Which school will you go? (Monday, January 20, 2003)

In last few years, and until now, I noticed many Burmese students have arrived the United States. Good for them and bad for our country (May be). Just in the City College of San Francisco, there are at least a few hundreds of Burmese students. Some of them finished their degree in Burma. Some dropped out from universities in Burma. Some just graduated from high schools. Some of them have families or relatives. Some have friends. Some have neither.

They work hard, study hard, and struggle hard. I personally admire and praise those students, who are only around twenties, exploring the new world. Why so many Burmese students came to US? Why so many doctors, engineers, and teachers left our country? Think about it. Why? Is there any benefit to our country?
I believe all of us know the answers or have many answers.

My brother switched to distance learning program after finishing high school in Burma. Why did he do that? It is not because he is lazy and doesn’t have time to go to college. It is because our country’s education system is deteriorating after all. Our education system cannot provide any future for our students. Burmese students have lost trust in our education system.

The other day, I asked a friend which school his younger brother is attending in Yangon. To my surprise, he replied, “He is attending at international school, not the school under Ministry of Education.” He continued, “These days many young students are going to international school in Yangon, where they learn everything in English. It is much better than government schools.” Oh my Buddha!!!

Yes, it is true. For example, ILBC is one of the international schools in Yangon, and it has branches in Mandalay now. There are other new international schools opening in Yangon now. Of course, those schools are much more expensive than the government schools, and only the students from well-off families can afford to attend those schools.

Sometimes, I regretted the time I spent in my student life in Burma. Since attending the first year college, I knew I couldn’t use my degree anywhere in Burma unless I wanted to be a teacher. So I attended the university just for fun. All I got from schools is unforgettable fun, excursions, and many outdoor activities with my friends. It doesn’t mean I didn’t learn anything from schools. Of course, I learnt many valuable things.

Anyway, as I mentioned above, our education system is getting worse. Many students don’t want to study any more, and they just want to get rich in Burma. Many got disappointed with the system, and left the country.

Well, they came to the United States, but they still face problems. There is lack of Burmese communities or organizations that can help or support our students in their educational goals and career plans. Consequently, our students have to struggle harder than others, sometimes, they are stuck at somewhere and don’t know how to continue, where to go, and get lost in the complicated USA. All our Burmese students can do is peer-to-peer studies and copies; they help each other at schools. It is a beautiful culture, isn’t it?

Anyhow, I believe our Burmese students can overcome all the difficulties and achieve their goals. I believe they will bring all the knowledge and wisdom back to our country, and use them to help our people.
Never give up, and just keep up.
Good luck to our students.