From 1989, when the ceasefire agreement was concluded, to 2009, when Wa and Mongla rejected Naypyitaw’s Border Guard Force (BGF programme, the military government had set up schools in their territories to teach their children, but to date, there has not been a single graduate from these schools, claim Wa and Mongla officials.
Since the teachers had complained that they were working at the border with law pay where the cost of living was high, both Wa and Mongla authorities had offered supplementary allowances, from 80-300 Yuan ($ 13-50) per month.
Even so, there were many drop outs, they said, due to the following reasons:
- Teachers did not take their duties to heart. Teaching was only perfunctory
- They were always applying for transfer to towns outside the ceasefire areas
- When replacement teachers arrived, they started their lessons all over again
“The result was easy to see,” said a Wa official. “Students got fed up and left school.”
A Mongla official added there were fewer students before the teachers’ departure in 2010 following tensions between Wa-Mongla and Naypyitaw than during the two years when they were on their own:
|Before 2009||After 2009|
“We were teaching Shan,” he explained, “and we saw to it that the teachers really earn their pay. But then we signed a new agreement and the Burmese teachers have returned.”
He commented that had the government been serious about building up human resources, both the Wa and Mongla could already have several university graduates including PhDs. “Now we only have graduates from Chinese language schools and Buddhist temples,” said the official, who was formerly a Buddhist monk.
“We hope our experiences serve as a warning for all our brother organizations,” concluded the Wa official.
Wa and Mongla signed new ceasefire agreements on 6 and 7 September respectively. They also signed a Union level agreement pledging not to secede from the Union on 1 and 9 October respectively. During the Union level negotiation, each had presented a 14 point proposal. So far they have yet to receive a reply on them.