Political economy and (in)coherence of the education system in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

The displacement of Rohingya people poses a complex challenge for humanitarian, development, and public sectors in Bangladesh. It is considered a ‘crisis within a crisis’ as Cox’s Bazar is one of the country’s most deprived districts that is increasingly affected by recurrent climate shocks. Seven years into the crisis, approximately half a million Rohingya children in Cox’s Bazar continue to depend on temporary learning centres and religious schools. Despite considerable efforts to improve the quality of education, learning outcomes remain low with nearly 8 out of 10 children under the age of 12 unable to read. This paper delves into the political economy of the education system in Cox’s Bazar exploring the underlying causes of dissonance between official commitments and the day-to-day delivery of education by different actors. Challenges inherent to a protracted crisis are exacerbated by the Government’s reluctance to recognize post-2017 Rohingya arrivals as refugees, driven by the Government's objective to not bear disproportionate financial responsibility for the Rohingya crisis response.

Resource Info

Resource Type

White Paper


Published by

Education Research in Conflict and Protracted Crisis (ERICC) Consortium, Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

Authored by

Olha Homonchuk, Samuel Sharp, Susan Nicolai


Humanitarian Sectors - Education
Systems Strengthening

Geographic Focus