Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, education is currently disrupted for 1.5 billion students worldwide, which includes Bangladeshi and Rohingya students in Cox’s Bazar. All of the almost 6,000 learning facilities in the Rohingya camps are closed until at least 9 April 2020, in alignment with the Government of Bangladesh’s (GoB) decision to close schools nationally to minimize the risk of COVID19 transmission in communities.
Most of ongoing activities, such as the development of the Myanmar Curriculum Pilot project (MCP), which was supposed to be launched in April 2020, have been halted as all humanitarian workers, including the Education Sector team in Cox’s Bazar (the Sector henceforth), are fully occupied with the COVID-19 response. As a result, the launch of the MCP is postponed until at least July 2020.
Subsequently, the Education Sector multi-year strategy (the Strategy henceforth) is missing some critical information, such as overall targets and budget for the three-year duration (and the breakdown of Y2 and Y3), as of 31 March 2020.
The Sector team will finalize the Strategy, specifically, the Response framework and the budget components, when the situation returns to “business as usual”. The host community component will also be completed after the District Education Authority in Cox’s Bazar, provide updated data to the Sector team (due March 2020), are released from the urgent COVID-19 Government’s response. For these missing pieces, this Strategy contains a number of guidelines, available in the footnotes (they are bolded not to be confused with other regular footnotes). It is also noteworthy (and recommended) that the COVID-19 response for education in Cox’s Bazar may be introduced in this Strategy at a later stage.
Some 855,000 Rohingya refugees currently reside in 34 extremely congested camps in Ukhiya and Teknaf upazillas of Cox’s Bazar District, following an outbreak of violence in Myanmar in August 2017.
Under the leadership of the GoB, the humanitarian community through the inter-sector coordination group (ISCG), engaged in multi-sectoral support, which has culminated in the prioritized Joint Response Plan (JRP). This plan includes special consideration to host communities living in close proximity to the camps. During the next three years, the Education Sector in Cox’s Bazar (the Sector henceforth) aims to provide access to quality education for the estimated 428,971 children, adolescents and youth in the camps and support to education for the most affected host communities , especially out-of-school children and those enrolled in the least performing schools in Ukhiya and Teknaf.
The development of the Strategy, which includes a 3-year financial projection, stems from a request from the donor community, who expressed interest in having a long-term perspective on how to address, coordinate and anticipate funding for the education response. This Strategy outlines the Sector’s approach and operational plan that will guide partners in their implementation of an effective, timely, and quality humanitarian response during the next three years. Striving for achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all) in Cox’s Bazar, the Strategy development process was based on three pillars (Accountability, Partnership and Humanitarian-Development Nexus) and four principles (Consultation, Evidence, Harmonization, and Alignment and Continuity), which ensures that this plan is collaboratively developed, needs-based, coordinated, and aligned with other education and inter-sector humanitarian and development plans.