In an estimate, more than 350,000 Rohingya children are being sheltered in twelve refugee camps in Bangladesh since August 2017. Some of them accompanied their parents; some only had a single parent, while some were orphans. Additionally, approximately, 60 children are being born each day in the camps adding the child population in the camps in an astronomical pace. Those who sought refuge, were subjected to trauma and brutality on the eve their departure from Rakhine, Myanmar. Since arrival, some of the younger children only received non-formal education through local and international NGOs. However, government of Bangladesh (GoB) plans to relocate 100,000 Rohingyas to Bhasanchar in the near future despite the fact that planned repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar was virtually stalled in the later part of 2018. In light of this, Canadian Prime Minister’s personal envoy Bob Rae re-visited the situation in January 2019 and suggested a mid-term strategy to resolve the crisis. Keeping this in mind, education of adolescent children is envisioned as one of the tools, which can help the stranded Rohingyas in middle and long-term basis rehabilitation/repatriation.
Nonformal Primary Education (NFPE) is an UNICEF approved model widely applied in grassroots educational development context in Bangladesh and 39 countries of the world (Brookings Institute, 2016, “Millions Learning: Scaling up quality education in developing countries”). BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee), Grameen Bank and their partner NGOs are leading Bangladesh NGOs administering NFPE programs throughout the country. The NFPE model is popular, as well as cost-effective and resource-efficient for visible advantages—customizable, affordable, low-resource-intensive, and friendly to local needs. The model is also adjustable to linguistic diversity and knowledge and cultural differences in marginalized community settings.
The above-mentioned literature on NFPE indicates that two groups remained not served yet. They are:
1) Children with physical and mental challenges (‘special’ children) &
2) The adolescents (13-18) mostly female
It is considerably challenging to address the public health and demographics features in low-cost intensive NFPE programs. Households and families are prejudiced, and conservative to such an extent that they tend to conceal the ‘disability’ features of their children. Parents tend to disagree with the fact-based advises that their ‘special children’ need specially customized education programs. Adolescents undergo considerable psychosomatic changes, and complex emotional transitions that exacerbate due to livelihood strife and stresses in camp environments. Therefore, they deserve to be brought into specially customized NFPE programs.
Since disability-focused (centred) NFPE requires considerable research-driven knowledge and understanding of the dynamics, we propose the program be well-thought out and well-designed at a later stage.
Proposed model for FANE
CRRIC proposes a four phase model development and implementation approach. The experimental model will be applied at a limited scale. Modification and further customization of the model will be incorporated on the basis of outcome of the piloted model. Target group is adolescent children of age 12-18 at the ratio of 3:1 (female: male).
This project will be implemented with the support of Winnipeg Rotary Club in collaboration with Chittagong Rotary club and a number of NGOs on ground.
For further reading:
Learning from Promising Practices in Refugee Education
Education is like oxygen for us: https://blogs.savethechildren.org.uk/2017/09/education-like-oxygen-us/