Forcibly displaced Rohingya boy Mohammad Hares, 14, is anxious about his education having hardly any opportunity to continue his study at the camp in Cox’s Bazar.
Hares said that he used to study books for Class VI before fleeing violence in Rakhine state of Myanmar in 2017 while NGOs were providing non-formal elementary education to Rohingya children at the camps in Bangladesh.
He said that he was still going to a learning centre at Kutupalong-Balukhali mega camp at Ukhiya just for some entertainments and being guided by his thirst for education but found nothing new as he had already read similar books four or five years ago.
‘I wish I could get books for Class VI students. I want to continue my education,’ a frustrated Hares said.
Like Hares, many Rohingya children, including Din-e Salam, 14, and Anis, 13, expressed similar concerns over education.
Officials of NGOs and development partners dealing with Rohigyas said that about half a million Rohingya children were being deprived of education at the camps at Ukhia and Teknaf because of limited scope of education and they would become a burden on the world.
‘The government with the development partners should take far-reaching plans for the education of the Rohingya children as their repatriation process is being delayed,’ said former Dhaka University professor and thinker Abul Kashem Fazlul Haque.
‘They should be provided with education otherwise they would become a huge burden on Bangladesh,’ he said.
A joint survey conducted by UNICEF and NGO platform Education Sector Cox’s Bazar in December 2018 found the need for extension of classes taking responses from 1,80,000 children enrolled at 3,300 learning centres in 32 Rohingya camps.
According to the survey, six per cent of students (about 12,000) belong to Class III and VIII while the existing curriculum developed by the Education Sector provides education to pre-primary to Class II students.
The survey reveals that 68 per cent of the students are in the pre-primary and 26 per cent are in Class I and II.
UNICEF, NGOs and refugee relief and repatriation officials said that over 1.20 lakh potential children aged between 4 and 14 were still not enrolled at any learning centre.
Many Rohingya youths claimed to be Class X students in Myanmar before the beginning of the latest Rohingya influx in 2017 were very anxious their future and vulnerable to frustration and despair for the delayed repatriation.
‘Dodging the ban imposed on our education, I read in Class X in Myanmar with a dream of taking higher education abroad and for doing something for the welfare of my community,’ said Mohammad Fruque, 21. He is teaching Burmese to Rohingya children at a learning centre at Balukhali-Kutupalang mega camp.
‘I am now an aimless person. The delay in repatriation is virtually killing years of prime time of my life and many others like me,’ he said seeking support from the host country and international community.
UNICEF communication specialist Faria Selim in a written response told New Age on April 28 that efforts were under process to open senior classes at the learning centres to bring all Rohingya children under education.
‘The learners will gradually progress to the next level so that they are ready to enrol in appropriate grades after repatriation’ her written answer reads.
It further reads that as per the joint response plan, the education sector would need $47million for 2019 to organise the education for Rohingya children and children affected from crisis in the host communities.
Refugee, relief and repatriation commissioner Md Abul Kalam said that the government was negotiating with the donors for upgrading the education of the Rohingya children up to Class VI and providing certificates.
At schools at two registered camps at Kutupalang of Ukhia and at Noapara of Teknaf, Rohingya children, who have status of refugees in Bangladesh, get chance to read books published by National Curriculum and Textbook Board for up to Class VIII, he said.
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