Published on Saturday, 31 August 2013 22:54
B.E.H.S (5), the high school where Soe Soe Khaing formely worked as a teacher (Photo - EMG)
Myanmar Ministry of Education has issued a statement saying the teacher from a high school in capital Nay Pyi Taw was dismissed on grounds of absence without leave and repeatedly failed to show up to work on schedule.
The statement released on Friday detailed the reason why Soe Soe Khaing, a junior assistance teacher from Basic Education High School No.5 in Nay Pyi Taw, was fired.
Her dismissal followed the forced retirement that the ministry announced on August 15, blaming her for being absent for five days without leave and getting involved in political organizations (attending a press briefing in Yangon on the 25th anniversary of democracy movement together with journalists).
The ministry's statement said Soe Soe Khaing had taken leave for four days and been late for school for 43 days since the start of school year.
But the teacher denied being late for school for 43 days and said the points included in the statement and the actual situations were different.
"They said I had been late for school for 43 days but the school discipline enforcement board never made me sign as a warning," Soe Soe Khaing told The Daily Eleven.
She said she was late sometimes and this was because a two-mile distance between her home and school. The bus fare was about 1,000 Kyats (more than US$1) per day though her monthly was K100,000 (US$100) only, she added.
The statement said the teacher was absent without leave for nine days from June 8 to 16.
A civil servant who spoke on condition of anonymity said: "Usually, an officer warns his or her staff against being absent without leave. Sometimes, part of the salary is cut. That's all. One of our workmate was absent for about a month without leave. The officer went to his home and met with him."
The statement said that Soe Soe Khaing made a trip (to Yangon) without seeking permission, which went against rules and discipline.
Criticizing the ministry's act, Myint Aung, a member of the Former Political Prisoners Group said such a punishment was questionable at a time when the country is in democratic transition.
"According to the constitution, any citizen can go and travel everywhere freely. The punishment should not have been severe. It was not the case of bribery or selling question papers for examination. They intentionally fired her," said Myint Aung.
The state-run newspaper, The Myanmar Alin, also reported Soe Soe Khaing was dismissed because of being absent without leave, failing to contact the school head and submitting a fake medical prescription.
"There is no civil servant who has never been absent without leave. A civil servant can be fired for misconduct or corruption," Soe Soe Khaing said.
Dr Tin Tun Aung, who gave her a prescription, defended that she was his regular patient and it was not a fake prescription at all.
Five university teachers associations have issued a statement demanding the ministry to address the issue within 15 days. Otherwise, it will be dealt with by local and international organizations, warned the statement.