Bangladesh says it considers continuation of learning under Myanmar curriculum as an effort to keep the children engaged in productive and capacity building activities which would work as incentive for their early voluntary repatriation.
"Prolonged presence of a huge number of persecuted people entails serious ramification on the economy, environment, security, and socio-political stability of Bangladesh and beyond," said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a press statement on Thursday regarding misrepresentation of Bangladesh government’s arrangement of learning facilities for the Rohingya children.
The government says it appreciates the international community's cooperation to facilitate early, sustainable, and voluntary repatriation of the Rohingya to their ancestral land in Rakhine State of Myanmar and it is also the expectation of the Rohingya.
The government of Bangladesh places great importance on ensuring access to education for all especially for girls and in a similar vein.
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The government is facilitating learning activities for the Rohingya children inside the camps.
However, it is of deep concern that disinformation is being propagated about the learning facilities for the Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMN) or Rohingya children when the government of Bangladesh is working with the UN agencies to gradually bring learning facilities under Myanmar curriculum, streamline the volunteer teacher’s engagement and adopting policies for their capacity building, MoFA said.
Reports of closure of learning facilities, barring teachers or students to attend there are false and fabricated, it said.
The government of Bangladesh has arranged learning scopes for the Rohingya children inside the camps through around 5617 learning facilities all of which are in operation and neither Education Sector Operators in Rohingya Camps nor UNICEF (lead agency for education) raised any concern about closing any learning facility.
The FDMN children study under the UNICEF and BRAC developed curriculum called ‘Learning Competency Framework and Approach (LCFA)’ in the camps completely free of charge. Since the end of last year, a pilot project, called Myanmar Curriculum Pilot (MCP), has been rolled out in Rohingya camps which follows Myanmar curriculum and is conducted primarily in Myanmar language.
"It would gradually replace the LCFA. UNICEF is the lead agency to roll out the Myanmar curriculum inside the camps free of charge in the learning centers in a phased manner for grades one to twelve," MoFA said.
The government bodies with the support of the UN agencies are arranging learning in accordance with Myanmar curriculum which would allow every participant to continue to be exposed to their culture, mother tongue, and national identity.
It would facilitate reintegration in their ancestral society in Rakhine State smoothly upon their voluntary return, MoFA said.
Besides, it said, students in need of special help like the disabled, or adolescent girls who face difficulties attending learning centers because of the conservative mindset of their families, can attend alternate learning facilities described as community-based learning centers.
"Learning in those centers can also take place exceptionally in the event of medical emergencies, or natural disasters."
Rohingya volunteer teachers are conducting teaching and additional volunteers are being engaged and being trained to teach the Myanmar curriculum.
The host community representatives may be recruited for subjects that cannot be taught by Rohingya volunteers under Myanmar Curriculum, MoFA said.
The government of Bangladesh and the UN is finalizing a policy to further streamline the volunteer teachers' engagement and make it more fruitful.
"As the Myanmar curriculum rolls out at different grades, efforts should continue to ensure a standard curriculum is taught to all students, and to ensure education is provided to Rohingya refugees free of charge and no disparity is created among FDMN children in the name of education. To ensure that the government of Bangladesh discourages operation of any private coaching centers or Moktobs inside the camps where learning activities are conducted in exchange of money, does not necessarily follow the Myanmar Curriculum or is even suspected to spread ideologies with ulterior motives."
Dropout rates in the established learning centers are increasing due to the unexpected operation of those coaching centers.
Promotion of such coaching centers would turn learning into a business commodity, MoFA said.
Following the Covid-19 related global health advisories, the learning centers were suspended in the highly congested Rohingya camps and were reopened as pre-covid conditions as the corona virus situation improved.
Now all the educational facilities are running on a regular basis like other educational institutions of Bangladesh.
Besides, schools and offices remain closed on weekends and national holidays globally.
Covid-19 induced suspensions and enjoying holidays on weekends or government holidays, suspension of unauthorised business ventures in the name of education should not be treated as an effort to impede learning facilities for Rohingya children, MoFA said.