Myanmar students secure talks over education law

YANGON – Myanmar's government has agreed to hold four-way talks with student protesters to a new education law, local media reported Wednesday.

Activists across the country are marching to Yangon, the former capital, to demand changes to the law, which they say will stifle students' unions and allow government officials sweeping powers over academic decisions at universities.

Student protesters agreed to attend the meeting on Feb. 1 in return for being allowed to pass police blockades during their march, the Democratic Voice of Burma news website reported.

The talks will include representatives from the government, parliament, the Myanmar National Network for Education Reform and a group called the Committee for Democracy Education Movement.

Late last year hundreds of students took part in an illegal march through the streets of Yangon to round off four consecutive days of protest.

They announced a 60-day deadline for the government to amend the National Education Law, which was passed last September.

Student-led protests have played a key role in Myanmar's recent history. In 1988, students spearheaded a mass pro-democracy uprising that was brutally suppressed by the military junta, leading to thousands of deaths.

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