Trainee teacher wants to ‘improve Myanmar’s education system’ after army shuts down government schools

A classroom at St Aloysius Gonzaga, where pupils study a broad curriculum.

An aspiring teacher in Myanmar said he desperately wants to “give something back” to the people of his country, which remains in the grip of a brutal civil war.

Khin Oo*, from the state of Southern Shan, has set his sights on giving lessons to those in his community who might otherwise struggle to get an education following the 2021 military coup d’état.

After the army seized power, government schools were shut down – only those who can afford private schooling or are on scholarships can continue to study.

Khin Oo has opposed the military junta’s actions. He took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement – widespread strikes and protests following the coup – and worked as a medic supporting soldiers battling the army.

Villages have been targeted in air strikes during the conflict

He was then given the opportunity to further his education, being granted a scholarship at St Aloysius Gonzaga College (SAG).

He is studying to qualify as a teacher and plans to use the skills he is acquiring to give an education to those who haven’t had the same opportunities as him.

“Everything in our country is broken [because of the military coup],” Khin Oo said.

“My people are suffering from war, poverty and a lack of education for children. When I am a teacher, I will be able to give back and help those who have not had a chance. I hope I will be able to improve the education system in Myanmar.”

‘My people are suffering from war, poverty and a lack of education for children’

Khin Oo said he is grateful for the support he has received at SAG, particularly in how it has enabled him to improve his English.

He added that the curriculum has helped build his confidence and shown him how to set goals in life.

“I am learning social skills, leadership skills, time management skills – I understand people more,” he said.

“Before [SAG], I didn’t really know who I was. Now, I can define myself, and I want to help my people.”

*Name has been changed

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