Education for Child Refugees Upgraded

Kompas, page 12

Education for child refugees in Indonesia has been inadequate.  Actually, education is one way for refugees to improve their abilities and socialize with local residents. UNHCR Chief of Mission Thomas Vargas said the main obstacle in providing education for refugees is the language. They generally cannot speak Indonesian nor English.

In Indonesia, UNHCR reported that there were 13,800 refugees from 40 countries, including Myanmar, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Palestine. Refugees from Myanmar are ethnic Rohingya who were driven from their homeland in the Rakhine region due to horizontal conflict.

According to Vargas, in Indonesia, UNHCR is in cooperation with Dompet Dhuafa to provide education to child refugees. Among the type of lessons given are Mathematics and Indonesian. One of the expected targets is that at least they could communicate with the locals.

Meanwhile, Social Development Manager of Dompet Dhuafa Arih Rahmadi Haryono explained, the volunteers have compiled an English-Indonesian-Rohingyan dictionary. It took a long time for volunteers to ensure the form and meaning of various Rohingya vocabulary. According to him, the education given is general in nature and not in the appropriate age levels of children. This is done because there is no law regarding the education of child refugees in Indonesia. As a result, they cannot learn in regular schools.

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