Jul 8, 2008 (DVB)–The All Burma Federation of Student Unions called on the military regime on Monday to allow university students from cyclone-devastated Irrawaddy division to enrol for the coming academic year.
Aung Zay, a member of the ABFSU, an established student union in Burma since the British colonial era, said late registrations should be allowed for students from the affected areas.
“We the ABFSU call on the authorities to grant students from cyclone-devastated areas permission to register for the 2008-2009 academic year,” said Aung Zay.
The call was timed to coincide with commemorations of the 46th anniversary of the 7 July 1962 student uprising in Burma, in which students took to the streets to protest against the regime led by the late dictator Gen. Nay Win but were crushed violently.
The historic student union building inside Rangoon’s main university campus was also blown up, causing the deaths of many students.
According to Aung Zay, hundreds of students from Maaupin, Bassein, and Hinthata universities have been rejected for university courses this year due to their late enrolments.
“Although university authorities allowed a one-month extension for late enrolment, they [students] could not register in time because they didn’t have the money to pay the school admission fees,” said Aung Zay.
“They informed the authorities that they were still looking for admission fees and asked them to consider allowing them sign up but they were rejected.”
Aung Zay told DVB that third year students at Bassein university were given financial support of 100,000 kyat each, which could create tensions among students.
“Are first- and second-year students not students? Don’t they deserve financial support? Were only third year students affected by the cyclone?” Aung Zay asked.
“We oppose this type of support as it is discriminatory and can create problems among students.”
Besides calling for university admission, the ABFSU commemorated the 46th 7 July anniversary by distributing statements and pamphlets in Rangoon, Irrawaddy and Bago divisions calling for non-violent struggle to liberate Burma from the military dictatorship.
Reporting by Naw Say Paw