For the first time, nearly half of the incarcerated students will be allowed to take the matriculation exam.
There are 34 high school students in prisons throughout Shan State, the state’s social minister told parliament on Tuesday—and for the first time, nearly half of them will be allowed to take the matriculation exam.
Mong Nai Township MP Sai Myo Myint asked the Shan State parliament in its 11th session to clarify the number of incarcerated students in the state and what plans are in place to see them graduate.
“I don’t want their education to be blocked, or at an end because they are in prison. I want them to continue to study,” the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy parliamentarian said. “It’s because I’m also a former political prisoner—nobody had the opportunity to read or write in prison. We couldn’t even use a pen in prison.”
Sai Myo Myint, who was jailed from 1991 until 1999, went on to explain that the authorities would beat prisoners or force them to do push-ups if they were caught reading or writing.
“Now those children have an opportunity to take an examination. It’s a great chance as well as a valuable thing,” he added.
Of the 34 students in jail, ten are in Nyaungshwe Prison—in Yawnghwe—four are in Kengtung, 10 are in Lashio, and 10 are in Hsipaw. According to Shan State’s Minister for Social Affairs Dr. Myo Tun, 16 of them will take the matriculation exam—nine in Yawnghwe, four in Kengtung, two in Lashio, and one in Hsipaw. It is the first time that they will be permitted to do so.
The 16 students will take their final examination for the 2018-2019 academic year in Yangon Insein Central Prison and in Mandalay Central Prison.