Teknaf, Bangladesh: Education in Burmese refugee camps is deteriorating day-by-day following the resignation of many local teachers from the camps because of their inadequate salaries, said one of the local teachers in the refugee camp.
“There are two groups of teachers that have been appointed in the camps for teaching refugee students. One group is from the refugees, and the other group is from the local villages. The local teachers get Taka 2,500 per month as a basic salary, while the refugee teachers get Taka 1,850 per month.”
RTM (Research Training Management) International told the teachers at the beginning of appointment that a Eid (festival) bonus will be given to the local and refugee teachers alike. Besides, the RTM officials promised that they will also increase the salaries by 10 percent per year. However, they have not kept their promises. A 10 percent raise was given to the local teachers, but not to the refugee teachers. Even so, it is not enough for the teachers as the price of essential goods has shot up, said a refugee teacher from the camp.
“In 2009, RTM International gave bonuses to the teachers, but later they postponed it.”
As a result, some of the local teachers, since two months ago, resigned from their post. At present, five local teachers from Nayapara camp and six local teachers from Kutupalong camp have given resignation letters to the authorities concerned. Due to the lack of teachers in the classrooms, the teaching to the students has been seriously affected. But the concerned authorities do not care about this, the camp refugee teacher added.
At present, the camp education is funded by UNICEF, which will continue funding till December 2011. After that, SCF (Save the Children Fund)-UK will give funds for implementing education programs in Nayapara and Kutupalong camps.
There are 10 schools with about 4,500 students in Nayapara camp, and Kutupalong camp has 11 schools with over 3,500 students. There are 38 local teachers and 78 refugee teachers in Nayapara camp, and also nearly 80 teachers including local and refugee teachers in Kutupalong camp.
One of the fathers of refugee students said, “We want our children to have good education. We want to ask the concerned authorities to take this matter seriously; otherwise, the education of our children will be ruined.