Two and a half years after they were forced to flee from atrocities in Myanmar, nearly half a million Rohingya children in Bangladesh’s refugee camps will soon be allowed to enjoy their right to education.
The Bangladesh government has announced, it will offer schooling and skills training opportunities to Rohingya refugee children.
“This is an important and very positive commitment by the Bangladeshi government, allowing children to access schooling and chase their dreams for the future. They have lost two academic years already and cannot afford to lose any more time outside a classroom,” said Saad Hammadi, South Asia Campaigner at Amnesty International.
“It is important that access to appropriate, accredited and quality education be extended to all children in the Cox’s Bazar area, including Rohingya refugees and the host community. The international community has a key role to play here in ensuring the Bangladesh government has the resources it needs to realize this goal.”
Bangladesh’s Foreign Secretary, Masud bin Momen, told journalists on Tuesday, January 08: “The government has felt the need to keep Rohingya childrens’ hope for the future alive with extending education and skills training to them.”
The Bangladesh government has been resisting calls to grant Rohingya refugee children access to education, limiting learning opportunities to a few provisional learning centres that offer playtime and early primary school lessons scattered across the refugee camps in the Cox’s Bazar district.
A few children who managed to gain access to local secondary schools were expelled on government’s instructions.
Amid fears of either being forcibly returned to Myanmar or relocated offshore to the uninhabited silt isle of Bashan Char, these children have faced an uncertain future. Many were on the verge of completing their schooling when the Myanmar military attacked their villages, forcing them to flee to Bangladesh and throwing their lives into limbo.
Under the government’s plans, Rohingya refugee children will get school education up to the age of 14, through the provision of the Myanmar curriculum, and children older than 14 will get skills training. The schools will need adequately trained teachers who can use the Myanmar curriculum and teach in Burmese.
A pilot project led by UNICEF and the Bangladesh government will start off with the involvement of 10,000 children. The scheme will then be extended to other children, including those from the host community, who will be taught separately according to Bangladesh’s national curriculum.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child, a binding treaty which Bangladesh has ratified, makes clear that education can and should ensure the development of the child’s personality, talents, mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential while enhancing respect for human rights and preparing them for a responsible life in a free society. (Source: Amnesty Intl.)