The Burma Times, Cox’s Bazar
The Rohingya refugee children are in an uncertain future in Bangladesh. In 1992 about 2,75,000 Rohingyas escaped persecution from Arakan state of Burma and sheltered in 18 camps in Bangladesh and they were registered as refugee by UNHCR. Later, in 1994 repatriation of the refugees started to Burma where the situation was not conducive and the human rights violation was continued. About 2,54,000 refugees were pushed back from 1994 to 2003. After those refugees’ repatriation to Burma about 21, 000 refugees remained in two camps, Kutupalong and Nayapara under Cox’s Bazar district and rest of the 16 camps closed.
However, the informal education program was introduced by SCF-UK (Save the Children Fund-UK) at Kutupalong and Nayapara camps in 1996. The educational curriculum was informal with three Burmese subjects as; Burmese, English and Math upto class five. The teachers wererefugees who came from Burma after passing class six to ten in Burma and trained up some how on teaching method by SCF-UK to teach the children. SCF ran the program upto 1998 and later the program was handed over to UNHCR. UNHCR carried the program for six months and again handed the program to Concern Bangladesh in 1998. Concern Bangladesh was implementing the program with the supports of UNHCR till 2001. The program was again handed over to TAI (Technical Assistance Inc) implementing partner of UNHCR in 2002 and it conducted the program till 2008.
In 2008 the Bangladesh National Curriculum was introduced by RTMI (Research Training and Management International with the supports of UNICEF approved by Bangladesh government. All subjects were included like local school of Bangladesh and there was also a Burmese main subject in the curriculum so that the children could learn the Burmese language but informal system. Within the above said years many students completed class five informally but could not be promoted to class six since education above class five was not permitted by Bangladesh government at the camp in Bangladesh. RTMI with the support of UNICEF was running the schools till 2012.
In 2012 the education program was handed over to VERC (Village Education Resource Center) technically supported by SCI (Save the Children International) and Funded by IKEA Foundation and UNHCR. At present, there are 10 primary schools at Nayapara and 11 at Kutupalong camp with about 4339 students at Nayapara and about 4000 at Kutupalong camp. There are 37 refugee and 47 local teachers at Kutupalong and 35 refugee and 44 local teachers at Nayapara camp under VERC.
In 2013 class six had been approved for the students by the Bangladesh govt and there are two middle schools, 1 at Kutupalong and 1 at Nayapara camp. Class six was introduced at Kutupalong in 2013 and at Nayapara camp in 2014. But teachers were insufficient since needed figures were not recruited by the organizations and for this reason the students did not get proper lessons from every subjects whole two years. Students’ education has been hampering due to shortage of teachers the organization was requested several times by the community leaders for recruitment of necessary figures of teachers at middle schools.
Nevertheless, three years have already passed at Kutupalong and the students who had passed class 7 in 2014 at Kutupalong middle school could not be promoted to class 8 since class eight was not permitted by govt. Those student were studying at class 7 for two years. In Nayapara camp, there are about 396 students, 277 in class six and 119 in class seven. In Nayapara camp, there are about 165 students, 135 in class six and 30 in class seven. Those students have already sat for final exam 2015 in different classes but class eight has not been approved by govt this year yet.The text books have not been distributed among the primary and class-6 to 7 students because the govt want to reintroduce Burmese curriculum again after eight years by excluding Bangla curriculum. It is not known yet if the Bangla or Burmese curriculum will be introduced at both camps. But text books have already been distributed among the Bangladeshi local schools from the beginning of 2016. The class eight has not been approved for the refugee students by the govt yet though the class 6 and 7 exam has finished.
Therefore, there is no way for the improvement of refugee childre and the furure of children is uncertain and thus they were deprived of study in Burma and also in Bangladesh, according to camp leaders and teachers of both camps.########