Over 13,000 academics and university staff members at various universities in Myanmar have been suspended from their jobs in recent weeks due to their involvement in protest against military rule after the February 1, 2021 coup. The widespread suspensions came after the reopening of Myanmar universities which were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing clash between the military and students and staff campaigning for boycotts over the February 1 coup.
For the past fifty years, students and teachers have been at the forefront of the opposition to military rule in Myanmar. They have been prominent in the protests since the military rulers arrested Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, 2021 and halted a decade of reforms.
Since the February coup, many academics, students, and government workers have stopped work as part of a civil defiance movement. As protests broadened after the coup, military forces begin to take over campuses in the country.
Students Boycott Universities – We Return When the Revolution Prevails
Students are boycotting classes, and they “don’t feel sad to miss school, …[as] there’s nothing to lose from missing the junta’s education,” Hnin, a 22-year-old student at the Yangon University of Education.
According to a report published by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group, students and academics comprise a large portion of at least 780 people killed by the military. The report indicates that as of today, about 3,800 are detained, of which 48 are lecturers.
We stand in solidarity with the students and faculty of Myanmar universities and join academic, intellectual, and political leaders in Myanmar and elsewhere to decry this attack on the country’s universities in the name of Junta’s wider aggressive, anti-progressive, and fascistic agenda. We call upon all European governments, the United States Department of State, international organizations, university presidents, academic and professional associations, student groups, and individuals devoted to promoting and defense of human rights to protest and condemn these attacks on the pillars of Myanmar’s education system.