By The Rohingya Post
“This completely breaks the Rohingya community to its core. Education is key to its resilience and hope. Now it is suddenly being taken away by the Bangladesh government which has saved a million Rohingya from the hellish mouth of genocide in Myanmar”
COX’S BAZAR: The Bangladesh government has started to demolish Rohingya community-led school following its decision to shut down all home-based and community-led schools for Rohingya students in refugee camps.
On January 6, a community-led school run by Arakan Altruism and Educational Network (AASEN-1) was demolished in Kutupalong Refugee Camp.
Camp-in-charge Md. Mahfuzar Rahman has ordered the demolition which was carried out by Camp Head Majhi (a member of Rohingya refugee elected by the Bangladesh authorities who doesn’t neccessarily have supports or backing of the community) Ali Hussain and three police officers in Camp 1E, Block 13 at 13:00 local time.
The school, founded and run by volunteer Rohingya refugee teachers, has provided “Myanmar curriculum classes from Class 1 to 10 for under 18 years” Rohingya children since October 2019. It has also provided basic learning training courses and gender-based violence trainings.
The demolition leaves a total of 332 Rohingya students deprived of their education.
It is the first school being destroyed after the Office of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC), a Bangladesh government body for education policy in the Rohingya refugee camp, issued the 13-point policy to immediately shut down all private learning centres and home-based learning centres on December 13, 2021.
The decision is expected to affect “approximately 30,000 children” losing their education provided in home-based or community-led schools supported by members of Rohingya community and local and international organisations.
“Bangladesh’s decision to close schools for Rohingya refugee children violates the right to education on a massive scale. This cruel decision should be immediately reversed so that Rohingya children can get an education, which will be especially critical for their return to Myanmar when it is safe to do so,” said Human Rights Watch’s Associate Children’s Rights Director Bill Van Esveld.
Home-based and community-led schools play a vital role for the Rohingya refugee community to access to informal education, which is unable to provide or accommodate in the government-run official schools. It is estimated around 85% of students at home-based schools are girls.
“It is a stab to the hearts to our girls who never give up in the pursuit of education and who try to erase the trauma of genocide by putting efforts into home-based education,” said a Rohingya father told The Rohingya Post. “It shatters my daughter’s dream and future, and those of thousands of Rohingya children,” he continued.
“This completely breaks the Rohingya community to its core. Education is key to its resilience and hope. Now it is suddenly being taken away by the Bangladesh government which has saved a million Rohingya from the hellish mouth of genocide in Myanmar,” said Noor Jahan, an elderly Rohingya woman whose five grandchildren are being affected by the Bangladesh government’s decision to shut down schools.
“We survive in hope. We live in hope. Bangladesh has been our hope of survival. I hope that the government has a change of heart before the lack of education renders the Rohingya community into a complete destruction of hope and future. That is the future of children and the survival of the community,” Noor Jahan calls on the Bangladesh to reverse the decision to shut down the schools.