Aizawl: More than 1,900 Myanmarese children, who fled the trouble-hit country with their families and took refuge in Mizoram, have been enrolled in various schools of the state, where they receive free education, a senior official said on Tuesday.
Education department director James Lalrinchhana said that the state government has been enrolling names of children of Myanmar nationals in schools since August.
The initiative has been taken “purely on humanitarian grounds”, he said.
Mizoram shares a 510-km-long border with Myanmar’s Chin state.
Myanmar nationals have been fleeing the country since February following a military coup that left its democratically elected government in exile and sparked protests and subsequent crackdowns.
Most of them are currently lodged in relief camps set up by locals in bordering villages.
“We can’t ignore the request of migrant Myanmar leaders. We may also face backlash from the international community if education is not provided to the refugees, who escaped due to a humanitarian crisis,” he told PTI.
According to Lalrinchhana, a total of 1,972 Myanmarese children, out of which 1,010 boys and 962 are girls, at present are attending classes in government schools across the state.
However, the number keeps changing with the influx of new refugees, he stated.
No separate medium of instruction or teachers have been arranged for the children as most of them understand Mizo and English, Lalrinchhana said.
According to the education department records, which were accessed by PTI, names of refugee students have been registered in schools across all eleven districts of Mizoram, with Champhai having the highest number of enrolments at 711, followed by Lawngtlai at 539.
Around 70 Myanmarese children are attending classes in the state capital Aizawl, the records showed.
As many as 1,704 children study in classes 1 to 8, at least 140 are enrolled in classes 9 and 10, six in classes 11 and 12, and 122 kids in pre-primary sections, it further added.