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Mandalay Diary 6th Jun 2001

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Mandalay Diary 1st May 2001
The Tea Shop Where People of The Screen Meet
by Nishigaki Mitsuru

Tuition classes are very popular in Yangon. They can be divided into two categories. The most important one is the tuition class for matriculation examination. Parents usually send their children to tuition classes starting from pre-school with a purpose to be admitted at famous universities and high schools. It is said that there are about 200 tuition classes for matriculation classes.

Now the most difficult universities to join are Yangon Institute of Medicine, University of Computer Science and Yangon Technology University.

1.Tuition classes for matriculation examination
There are tuition classes for primary education to university education.

2.Tuition classes for foreign languages
English classes are the most famous among the foreign language classes. Other languages are French, Japanese, Chinese and etc. Current tuition fee is K 8000 to 10,000 per head for two period- a week, two hour-a period classes.

3.Tuition classes for vocation
There are also tuition classes for electrical skill, welding, car repairing and servicing, gemology and sewing. These classes are really useful for making a living. Training of model agencies and beauty saloons were recently well known.

I would like to report in detail on tuitions for matriculation examination that are more common.

1. Live-in private schools
Education system in Myanmar is four years in Primary School, four years in Middle School and two years in High School. In recent years, Live-in private schools came into existence especially for 8th and 9th standards. Only well-to-do students can afford to join these schools. Four meals-breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper are served at these schools. Current fee for a ten-month-course is K300, 000 to K 400,000 per head.

2. Tuition classes where a lot students attend lectures
There are a lot of tuition classes for matriculation examination in 38th and Seik Kan Tha Streets in the heart of Yangon. Tuition fee for these classes are less expensive than live-in private schools. These are regular classes. They start at 9am and finish at 11 pm. Current fee for these classes are K 500-K 1000 for two period-a weeks for a subject (90 minutes class hour) per head. Students have to take English, Myanmar, Maths, Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) and Art (Geography, History, Economic) to sit for matriculation examination.

3.Group teaching at houses
Some students call in teachers to teach at their houses making a group of five to ten close friends. That way of teaching ranges from pre-school to matriculation exams. Current fee is K 2000 for two period -a weeks, two hour - a period class per head for pre-school pupils. And about K 6000 for the same class hour for middle school students per head.

4.Private subject guides
In these classes, a teacher give guidance to a student on a subject at home. Most of the guides are those who passed matriculation examination with flying colours in previous years or young teachers. The students who are to take matriculation examination have to study almost all the time without taking a rest everyday. For example, a live-in student of a private school has to go to and fro a High School. Then he has to start studying under the guidance of an instructor. And he has to study from 6 to 11 pm every night.

Tuition's Signboards Stand Close Together

In tuition classes, on the days the schools open they attend tuition classes after going to school. They have to study the whole day on Saturdays. The daily routine is the same for those who call in the teachers.

Many tuition classes mushroomed in Yangon recently for the students' convenience. And there will be battles among the tuition classes.

In private live-in schools, all rooms are air-conditioned and have computer facility. A bed for each student. There are separate girls' hostels. Services of washing and ironing the clothes are included. After placing weekly tests, the school sends report cards of students' performance to the parents every week. Surveys are made by cooperation between students and teachers.

Some private live-in schools award a brand new Suzuki saloon to the student who stands first in matriculation examination. The first is about K 4.5 million. The second prize is K 1 million. The third K 500,000.

In tuition classes, the names of famous lecturers of corresponding subjects are written in bold letters on a large poster. They only aim at getting more students. The names of famous lecturers seem to attract the students much. The salary of a famous lecturer is about K 300,000 to K 500,000 per month.


I had a talk with U Maung Maung whose daughter is preparing for matriculation examination. He said " You can't take it for granted that you will get a good job after your graduation from a famous university in a popular subject. But they stand a good chance of it, I think. University education is not enough to get a good job. After graduation from high schools they have to attend many classes such as accounting, computer, English language proficiency and etc for these classes are very useful for job hunting. I want my daughter to have a wide range of knowledge. I make her attend several tuition classes for I think these knowledge will help her get a good job."

The parents who think like U Maung Maung are a lot. I think tuitions will overwhelm the education system of Myanmar in the near future.

© Nishigaki Mitsuru