University of Portsmouth stands in solidarity with Myanmar students facing political persecution
THE city’s university has pledged its ‘solidarity’ with students and colleagues living in fear of political persecution after a military coup in Myanmar – as it suspends teaching.
Last month on February 1, Myanmar's military seized power after detaining and deposing Aung San Suu Kyi and other democratically elected leaders. Since then reports have emerged of protestors being killed – many of whom were students – and being imprisoned.
Having established engineering and business degree programmes in Myanmar as part of its global priorities initiative, the ongoing political unrest is of particular concern to staff at the University of Portsmouth
The affiliation with Chindwin College in the country’s largest city Yangon sees students accredited with degrees from the University of Portsmouth. PSB Academy, one of Singapore's leading private education institutions, is also involved in the partnership.
Chris Chang, pro vice-chancellor for Global Engagement and Education Partnerships, said: ‘We wish to express our solidarity with all of our Myanmar students, their families and fellow citizens currently affected by the difficult political situation in their country.’
A decision has been taken to suspend all teaching classes due to the ongoing volatility in the region.
Professor Chang added: ‘It is disappointing that we have had to suspend teaching but the safety and wellbeing of students and staff is our main priority.‘We have an ongoing commitment to ensure that students can continue their education effectively and are working closely with our partners, Chindwin-PSB Institute and PSB Academy to minimise the disruption to students’ learning.’
The university set up the partnership in a bid to ‘develop educational and research capacity and capability in emerging economies’.
While there are currently no University of Portsmouth teaching staff in Myanmar the courses taught follow the university’s syllabus and students graduate from the Portsmouth institution.According to the United Nations Human Rights office at least 138 people, including children, have been killed since the coup, and more than 2,100 protestors and journalists imprisoned.