The Irrawaddy

Expelled Student Activists to Return to University Next Week

Protesting students inside Yadanabon University Campus.

MANDALAY — Student activists expelled from their universities were allowed to return to classes on Friday.

The decision of the Ministry of Education to allow the expelled students to return to classes followed a meeting of the chief minister of Magwe Region, regional government officials and student leaders in Magwe on Thursday.

“After the meeting, the chief minister, Dr. Aung Moe Nyo, issued an appeal to the Union minister of education to allow the students to return to classes,” said Ye Myo Swe, a law student from Yadanabon University.

The student leaders said they received an assurance from the minister of education that they would be permitted to return to their respective universities from Friday.

The expelled students were previously told to sign a petition stating that they would not participate in future protests if they wished to return to classes. The students refused, stating that signing would oppress their rights and freedom of expression.

According to the students, agreements to consult with the student unions when drafting university rules and regulations in the future were also received during the meeting.

“We thank the Magwe regional government for its negotiation efforts,” said Kyaw Thiha Ye Kyaw, president of the Yadanabon University student union.

“Now, all of us can return to our classes without signing the petitions and without harming our dignity” he added.

The student activists said the expelled students will return to their classes next week and will continue their movement to push for an increase in the education budget.

For the first time under the new government, led by the Yadanabon University student union, students across the country gathered at Mandalay’s Yadanabon University and urged the government to increase the national education budget in January.

Seventy-two protesters, including 13 female students were briefly detained on January 25 and escorted back home. Later they were dismissed from their respecting universities.