DMG Newsroom
13 October 2021, Sittwe 

Students who will sit matriculation exams but were educated outside the formal, government-run education system, so-called “external students,” are worried that they may not be included on the list of those to be vaccinated against Covid-19. 

U Hla Thein, spokesman for the Arakan State regime council, said at a news conference on October 8 that students 12 years old and above would be inoculated against Covid-19 so that schoolchildren can pursue their education safely when schools are reopened. 

Ma Soe Nyein Aye, who is from Soe May village in Rathedaung Township and will sit the matriculation exam as an external student, said lists of students to be vaccinated will be compiled at schools, so she was worried that she would not be included. 

“I do not want to be infected with the disease. So, I want to be provided with the vaccine. However, I am an external student and worried that I am not included on the list to be vaccinated,” she told DMG. 

Ma Nu Nu Zan, another external student from Minbya town, said she wanted authorities to compile the list of students who are studying at tuition and boarding schools because they are not included on the lists at government schools. 

“When authorities collect our list at tuition and boarding schools, we can be provided the vaccine. Or, authorities need to collect the list of students at villages and wards,” she said. 

U Hla Thein on October 11 uploaded on his social media page instructions from the state government to ward and village-tract administrators to collect the list of external students and to register at the schools where they will sit the exam. 

He also posted an instruction to authorities to prepare for the reopening of schools. 

Ma Khin Sandar, a student from the Arakan State capital Sittwe, said she wanted all external students to be provided the vaccine because schools can be opened after the inoculation campaign makes inroads. 

The Department of Education said more than 200,000 students will be included from Arakan State when the Covid-19 vaccine is provided to the students, but it is not clear if that figure includes external students. 

Schools have been temporarily closed since July 9 amid the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In 2020, schools throughout Myanmar were closed the entire academic year due to the pandemic.

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