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Back to school in Myanmar

From the Associated Press

Most schools reopened Monday in and around Yangon, despite the concerns of some teachers, parents and international aid groups about safety risks to students from damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Nargis.

At Middle School No. 1 in this suburb, classes resumed in a building where strips of rusted corrugated iron roofing hung precariously overhead. The storm’s winds also shattered windows, punched holes in the walls and, according to one teacher, knocked the building off its foundation, so it will eventually have to be rebuilt.

“I am worried about the rain. If the rains get inside the school, the children will get sick,” said San Aye, the mother of a 12-year-old.

Still, she said she supported the decision to start school because she thought any delay would hurt the students academically -- a widespread concern in a country where education is highly valued and the primary school enrollment rate is about 80% for both boys and girls, according to UNICEF.

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