Among many aspects, the educational aspect is also another issue for the Nagas in Myanmar. Generally, the Nagas of Myanmar can be considered one of the most uneducated and backward people groups in Myanmar. But it is not due to their weakness. They have been denied opportunity and access for education for more than five decades by the Junta Government. During the time of the then Prime Minister U Nu, some of the Nagas were taken to Yangon and given them some good education. But when General Ne Win came to power by 1960’s such opportunities were stopped completely and even more, no schools were given to the Hills where the local people could study. The educational sector of the Nagas in Myanmar had suffered greatly under the boots of the Junta and many potential leaders and new generation were blinded systematically. There was no way for the Nagas to study even though they could compete like other people in the world. No proper schools were sanctioned across the Naga areas. Only some few primary schools were allowed for the Nagas after many years and no sufficient teachers and study aids were provided thus far. When the kids completed their primary levels, again it is very hard for them to continue their high studies as there were no high schools nearby and those high schools were located in the towns with so many restrictions.
A primary school building, Namyung township, Eastern Nagaland, Myanmar
Lack of education became one of the fundamental culprits for failing in developing the society and the people. The quality of the education provided for the Nagas is also not contextual and relevant as the Burmese curriculums and syllabuses were made based on the Burmese culture and context which make the Nagas so difficult to pick up. The Nagas were forced to learn and live like the Burmese though they are distinct and different from them culturally and linguistically. Those of who study in the Burmese schools are compelled to speak, practice and live like the Burmese. This also affected the Nagas in losing their language and culture severely. Now many of the Nagas in Myanmar hardly know their mother tongue on everyday use of communication language. There were no universities and colleges in the Naga inhabited areas which is one among the reasons that bar the Naga students to continue their higher studies in the university levels. The universities and colleges were far away from the Nagas and it is very expensive for the hill dwellers to go and study. There is no proper transportation and too costly for studies. In 2010, the one and only engineering college was established in Khamti in Eastern Nagaland. When those of who completed their university studies are not well employed for being tribal and Christian as the Nagas are Christian majority. Many have been already forced and compelled to change their faith for a bag of rice!
Leiklinkann village primary school, Namyung township, Eastern Nagaland
A High School building, Eastern Nagaland, Myanmar
The report says that during the time of SPDC government spends only US$ 1 for both health and education per head in a year. This is a complete inhuman treatment on the innocent people. Due to such treatment, the Naga new generations were marginalized and sidelined in many ways and subsequently the Nagas were not able to participate well in nation building and decision making. Now the Burmese junta blames that the Nagas are not able to handle their own cause but the reason is not with the Nagas primarily. It is with the junta who systematically and intentionally arranged in such a way and destroyed the innocent people. Illiteracy is also very high among the Nagas in Myanmar till today as they are still denied enough access and opportunity for education. Many children are not privileged to go to the schools though they should be in the schools. They are compelled to follow their parents to the fields and farms for work and living. They see no proper tomorrow.
Can we have a chance to study?
Naga kids without proper study aids in the school, Eastern Nagaland, Myanmar
They need a school where they can be equipped with a good education.
The other sad thing is that the junta prohibits the Naga students who are studying in Western Nagaland. The junta warns and punishes those of who study in Western Nagaland. They are threatened losing their identity and household membership if they do not return home and sit quiet. The Burmese junta looks with a different eye at the students who study in Western Nagaland. The students who return from Western Nagaland are also denied for job privilege and impose unnecessary dos and don’ts. The junta does not want to provide a proper education and does not like who by themselves go and study in Western Nagaland. It is also reported that the junta never allows the International Community to help the Nagas for the development of education in Eastern Nagaland. They fear that the Nagas will become more educated and make their wily treatments known to the world. However, this truth will not go unrevealed. At the same time we also request and invite all who have a heart for the Nagas in Eastern Nagaland, Myanmar to help providing education and to make access for education to develop the broken lives of the Nagas in Myanmar.
One of the most neglected and uncared regions on health ground in Myanmar is none other than Eastern Nagaland. The Nagas in Myanmar are suffering different kinds of sickness and disease. Many have lost their lives from curable diseases and infected diseases. According to the report, many who were raped by the inhuman Burmese soldiers are suffering from HIV/AIDS without any help and care. They are neglected in the society and sidelined from all other social activities. There are no proper hospitals, dispensaries and clinics throughout the Eastern Nagaland and the people especially suffer from the diseases like malaria, typhoid, TB, dysentery, diarrhea, etc. No health campaigns are conducted how to care and protect themselves. They are left alone as though animals. But these peasants are used as human shields, porters, forced labors and they are victims of Human Rights violation, persecution and all kinds of exploitation in Myanmar.
We can see very few hospitals and dispensaries all over Eastern Nagaland and they are located in towns and sub-towns. But they are still without proper infrastructure and sufficient medical aids. Moreover, the medicines are also very costly and very few can effort to manage but for many other without any medicine they are! They just suffer and go though all kinds of consequences though they can be treated well. Some are going back to traditional method of curing like use of herbs, magic, sacrifice to the spirits, etc. Many are denied to access of medical treatment and lose their lives cheaply. We can only see eight hospitals and four out of eight are without doctors and without proper nurses. The doctors and nurses who are sent to serve among the Nagas are also unable to survive well due to poor transportation and lack of proper medical aids. Moreover, hardly a doctor can finish his term fully as they are out of station many a time and we can see them hardly in the hospitals while the people are suffering and being neglected in the villages and areas where the doctors and nurses cannot reach. The hospitals found in Eastern Nagaland are just name’s sake and they are not as they are supposed to be. A very sad thing to share is that even those so-called doctors, nurses and midwives sell the little sent medicines for black money as they are not well supported by the Junta Government. The people need a proper health education, mother and child care, proper sanitation, proper health care, medical aids, sufficient hospitals and regional dispensaries with sufficient doctors, medicines and nurses. Many sick villagers suffer in many ways. For instance, when a villager is sick, the friends and family members need to take him or her to the town where the hospital is located. They have to carry him or her on shoulders traveling on hills and in valley as there is no vehicle transportation. Very sadly, many die on the way expecting to reach the hospitals. Sometimes, when they reach the hospitals they are not given enough medicines and some are sold to them with a very high price. No one understands how they are going through such practical problems and they are treated on this earth as though animals.
The hospitals and Dispensaries found in Eastern Nagaland
Town Doctor Nurse Midwife
1. Khamti 2 8 15+
2. Homalin* 3 15+ 20+
3. Layshi 1 2 4
4. Namyung 1 2 4
5. Lahe 1 2 4
6. Somra 0 1 2
7. Pansau 0 1 2
8. Monkailin 0 0 1
*Homalin has 100-bed hospital which was recently sanctioned but still medicines and treatment fees are too high for normal people who mostly suffer.
Gold and jade mines in Eastern Nagaland are also to be considered as the places where all kinds of diseases are gathered and in turn people are infected with those diseases like HIV/AIDS, TB, Hepatitis A, B and C, etc. They are without proper health awareness and the worse is they do not even know how they are spreading such deadly diseases to their neighbors and friends. Speaking it from the health ground it is plain to see that the Nagas in Myanmar are going through very vulnerable conditions and circumstances.