Disability Federation Criticizes Education Ministry for Discrimination

By Zue Zue 3 February 2017

RANGOON — The Burma Federation of Persons with Disabilities has criticized the Ministry of Education for its discriminatory practices.

The federation held a press conference on Wednesday in Rangoon, where it released a statement that said people with disabilities were having their rights violated.

“People with disabilities are losing their fundamental rights and citizen’s rights. We hope concerned government authorities will be aware of this and prevent it in the future,” said federation chairman U Aung Ko Myint.

The federation released the statement in response to an advertisement issued by the education ministry inviting applicants to apply to education colleges as well as a teaching preparatory diploma course organized by the ministry.

The advertisement said that people would not be selected if they were found to have disabilities, be transgender, or lack the typical attributes of a teacher.

Meanwhile, disabled students—specifically those with paralysis and congenital malformations—are barred from applying to education colleges.

The advertisement went viral last month, angering the disabled community.

The federation has denounced the education ministry for its failure to recognize the fundamental rights and capacities of people with disabilities, calling its advertisement active discrimination.

Ma Moh Moh, who once applied to attend an education college, told The Irrawaddy, “After I passed the matriculation examination in 2007, I applied to attend the education college. I passed the written test, but I was not chosen because I have polydactyly.”

U Aung Ko Myint said the federation would hold a legal workshop in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement to ensure the advertisements of other ministries do not discriminate against people with disabilities.

The federation said the policy and procedures of the education ministry violate the UN Human Rights Declaration, UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Constitution of Burma.

It pointed out that persons with disabilities would continue to lose opportunities to learn as well as job opportunities if the ministry continued its practices.

Burma’s disabled population is estimated to be about 2.3 million, or about 4.6 percent of the population.