Despite the campaign of genocide in northern Rakhine State, Rohingya students’ desire for education is being shown as the force of resilience in the latest Matriculation examinations
On June 1, Myanmar released the results of Matriculation (pre-university) examinations across the country. Among them are the list of Rohingya students who successfully completely the examinations in the 2017-18 academic year.
Majority of them are Rohingya students in the list of total of 272 students who passed the exams in Maungdaw District – comprising of Maungdaw and Buthidaung township.
A young Rohingya girl, Ma Ru Chi Myint is the top student in the whole district with five distinctions in Myanmar Language, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
Maung Abdu Hanif and Maung Mohammed Riyaz also passed with golden colours – four and three distinctions respectively in Maungdaw while Maung Shoriful Islam, Maung Mohammed Koser and Maung Mohammed Ayas completed with four, three and three distinctions in Buthidaung.
The academic year was in no way smooth for the Rohingya students.
It was the year when Myanmar Military launched the most atrocious campaign of genocide against the community in August 2017 when the students barely began their classes.
The campaign has terrorised the entire Rohingya community which saw almost 700,000 Rohingya were expelled from the country into Bangladesh refugee camps; over 370 Rohingya villages were burned down in the scorched-earth campaigns; at least 12,000 Rohingya civilians were killed including women, children and students; and many of the remaining Rohingya live in the total lockdown and continuous harassment at the hands of military and Buddhist extremist elements.
As the campaign unfolded, Rohingya students have also faced the closure of their schools for several months, and their freedom of movement including going to schools was completely being restricted.
At the same time, for the first time in the history, Rohingya students were segregated during the teachings and the examinations in Buthidaung township, and many Rakhine Buddhist teachers have reportedly refused to teach Rohingya students due to the rising anti-Rohingya sentiment, and the state-sponsored racism, Islamophobia and violence.
Having successfully completed the examinations showing their resilience against the odds, the future of the students is uncertain as university education is entirely banned for the Rohingya community since June 2012.
Tens of thousands of Rohingya and Kaman Muslim students are trapped inside Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps across Rakhine State without access to schools, teachers and facilities.
Since taking over the government including the Ministry of Education by Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD Party in 2016, the situations of Rohingya students have worsen – the denial of university education is continuously in place as the State policy of persecution against Rohingya.