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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - DHAKA: More than half of Rohingya children living in the camps of Cox’s Bazar do not have access to formal education, according to a UNICEF report.
Out of 450,000 refugee children aged between four and 14, only 241,000 are enrolled in learning centers in the southeastern Bangladesh town, which hosts refugees from Myanmar.
UNICEF has developed a learning competency framework in accordance with the Myanmar school curriculum to teach the children five subjects: English, Burmese, mathematics, life skills, and science.
Currently, UNICEF-affiliated schools at 34 camps in Cox’s Bazar provide primary education through to second grade. The agency will introduce schooling up to fifth grade, with support from the British Council, Room to Eat and BRAC.
According to the education sector in Cox’s Bazar, 314,926 children and young people between three and 24 years are receiving education at the 3,236 learning centers in the refugee camps as of October 2019.
UNICEF and partners have established 2,500 learning centers for these refugee children and plan to build 500 more in 2020.
“In 2020, the contents of education will be more closely aligned with the Myanmar curriculum in line with what the refugees themselves want, and to ensure that they can be smoothly reintegrated back into Myanmar society when the conditions allow them to be repatriated,” Nazzina Mohsin, UNICEF spokesperson at Cox’s Bazar, told Arab News.
“UNICEF firmly believes that education must not wait during any emergency, and while policymakers and humanitarian actors find solutions to provide systematic education for all children. The current learning opportunities give children a chance to continue with their education to obtain knowledge and skills that will help them in the future,” she added.
Every school has two teachers, one recruited from the Rohingya community to teach the children in their own language, and the other from the host community to teach general English, Mathematics and other subjects.
“We don’t have any scope to teach Bangla to the Rohingyas at the camp schools as they are not the citizens of this country and they can’t do anything with this knowledge. Eventually, we can’t run these learning centers with our curriculums. The Rohingya children should be provided with knowledge on Myanmar and its history,” Saiful Islam, district primary education officer at Cox’s Bazar, told Arab News.
The Rohingya children enrolled at the camp run schools set up by UNICEF and others are also unclear whether they will be able to pursue higher education at formal educational institutions after completing their years at these learning centers.
“Currently these schools are providing informal education and it has no accreditation from any body,” Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, Bangladesh’s additional commissioner for refugee relief and repatriation, told Arab News.
He added that next year’s Joint Response Plan would try to increase education provision to refugee children up to the age of 18.
However, Rahman mentioned that Bangladesh government had “nothing to do” with the accreditation of the Rohingya schools’ curriculum.
Around 55 percent of the total Rohingya population at Cox’s Bazar are children. The UN has stated that without universal formal education, they could become what it has called a “lost generation.”
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