The Directorate of School Education sends a circular to all District Education Officers and Sub Divisional Educational Officers, requesting officials to make arrangements for “admission to migrant/refugee children” in the jurisdictions so that the children can continue with their academic studies.
Myanmar refugee children can now be admitted to schools in the state
After their flight from the military coup in Myanmar, children of Myanmar refugees who are currently taking shelter in Mizoram can now apply for admissions to schools in the state according to authorities.
A circular which is signed by James Lalrinchhana, Director, Directorate of School Education, cites Chapter 2(4) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 (RTE Act0 2009) as the reason for making the decision.
The letter states that as per the Act, children between the age of 6 to 14 years belonging to disadvantaged communities have the right to get admitted to schools in a class that is appropriate to their age for completing necessary elementary education.
Refugees in the state of Mizoram
According to government records from September 1, across 10 districts of Mizoram, there are 9,450 refugees. 4,488 refugees are currently being sheltered in the Champhai district which is located along the Indo-Myanmar border which is the highest number.
Following Champhai district is the capital Aizawl which has 1,622 refugees. Despite these numbers, some have even reported having gone back to Myanmar too.
As per government sources, in an informal meeting, a few Myanmar parliamentarians recently had a meet-up with Mizoram Education Minister Lalchhandama Ralte and requested to look into the problems that the children have been facing.
Responsibility to take care of our future generations
Lalrinchhana, Director, Education Department tells The Indian Express that despite the “immediate action” to the current situation of the Myanmar children, it applies to all children of any nationality. “As long as they are on Indian soil, it is our responsibility to take care of them, they cannot miss out on education so crucial to their development,” he says.
Moreover, he also adds that district officials will identify the children and make the required arrangements by admitting them into “age-appropriate” classes. “We will provide them with the same educational services we do for the children of India — till they are here. Many stay for a short period and return to their home country,” he says.
Welcomes refugees despite Centre’s orders to close borders
Thousands of refugees from Myanmar crossed over the border into Mizoram, since March after the military staged a coup. Despite the Centre’s orders to close down the border to these refugees, the Mizoram National Front (MNF) government led by Zoramthanga welcomes them as a family which invokes a common tribal lineage.
Chief Minister Zoramthanga wrote: “… the Myanmar areas bordering Mizoram are inhabited by Chin communities who are ethnically our Mizo brethren with whom we have (had) close contact… even before India became independent… Mizoram cannot just remain indifferent to their sufferings today,” in his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Lastly, in August, the government in Mizoram said that they will re-open all classes in areas that have 0 cases. “As of today, 576 schools have re-opened in areas which are completely Covid-free — mostly interior villages, which have problems with online connectivity, fall in this group,” says Lalrinchhana.