The Bangladeshi government has been denying meaningful formal education to Rohingya children in refugee camps, said an international human rights organisation on December 3. In its 81-page report named “Are We Not Human?”, the Human Rights Watch documented government’s effort to block the aid groups from providing formal education to the Rohingya children living in refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar district.
According to the report, the government prohibited humanitarian groups to build permanent schools in the camps, insisting that the refugees will return to Myanmar. Government’s firm stand on this issue forced the aid groups to open ‘learning centres’ built with temporary bamboo structures. A humanitarian official said that many such centres need to be replaced “since the little worms have been doing their work on the bamboo.”
While the Myanmar authorities didn’t approve the use of its curriculum for the refugee kids, Bangladesh’s National Task Force prohibited the education sector to use a non-formal version of the curriculum allowed in the refugee camps run by the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHCR). The refugee children have been caught in the middle since the aid groups are unable to use either Myanmar or Bangladesh curricula.
“We had to develop an entire curriculum for every day of every class, then translate it, then print it,” the international NGO official said.
Human Rights Watch recommended the Bangladesh government to lift educational restrictions saying it violates Rohingya refugee children’s right to education without discrimination. It requested the government to allow them to access formal education in Bangla language, secondary education, and Bangladeshi curriculum.
The New York-based NGO advised the government to allow aid groups to build adequate permanent brick-and-mortar school buildings in the refugee camps and make sure it is accessible to both Rohingya refugee children and Bangladeshi children from local communities. The human rights organisations also suggested the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and other humanitarian education sector working in Cox’s Bazar to review and revise education planning for Rohingya refugees to be in line with their right to education.