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Bangladesh: Groups call for focus on Rohingya education

Myanmar-centric curriculum will help Rohingya youth after repatriation, says Bangladeshi collective

SM Najmus Sakib   | 24.01.2021
Bangladesh: Groups call for focus on Rohingya education

DHAKA, Bangladesh 

A collective of rights groups and civil society organizations has called for greater focus on education of Rohingya refugees and rehabilitation of academic institutes in areas where they are being hosted in Bangladesh.

“Although Rohingya children aged 6-14 years have been included in the non-formal education program initiated by the government of Bangladesh and various organizations, 83% of adolescents and youth aged 15-24 years do not participate in any education program,” Cox's Bazar CSO-NGO Forum said in a statement on Saturday.

The southeastern Bangladeshi city of Cox's Bazar is home to over 1.2 million Rohingya refugees fled from the military brutality in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

The forum, a network of 50 local non-governmental organizations and civil society groups, also stressed the need for a Myanmar-centric curriculum “to make Rohingya repatriation sustainable.”

“There is a sense of frustration among students and their parents about the lack of educational opportunities for those over 15 years of age and the lack of education in the Myanmar curriculum,” read the statement issued to mark the International Day of Education on Jan. 24.

It also called for “special rehabilitation programs for local educational institutions and students in Cox’s Bazar affected by the Rohingya influx.”

According to the forum, local educational institutes were “used as temporary barracks for military personnel at the beginning of the Rohingya influx in 2017.”

Some were also designated as shelters for Rohingya refugees, leading to suspension of academic activities for months.

“Many students stopped going to school because of the increasing number of people and the huge congestion of vehicles used in relief programs,” read the statement.

“From one school, seven out of 10 teachers left school and joined another job. The entire education system is under threat,” it warned, adding that allocation for education from relief programs was “only 2.6%.” 

Persecuted people

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women, and children fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were thrown into fires, over 114,000 more were beaten and as many as 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police said the OIDA report, titled Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience.

Over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned and 113,000 others vandalized, the report added.

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