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ERIC Number: ED580529
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 304
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-0-3552-7950-4
University Student Activism in Burma/Myanmar during the 1980S
Rives, Nang Mo Lao
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Kansas
This study examines student activism and protests in Burma/Myanmar during the 1980s. It also considers the events of the 1962-1988 military dictatorship and constitutional socialist government of Burma that saw the economy decline and the difficult living circumstances of the people become a bed for the creation of unrest. During the era of the Ne Win dictatorship, what would later be labeled a 50-year "War on Students," was initiated with several Lon Htein/Tatmadaw actions against students and three reforms of Burmese university education. These were followed by a fourth reform, the sweeping post-1988 school closures and restructuring, and the current, and possibly fifth, set of 2012-2014 university education changes. The focus of this study is the events of 1988 which are characterized as three waves of protest: (1) the First Wave is the week of disturbances between March 12-18 known as the week that shook Rangoon; (2) the Second Wave is the June Affairs, and (3) the Third Wave is the revolt of August/September, which was initiated by the 8-8-88 strike and followed by the "Month of Freedom." It was during this month that Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of the Aung San, the father of Burmese independence, first appeared publicly in Burma. The Prelude to these three waves of unrest was the fall of 1987 protests over the demonetization of September 5, and the Postlude to these three waves was the "crackdown" of September 18, 1988 which lasted for well over a year and resulted in perhaps 3,000 casualties as well as arrests, tortures, and imprisonments. During this period the Tatmadaw (Burmese military) took back direct control of Burma and changed its name to Myanmar. They also held free and fair multiparty elections in 1990, which they lost to Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party. After the 1990 elections, power was never transferred to the NLD, but instead a convention to write a new constitution was ordered. This constitution was adopted in 2008 and elections held in 2010 according to its provisions, which ensured a military domination of the government and the country. The aftermath for higher education of the military crackdown included the emergence of Aung San Suu Kyi as the leader of the NLD pro-democracy party and her rise to the status of a world celebrity although the government attempted to prevent this from happening. For Burmese higher education, the aftermath of1988 included lengthy university closures, a faculty retraining camp, fragmentation of about 30 institutions into over 150 tertiary education units located on many small inconveniently sited campuses, and channeling of about two-thirds of Myanmar's three-fourths of a million post-secondary education students into distance education programs. During the 1990s, when the universities were either closed or offering only short terms, many university students had their studies delayed, denied, or curtailed by government imposed control measures that curtailed their ability to form solidarity with other students or have a satisfactory learning experience. In 2013, a report of the Institute of International Education (IIE) would recommend a complete renovation of higher education in Burma. In response to international pressures applied after the disastrous Saffron Revolt and Cyclone Nargis events of 2007 and 2008, elections were held in 2010, and a new president, Thein Sein, was inaugurated in 2011. With this came a new direction and the adoption of policies aimed to return Burma/Myanmar to the international community of nations and improve relations with European countries and the US. This included an official commitment to improve the Education Sector of Myanmar with additional funding and the assistance of outside expertise. These changes were welcomed by the international community and the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and President Barak Obama made visits to Myanmar ,and the Rangoon and Mandalay University campuses were reopened to undergraduates in December 2013. In the Parliament, Education Sector bills are expected to pass in 2014, and a University Education bill is currently being considered by a committee chaired by Aung San Suu Kyi, now a Member of Parliament as well as leader of the NLD Party. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Burma
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A