Education centres for children affected by the Rohingya crisis
Submitted by: Dr. Ralf Schröder, Head of Division 222, Crisis management, transitional development assistance, reconstruction, infrastructure in crisis situations
Email: [email protected]
Introduction to the project
December 2017 – ongoing
In 2017, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees fled to southern Bangladesh due to increased violence in Myanmar. Almost 60% of the refugees were children. On behalf of the BMZ, UNICEF enabled displaced Rohingya children in Bangladesh to gain access to non-formal primary education. In an initial quick response first phase, the programme provided infrastructure for latrines and provisional learning centres for children in refugee-camps, as well as study material. Importantly, the programme has been continually improved over time and adapted to better address needs on the ground. The second phase aims at developing the programme towards more comprehensive structural interventions. Infrastructure designs were improved in consultation with local authorities, and quality of learning is addressed through additional trainings for teachers. Social cohesion receives greater attention, for example by providing study material to neighbouring host communities. Furthermore, partners identified a significant gap in support for the large number of adolescents in camps who face a lack of learning and employment opportunities, and a resulting high potential for frustration. Therefore, in 2018, the programme started to support adolescents through the construction of youth centres, vocational and life skill training, capacity development, and psychosocial support.
It is expected that up to 12,000 adolescents from camps and host communities will have access to life-skills, skill trainings, and are engaged in productive work.
The 5,000 adolescents who graduate in the first phase (3,500 camps and 1,500 host community) will benefit from post-training efforts, while 5,000 new adolescents (age 15- 18 years; 3,500 camps and 1,500 host community), and an additional 2,000 adolescents (age 10-14 years), will be enrolled in the integrated vocational, psychosocial, and life skills programme.
Complementarily it is expected that 10,000 community members and parents (7,000 camps and 3,000 host community) will be engaged through dialogue and sensitization on issues affecting the wellbeing of adolescents.
Main activities of the Good Practice
- Access to non-formal education for children between 4-14 years
- Capacity development for teachers
- Provision of safe and protective learning environments
- Provision of learning material
- Setting up of new learning and youth centres
- Setting up of latrines near learning centres, with separate toilets for girls and boys
- Psychosocial support of refugee children and youth
- Provision of standardised sets for early childhood development and ‘School in a box’ kits
- Outreach activities to parents, community members etc. on enrollment, WASH etc.
- Vocational training and capacity development for adolescents
- Psychosocial support and gender-based violence prevention for adolescents
Challenges and how they were overcome
Not all children in the camps were reached by the education measures. As a consequence, outreach-activities to sensitize the children’s parents were increased and the set-up of more learning centres were planned.
To allow for the refugee children’s education, Bangladeshi authorities permitted the construction of informal learning centres within the refugee camps. UNICEF and partners developed a tailored curriculum for these informal learning centres in refugee camps, which were adapted to existing learning skills. Furthermore, through intensive dialogue with authorities, gradual improvements to infrastructure design were agreed upon.
Lessons learned in the first phase of this programme are reflected in the planning and implementation of the second phase of the programme. As described above, challenges around the quality of teaching were addressed through more training programs, and the goal of preserving and fostering social cohesion received added priority. This included the inception of a second tier of the programme which directly addressed the large cohort of adolescents in the camps along with their particular needs and challenges.
Results of the Good Practice
Through UNICEF’s programme, 35,000 displaced Rohingya children, half of them girls, gained access to non-formal education.
The programme reached out to 15,377 parents and community members (33% of them women). In meetings, the importance of sending children to school, measures to improve hygiene, positive parenting, and other matters were discussed and participants sensitized.
Building on that, UNICEF increased the focus on quality of education and reducing access barriers for excluded children, especially girls and children with disabilities.
UNICEF set up 350 learning centres to provide access to education in a safe and nurturing environment for children affected by the crisis.
700 teachers from Rohingya and host communities were trained to carry out the educational measures in the learning centres. Of these teachers, 539 were women. The high proportion of female teachers led to an increased enrollment of girls.
The programme set up 334 latrines near the learning centres, with seperate toilets for girls and boys.
350 standardized kits for early childhood development and School-in-a-box-kits were provided to the learning centres.