Burma, Especially Its Children – Post 12: Schooling in the Country

 

As noted in a recent post, much depends on the income level of your family. The same is true of schooling. Unfortunately, many children from poor families must drop out of school as soon as they are old enough to work and contribute to the family’s income.

 

There is a range of options for public and private schools, but I was only able to observe a few. These photos (except for the last three) were taken at a government-run school in a village named West Pwa Saw.

 

Bagan, Burma, Myanmar. West Pwa Saw School.

 

The students were focused on learning, even though some rooms had as many as 70 children in a class.

 

Bagan, Burma, Myanmar. West Pwa Saw School.

 

Bagan, Burma, Myanmar. West Pwa Saw School.

 

There were no computers or fancy equipment. However, teacher-made charts on the wall show that children were tackling some complicated subjects.

 

Bagan, Burma, Myanmar. West Pwa Saw School.

 

Bagan, Burma, Myanmar. West Pwa Saw School.

 

In a primary classroom, the youngest students practiced their letters in a corner by themselves.

 

Bagan, Burma, Myanmar. West Pwa Saw School.

 

The children’s neat handwriting of the complicated Burmese characters was astonishing. The students also learn to read and write English.

 

Bagan, Burma, Myanmar. West Pwa Saw School.

 

The kids ran and played at free time very energetically – and this was in 80+ degree heat! (80+ degrees in the winter, by the way!)

 

Bagan, Burma, Myanmar. West Pwa Saw School.

 

Bagan, Burma, Myanmar. West Pwa Saw School.

 

As mentioned before, many children from poor families have to drop out of school to help support their families. One other option open to poor families who want their children to get an education is to send them to the monastery. In addition to ensuring the child gets an education, this means one less mouth to feed at home.

 

Mandalay, Burma, Myanmar. Mya Set Kyar Nunnery.

 

Placing your child in a monastery is also a good way to keep your child from being drafted by the military (which the general population does not support) or snatched as a child soldier in the Western border area, where there are warlords and unrest.

 

Mandalay, Burma, Myanmar. Mandalay Hill

 

The down side to this option is that you don’t see very much of your child. The monastery is usually far enough away that frequent visits are impossible. A yearly visit to or from your child is often the most that can be expected.

 

Bagan, Burma, Myanmar. Buddhist Monk Novices.

   Read Post 13