Government authorities in Bangladesh closed more than 30 community-run schools where about 400,000 school-age children attended following a broader effort by the Bangladesh government to tighten its control of the camps.
According to the authorities, the schools were closed because Rohingya community leaders failed to secure permission to open them.
“One just cannot open a school whenever you want,” said Mohammad Shamsud Douza, a top official at Bangladesh’s Office of the Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commissioner. “We don’t know what they teach in these schools. It could be anything,” Douza said.
However, UNICEF and a few other agencies were permitted to operate schools for younger children in the camps.
In December, Bangladeshi authorities started closing these schools, calling them illegal.
Human-rights activist and the former secretary-general of Ain O Salish Kendra, Nur Khan Liton said the government was concerned the schools would encourage the Rohingya to stay on the Bangladesh side of the border.
“They fear if the next generation of Rohingyas is educated here, they will never leave the country,” Liton said.
Aid groups operate about 3,200 learning centers for the younger children in the camps, UNICEF runs 2,800 of them.
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