Thursday, 04 October 2018 00:00

BRAC opens first two-storey learning centre for Rohingya children in Kutupalong

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The two-storey structure, made mainly of bamboo and other natural ingredients, stands two feet above ground, which means rainwater won’t stand. The architecture follows indigenous Rohingya building traditions, allowing better resilience to extreme weather, ventilation and best utilisation of space. From yesterday (Wednesday) 240 Rohingya children are taking lessons in this centre.

This first two-storey temporary learning centre (TLC) for the Rohingya children has been on a pilot basis in the extension area of Camp-4 in Kutupalong of Ukhiya in Cox's Bazar. BRAC and the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) have jointly built the structure with support from the Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commission of Bangladesh government. The learning centre was inaugurated by the refugee, relief and repatriation commissioner (RRRC), Mohammad Abul Kalam, ndc, on Wednesday (3 October 2018).

The learning centre was designed by the architecture department of BRAC University. Standing 38.6 feet high and 25 feet wide, each floor accommodates up to 40 students in one shift. Like all other TLCs of BRAC, this centre will also run on three shifts, six days a week. The entire structure is temporary, so it could be relocated anytime.

RRRC Mohammad Abul Kalam, ndc, said: “The Rohingya children will be taught English and mathematics besides Burmese language.” Nesar Ahmed, joint secretary to the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education of Bangladesh, praised the initiative and also BRAC’s role as partner to the government. Describing it as a cooperative and fruitful initiative, acting head of operations at UNHCR’s Cox’s Bazar sub-office, Bernadette Castel-Hollingsworth, said they were looking forward to doing more such work in future. UNICEF’s head of education, Pawan Kuchias wished best of luck to the initiative.

D. Safiqul Islam, director of BRAC Education Program, said every child is a goldmine of dreams and possibilities and education plays an important role in realising those. BRAC has taken this initiative in order to accommodate maximum number of children in limited space.

The ground floor is for pre-primary level, and the first floor for primary. BRAC’s target for 2019 is to enroll 100,000 Rohingya children in its learning centres. Currently, more than 500,000 children are living in the Rohingya camps, of which only 31% are attending the learning centres operated by BRAC and others.

BRAC is running 317 temporary learning centres in the camps, with more than 31,000 children enrolled. These learning centres focus on early-grade learning, basic literacy, numeracy, life-saving information, psycho-social support and life skills.

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