Beyond Survival Rohingya Refugee Children in Bangladesh Want to Learn

UNICEF Advocacy Alert

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UNICEF Bangladesh/2019/Patrick Brown


For the last two years, more than 900,000 stateless Rohingya refugees living in the camps of southeast Bangladesh have focused on staying alive. The root causes of the violence that drove the Rohingya from Myanmar remain unresolved. Conditions have not been established that would allow the refugees to return to their homes. The result is that the Rohingya refugees will remain in Bangladesh for the immediate future.

For children and young people, the protracted state of limbo has awoken an intense desire for learning opportunities that prepare them for the future. At the same time, there exists a gap of over 25,000 children not attending any learning programmes, while an additional 640 learning centres are needed.

Furthermore, an estimated 97 per cent of adolescents and youth aged 15 to 18 years are not enrolled in any type of learning facility. Parents are concerned that the longer their children are deprived of education, the greater the risk that they will be exposed to exploitation and abuse. Education for girls lags even further behind. In most cases, when girls reach puberty, they are withdrawn from school by their families.

While strengthening the quality of learning for younger children, an entire adolescent curriculum needs to be established, offering foundational skills in literacy and numeracy alongside more practical vocational skills that can translate into opportunities in entrepreneurship.

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UNICEF Bangladesh
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