The most recent challenge has been the translation of the government-mandated Myanmar curriculum, introduced with little warning in 2022 and written in Burmese, a language the Rohingya were barred from learning in Myanmar, and therefore scarcely understood by either our students or teachers.
Our digital team has been working around the clock, and to date produced an impressive 466 video lessons from this curriculum, dubbed in the Rohingya dialect. These companion lessons are watched on the projector screen as the children have their Burmese textbooks open on their desks.
Digital lessons remain the most popular component of the classrooms and, in the last six months, have increased attendance from from 92% to 95% in the Kutupalong camp. When we first started the projector lessons, children were spellbound by them, and a few years later, they continue to create a peaceful learning environment, whilst inspiring active participation. Beyond attentiveness, classroom observations now reflect continual engagement and interaction with the lessons, showing the children’s increase in confidence and enthusiasm for learning.
Whilst significant steps forward are being achieved through our video lessons, without being able to take notes or read in their mother tongue, Rohingya students’ learning is still being held back. We have been granted permission to pilot the use of an alphabet called the Hanifi script, created 40 years ago by a Rohingya university professor living in Bangladesh, in order to create a written form of the Rohingya language.
This pilot project is already underway and marks the first time ever formal approval has been given to write the Rohingya language in either Bangladesh or Myanmar. Our team in Bangladesh are eagerly awaiting the results and the ever popular video lessons continue to be delivered on a daily basis.