Over 200 schools in Kayin (Karen) State are slated for an upgrade amid the Ministry of Education’s effort to invest more resources and place more teachers in 5,000 schools around the country this academic year.
“Sub-primary schools have been upgraded to primary schools. Self-help basic schools are being upgraded to sub-primary schools. Middle schools are upgraded to sub-high school level. Children now have more learning opportunities,” said U Myint Soe, Kayin State’s Education Officer.
He added that Kayin State’s upgrades targeted communities without access to schools, where students were forced to either relocate to continue their education or drop out.
“It’s safer for students to continue to live with their parents in their own villages instead of having to stay in another place to attend school,” he told KIC News on June 12. The move is also hoped to promote retention.
According to the Ministry of Education’s May 23 announcement, 5,099 schools have been upgraded across the country, including 13 high schools, 43 middle schools, 66 primary schools, and a handful of sub-schools in Kayin State.
Part of the upgrades includes deploying more teachers.
“There were only seven staff members in our sub-high school. Now that the school has been upgraded to full high school level, we have 12 teachers,” said Daw Maw Maw Lwin, headmistress of Kya Khat Chaung High School in Kya-in Seikkyi township.
“Students will be able to sit the 9th Standard exam in their own school now. We will receive science labs and teaching aids in line with high school standards so the children don’t need to go far away to attend school. We have high expectations for the matriculation exam pass rate in our state,” she added.
Out of 13,637 students who took the matriculation exam in the Kayin State during the previous 2015-2016 academic year, 3,703 students passed, for a 27.2 percent success rate, compared to the national average of 29.9pc. Hlaingbwe township had the highest exam success rate, followed by Kya-in Seikkyi and Hpa-an townships.