Exam Papers Gone in Smoke

HAKHA //  In Chin State’s capital Hakha, sacks of paper were scattered on the sun-burned grass of Yonetaung Valley. Just two days ahead of the nationwide university’s entrance exam, the helicopter that was bringing the Grade 10 exam papers crashed down according to The Chindwin

The helicopter was hit by strong wind at the hilltop of Hakha just before it landed, said a military junta’s spokesperson. Some undamaged exam papers were saved but the schools had to print new ones and deliver them in an emergency to the students. 

Every year, the Grade 10 exam papers are sent to the whole country simultaneously and have to be carried by helicopters or military trucks in some hard-to-access ethnic areas to arrive on time. 

This year, residents said that due to clashes with local resistance forces, the junta lost access to the area and had to airdrop money and various equipment to its administration staff members in Hakha.  

The matriculation exam was intended for students in the 2021-2022 academic year, jointly combining two academic years due to the pandemic outbreak. However, there are fewer students taking the matriculation entrance exams these days. According to the Ministry of Education, 312,299 students registered, compared to over 900,000 students in 2019. 

Many young people have stopped attending the official education system, citing it as a curriculum designed by the junta which distorted facts and embedded discrimination.

The majority of students seek alternative education, by trying to get a scholarship abroad, mainly in Thailand universities, by joining schools in ethnic areas or by studying online for those who still have access to Internet and electricity.

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