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Mon Information Service (Bangkok) April 1998


20% drop in number of students in Con State

Of the total number of high school students estimated to be attending school
in Mon State's capital Moulmein in the 1997-98 academic year, over 20 per
cent are said to have not appeared in class at all due to common
impoverishment on one hand and common disappointment with the chronic
educational instability caused by the mismanagement of the ruling military
regime on the other. School
teachers had previously estimated that at least 10,000 high school students
(9th and 10th grades) from the area would be coming to school at the
beginning of the 1997-98 academic year. Practically, however, only 8,000
have come to school. Most of those students so leaving school were said to
go find job opportunities in order to support their impoverished parents.
Some of them have reportedly left to the neighbouring countries  --
Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore  --  in the hope of seeking better job
opportunities there.

The present ruling military regime, since it took over power through the
ruthless, bloody massacre of thousands of peacefully-demonstrating
pro-democracy students and people in 1988, has almost all the time kept on
closing the high schools and universities in the country, except few months
of opening period each year. The ruling military dictatorship, in constant
fear of possible student uprisings against its misrule, has thus failed to
open and properly run the schools and universities in the country. The
military regime has also dismissed many qualified university teachers who
were outspoken in expressing their unhappiness with its ruthless, brutal
crackdown on the student-led peaceful democracy movement. It has ordered all
the remaining teachers to strictly control their students not to launch and
take part in any demonstration against it in the future, threatening them
that if they fail to control their students accordingly, they will be
subjected to legal action. At the same time, it has similarly forced
students' parents into signing a formal agreement that they will be
responsible for keeping their children out of any opposition political

Mon Information Service (Bangkok)
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Charan-Snitwong Rd.
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