Mon National School system students who want to join government schools for the 2017/2018 academic year will have to take a placement test, according to the director of the Mon State Education Department, U Myo Tit Aung.
“We will determine the standard that students should join after they’ve taken a placement exam. For example, if a student passes the third standard in Mon National Schools, they will have to take a placement exam to determine whether they can join the fourth standard” he said.
The policy marks a change from previous years, when students could simply transfer to government schools with no examination. Mon National School students already take government examinations after fourth, eighth and tenth standards, and results from those exams will be used to place transferring students. Students who want to transfer in other years will now have to take placement exams in Myanmar, English and Mathematics, he added.
Min Aung Zay, a member of the Mon National Education Committee (MNEC), says teachers support the placement exams. They’ve argued that without testing, students often end up in a standard for which they are not prepared, and struggle to adjust.
“When I met with the state education director, he said that students could no longer join government schools without taking state exams, but that they would be able to take a placement exam. For example, a student who takes the ninth standard placement exam and passes can join the tenth standard. If the student fails, he or she can simply join the ninth standard of government school,” he said.
He added that the state Education Department has asked the MNEC for a list of students, in order to help support them with uniforms and supplies.
The Mon National Education Committee is part of the New Mon State Party, an armed group that controls territory in Southeastern Myanmar but has a largely peaceful relationship with the central government. The committee operates a post-high school, three high schools, 12 middle schools, 23 post-primary schools and 104 primary schools, teaching over 30,000 students. They also provide Mon language teachers to 107 government schools.
Under the 1995 bilateral ceasefire between the New Mon State Party and the military government, government schools accepted students from Mon National Schools after the tenth standard. Since then, more than 400 Mon National School students have taken the tenth standard matriculation exam, according to Mi Lawihan, the Headmistress at Andin Mon National High School.