More than 100 schools in southern Chin State’s Paletwa Township are facing difficulties beginning a new academic year because they have no teachers, a government spokesperson said.
According to U Soe Htet, the state’s municipal minister, there are 118 schools that don’t have teachers for the 2019-2020 school year, and 94 schools that have only one teacher, meaning that a total of 212 schools are struggling with this shortage.
“Paletwa Township has regional instability. Therefore, school teachers don’t want to live here,” he said, referring to the multiple clashes between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army this year in the area.
He added that the lack of transportation infrastructure is also a major factor in teachers’ decisions to leave the area.
Teachers in government schools are permitted apply for a transfer to another place after serving for one year in Chin State; U Soe Htet said that most teachers from central Burma take advantage of this option and leave after their first year.
“This year, there are over 200 primary school teachers who transferred into other places, but about 10 school teachers replaced the vacant positions,” he explained. For middle school teachers—grades five to eight—42 left, but were only replaced by 23 new teachers.
One high school teacher left, he added, but two new teachers came in to teach grades nine and 10.
The Chin State government is preparing to hire private school teachers from central Burma, and offer them incentives, U Soe Htet said.
“About 3,500 people applied for private school teacher positions in Paletwa a few months ago. We already selected 191 people to appoint to these positions,” the minister explained. “Some people have already graduated and some just passed their high school [matriculation].”
There are more than 100,000 people living in Paletwa Township, which is home to 384 villages and some 400 schools. During the 2018-2019 academic year, there were 47 schools where there was no teacher.