Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The Mizoram government has begun admitting the children of Myanmar refugees to state-run schools.

The process of admission followed a circular, issued by the School Education Director James Lalrinchhana to all District Education Officers on August 31, which stated that children belonging to disadvantaged communities have the right to education.

“1 am to state that chapter 2(4) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act-2009) mentioned that children aged between 6 to I4 years belonging to disadvantaged communities have the right to be admitted to school in a class appropriate to his or her age for completing elementary education…

“I, therefore, request you to take necessary action on admission to migrant/refugee children in your jurisdiction to schools so that they can continue their schooling,” the circular reads.

Six Mizoram districts — Champhai, Siaha, Lawngtlai, Serchhip, Hnahthial, and Saitual — share their border with Myanmar.

ALSO READ | Mizoram reports 886 new COVID-19 cases, single day positivity rate 10.33 per cent

According to the last count, more than 15,000 Myanmar nationals, including lawmakers and security personnel, had fled to Mizoram over a period of time following the coup by the military of that country in February. Most of the people are taking shelter in the Champhai district.

It was learnt that 325 refugee children have been already enrolled in schools in Champhai.

Lalrinchhana said the refugee children were being admitted into schools in Champhai, Lawngtlai, and Siaha.

“We are giving them education under Right to Education. The children will be admitted from the primary level to class 12. We are covering all children who require education. Books etc will be provided by the state government,” he said.

The refugees are settled in village schools, public and community halls, makeshift camps, etc.

“The local communities are taking care of their daily needs. We are all human beings. These people will go back (to Myanmar) when the situation improves. In fact, many have gone back,” Lalrinchhana added.

People from Myanmar’s Chin community and the Mizos in India belong to the Zo ethnic group and they share the same ancestry. The Chin people are settled in Myanmar’s Chin State, which shares a 404 km porous border with Mizoram.