Students in Myanmar, with the support of teachers, are leading protests against a new government education law which they say is authoritarian and allows the government to control the curriculum. Protesters say the new law 'includes restriction on the forming of student societies, centralization of the education system and emphasis on government control, marginalization of ethnic education and their languages.'

The Myanmar Teachers Federation said in a statement: 'We have learned that student associations around the country are determined to accelerate the peaceful protests if the authorities (will force the passage) of the bill, neglecting the wishes of the students, teachers and parents and deviating from the standards of Democracy; we fully support this determination.'

According to the protesters the education bill has been drafted by people who were part of the military junta which ruled Myanmar with an iron fist for decades and that the bill is a reflection of that lack of democracy. Meanwhile activists are getting together in the country to say what kind of education they do want - in particular one which recognises the ethnic languages of Myanmar, does not discriminate against children with disabilities and develops critical thinking.

The World Bank is heavily involved in education in Myanmar. In a statement last month it praised, 'The government’s people-centred approach (which) aims to give people the tools to make key decisions affecting their lives.' The Bank is lending millions of dollars for a programme to expand education which amongst other things: 'lets principals, teachers and parents decide together on classroom purchases' Whether it will allow the same people to decide on curriculum and other important matters highlighted by activists is less likely. In a recent World Bank report slating teachers in Latin America, Barbara Bruns repeats several times the following observation: 'Researchers have identified a “tight coupling” between the Ministry of Education and the institutions where teachers are educated as a factor in the educational success of countries'. Which seems to this teacher as being the opposite of the kind of democratic education which Myanmar's students and teachers are fighting for.