Aid groups have little funding for Rohingya kids’ education
Media: The Independent
The education of the uprooted Rohingya children remains one of the most underfunded sectors in the current response to the refugee crisis. The aid agencies—which are the education sector partners for Rohingya children—do not have enough funds to implement activities in the response plan, sources said.
Some 450,000 Rohingya children between the ages of four and 18 (both newly entered refugees and old ones) are living at the registered and unregistered Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar district. They are of school-going age and are in dire need of education services.
The aid agencies are currently able to provide education to some 25,634 Rohingya children, including those newly arrived ones in Cox’s Bazar who came prior to 25 August, aged four to 14: they are attending early learning and non-formal basic education in learning centres inside the registered camps and four makeshift settlements at Kutupalong, Balukhali, Leda, Shamlapur and Unchiparang. But some 424,000 children do not have access to education, said a report of the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), published on October 8.
Besides, no education programme is available in the spontaneous settlements (makeshift camps)—Mainnerghona, Hakippara, Thangkhali, Alikhali and Kathalbagan—adjacent to the Leda makeshift and Nayapara registered camps. A lack of wash facilities in the learning centres has also enhanced the risks of an outbreak of diseases among the children.
The ISCG prepares the report every week in collaboration with all the United Nations (UN) agencies and national and international NGOs. Currently, 27 national and international NGOs are working in Cox’s Bazar to combat the Rohingya refugee crisis.
The ISCG report said: “Education for Rohingya children remains one of the most underfunded sectors in the ongoing response.” The aid agencies—education sector partners for Rohingya children—have only 10 per cent of the funds required to implement activities in the response plan, it noted.
Jean Jacques Simon, UNICEF’s head of communication in Bangladesh and one of the main partners for Rohingya children’s education, admitted the fund crisis. He told The Independent, “We need more funding for Rohingyas over the next six months. We have applied for USD 76.1 million. The funds are coming in gradually. We have applied for USD 13 million for the education of the Rohingya children.”
“Of the Rohingya people who arrived in Bangladesh, 60 per cent are children. UNICEF’s priority is children. We are working with our partners for the well-being of children. We are finding out the needs of the children,” added Simon.
Sajidul Islam, the information management officer of one of the main education partners of Rohingya children, told The Independent, referencing the ISCG report: “Currently there are 450,000 Rohingya children, between the ages of four and 18. Of them, 270,000 newly arrived children have taken shelter since August 25 with the refugees who took shelter in Bangladesh to escape persecution by Myanmar government forces in Rakhine state. The rest 180,000 had taken shelter in Bangladesh before August 25.”
However, the government is yet to decide what their method of education would be and what they would be taught, said UNICEF sources.
UNICEF said it has divided the children into two groups from ages four to six, who will be given early learning education, while those from ages seven to 14 will be imparted non-formal education.
The government is going to form a taskforce to determine what they would be taught and what subjects would be included in their syllabus. A meeting is scheduled to be held on the issue on October 22 in Dhaka to decide on the education of Rohingya children, said UNICEF sources.
After escaping the recent violence that erupted around August 25, an estimated 536,000 Rohingyas have taken shelter in Bangladesh. Of them, 270,000 are children who are of school-going age.
The ISCG report said, “Twenty-seven schools and learning centres are currently used as temporary shelters for more than 7,000 new arrivals, hampering children’s access to education.”