opportunity to criticize publicly – particularly in the field of education.
In Scotland we tend to take democracy, civil liberties and education for granted, but if you lived in Burma, it is a different world. The universities have been all but closed down, the government fearful that an educated youth will threaten its brutal dictatorship.
The latest in a line of military juntas seized power 19 years ago and since then; the country’s universities have only been open for 30 months. As one young Burmese man and BEST
grantee, Kyaw Kyaw Win, said: “Nowhere else would an entire
nation’s children be denied an education.”
UN figures show the military authorities allocate 222% more to military spending than to health and education combined. With just 44p per person per year spent on these basic human rights, it’s not surprising that 70% of children don’t even complete primary education. Millions of men, women and children work in forced labour in Burma and human rights abuses have become an everyday occurrence. The United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch repeatedly report a catalogue of abuses including murder, torture, rape, detention without trial and forced relocations. As a result, about 1.5 million refugees have fled Burma, many of them living in border camps in Thailand, Bangladesh and India.