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Aung San Suu Kyi calls for UK universities help

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The Burmese opposition leader told an event held at the University of London yesterday that there were “no residential universities in Burma. Campus life had been “destroyed” by the military regime – which ruled Burma between 1962 and 2011 – as it feared gatherings of young people were “dangerous” and would “demand the fall of the government”, she added.

Ms Suu Kyi was speaking, via a specially pre-recorded video message, at a UK-Burma policy dialogue co-hosted by the British Council.

After elections were held in Burma in 2010, a nominally civilian government led by President Thein Sein – who served as a general and then prime minister under the junta – was installed in March 2011.

In her address, Ms Suu Kyi , a University of Oxford graduate, said: “The focus of the military government was on maintaining discipline, not on providing education.

“Now the standard of our university education has fallen so low that graduates have nothing except a photograph of their graduation ceremony to show for the years they spent at university.”

She continued: “We want to make our academic institutions independent. We want to make them vital and we want to modernise them to be in keeping with the developments of the times.

She appealed for help from British universities to aid education reform and help build “a happier human society”.

The policy dialogue was the culmination of a tour of Scottish and English universities by a Burmese delegation, organised by the British Council.

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