Rakhine State Education Department Instructs Staff to Return to Duty

By Htun Htun 13 September 2017

NAYPYITAW — The Rakhine State Education Department has instructed education staff who have fled violence in the state to go back to their concerned duties in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung townships by September 17.

The instruction said action would be taken against those who fail to return to their positions by that date, according to the code of conduct for civil servants.

“We asked them to go back because it is safe now. They may choose to resign if they don’t want to return,” U Aung Kyaw Tun, chief of the Rakhine State Education Department, told The Irrawaddy.

Schools have been temporarily closed since violence broke out on Aug. 25, and locals and teachers have fled to urban areas.

U Tun Hla Sein, a lawmaker in Rakhine State Parliament, said he still does not know how schools will reopen at this time, as they are being used as shelters for displaced persons.

“I think only schools in urban areas can be reopened. It will be impossible in rural areas due to security concerns. Government staff will be scared,” U Tun Hla Sein told The Irrawaddy.

Locals suggest that it would be better to open temporary classrooms at camps because in some cases, entire villages have fled their homes.

One such village is Nan Tha Taung, where some 500 villagers are taking shelter at Myoma Monastery in Maungdaw.

“It will be difficult to reopen schools in our village,” said the abbot of the Nan Tha Taung village monastery.

The State Education Department has also instructed the township education departments to make daily reports on the return of teachers and education staff.

The government also encouraged local residents to return to their villages in Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships.

On Tuesday, 1,472 people taking temporary shelter at relief camps in Kyein Chaung, Taung Pyo Let We, Nga Kyitauk and Inndin villages and Wakhot Chaung battalion, returned home escorted by Myanmar Army troops.

The government’s Information Committee and the Office of the Commander-in-Chief said locals returned home as “peace and security had been restored” following security operations in the region.