ECW in Bangladesh
The district of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh hosts the world’s largest refugee camp, reaching one million Rohingya refugees. Refugee children lack access to basic services such as education, health care, nutrition, and water and sanitation facilities. Since the early days of the massive influx of Rohingya refugees in 2017, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) has been supporting learning opportunities in the country. Education provides hope and protection to refugee and host community girls and boys impacted by the crisis. ECW works with United Nations agencies, civil society organizations, community leaders and other key stakeholders to support access to safe and holistic learning spaces, thus ensuring continuity of education for both refugee and host community children and adolescents.
Education Cluster in Cox’s Bazar
- Number of learning spaces with a functioning school-management committee and/or parent-teacher association: 2,850
- Number of children and adolescents who partake in at least 50% of the radio/TV/social media education programmes broadcast from home or in listening groups: 109,329
- Number of learning spaces with a dedicated counselor or social worker available on site: 1,953
- Number of teachers/administrators trained in subject knowledge, curriculum/planning or pedagogy topics: 5,341
Schools in Cox’s Bazar have the country’s lowest retention and achievement rates, going back to before 2017. Children living in the camps face significant challenges, from shortages of learning spaces to poor quality of teaching. Many Rohingya children experienced stress and/or trauma caused by conflict and forced displacement, affecting their ability to concentrate on their studies. This is particularly the case for adolescent girls, who are often the most excluded from learning as most girls are withdrawn from school by their families once they reach puberty.
Most children have never participated in formal schooling. Those not in school often find little to do in the camps, and the lack of opportunities to learn or engage in activities places them at high risk of exploitation, abuse, child marriage and adolescent pregnancy. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic compounded the risks for vulnerable children and adolescents with the temporary closure of all learning facilities in the camps.
To address these challenges, ECW support focuses on increasing access to education with safe and inclusive learning environments, improving quality through teaching and incorporating community participation to increase the programme’s reach. ECW investments in the country reach both refugee children and marginalized Bangladeshi host community children.
Advocating for the continuity of education: ECW partners advocated within the education sector for the use of the Myanmar school curriculum with Rohingya children in Bangladesh. The Myanmar curriculum was implemented in 2020 and is currently being scaled up by national and international NGOs working in Cox’s Bazar.
Promoting equitable education: Interventions specifically address barriers for women and girls. These include the provision of separate facilities for girls, boys, mothers and fathers, the creation of safe learning environments for girls, and a specific focus on recruiting female teachers.
Promoting more inclusive education: The programme prioritizes the inclusion of children with disabilities in learning centers. The focus is on improving the collection and use of data of children living with a disability. Strategies are designed to support teachers to practice inclusive approaches and differentiate based on the needs of children.
Recruiting and training teachers: The programme promotes a safe and child-friendly environment that incorporates a more equitable gender balance among educators. ECW partners recruit and support the retention of teachers. Teacher training sessions cover psychosocial support, disaster risk reduction and management, prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, and child safeguarding policies.
Supporting caregiver-led learning: ECW supports access to learning through home-based, caregiver-led education. Rohingya teachers visited parents and children and shared learning competency materials with instructions on how to ensure continued learning at home, along with information on health and hygiene materials.
For more information on ECW's work in Bangladesh, please contact Eddie Dutton: firstname.lastname@example.org