KOMPAS.com - More than 125,000 schoolteachers in Myanmar have been suspended by military authorities for joining a civil disobedience movement to oppose the military coup in February, an official of the Myanmar Teachers' Federation said.
The suspensions have come days before the start of a new school year, which some teachers and parents are boycotting as part of the campaign that has paralyzed the country since the coup cut short a decade of democratic reforms.
A total of 125,900 schoolteachers had been suspended as of Saturday, said the official of the teachers' federation, who declined to give his name for fear of reprisals. He is on the junta's wanted list on charges of inciting disaffection.
Myanmar had 430,000 schoolteachers according to the most recent data, from two years ago.
"These are just statements to threaten people to come back to work. If they actually fire this many people, the whole system will stop," said the official, who is also a teacher. He said he had been told that the charges he faces would be dropped if he returns.
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Reuters was unable to reach a junta spokesman or the education ministry for comment. The state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper has called on teachers and students to return to schools to get the education system started again.
The disruption at schools echoes that in the health sector and across government and private business since the Southeast Asian country was plunged into chaos by the coup and the arrest of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Around 19,500 university staff have also been suspended, according to the teachers' group.
Registrations begin next week for the school term that starts in June, but some parents said they also plan to keep their children out of school.
"I am not going to enroll my daughter because I don't want to give her education from military dictatorship. I also worry about her safety," said 42-year-old Myint, whose daughter is 14.
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