Under new program, 10,000 Rohingya boys and girls to be enrolled in grades 6 to 9, a move hailed by rights groups.
Rights groups and activists have welcomed Bangladesh’s decision to allow Rohingya children living in sprawling refugee camps to receive a formal education, calling it a “positive step”.
To date, only one-third of Rohingya child refugees – who fled a brutal 2017 crackdown in neighboring Myanmar – are able to access a primary education through temporary learning centers run by international agencies.
Starting in April, a pilot program led by the UNICEF and Bangladesh government will initially enroll 10,000 Rohingya boys and girls up to the age of 14 in the sixth to ninth grades, where they will be taught the Myanmar school curriculum and receive skills training, officials said on Wednesday.
“It is great news for us,” Nay San Lwin, co-founder of Free Rohingya Coalition, told Al Jazeera.
“As of now, at least the children can study up to grade 9 and youth can join skill training,” he said.
Primary education is provided to more than 145,000 children by a network of 1,600 UNICEF-run small learning centers in the refugee camps in southeastern Bangladesh, where more than one million Rohingya, nearly half of whom are children, have been living since they fled persecution in Myanmar.
Nearly 750,000 of these refugees crossed the border after Buddhist-majority Myanmar launched a military crackdown on the mostly Muslim ethnic group in 2017.
Rahima Akter, a 21-year-old Rohingya refugee, who was expelled from Cox’s Bazaar International University because of her “Rohingya” welcomed the move.
“I wholeheartedly praise the Bangladesh government for allowing Rohingya children to get an education, which is the fundamental human right of every citizen in every country. Refugees have the right to education too,” she told Al Jazeera.