Rakhaing Language to be taught at Bangladeshi Rakhaing Buddhist Monasteries

Narinjara News, Aug 24, 2006

Dakha, Bangladesh -- Rakhaing Buddhist monasteries in Bangladesh will open Rakhaing language classes as part of a scheme to protect against the decline of religion-cultural aspects of Rakhaing among the Bangladesh Rakhaing community, according to a statement of the Light of Sangha, a monk committee.

The native language scheme is the result of a meeting of monks on August 18 at Kurae Choat Village in Cox’sbazar district.

In Bangladesh, Rakhaing people do not currently have any opportunities to learn their native language formally, as Bangladeshi schools have only Bengali or English as teaching mediums or subjects. Hence, the role of the mother language has been losing importance in Rakhaing life as most Rakhaing are unable to read or write in their native language. To arrest this trend, the monks decided to start language classes at the monasteries.

The meeting was organized by the monks from the Light of Sangha.

It was decided that classes will be taught at ten monasteries in the initial stage, and textbooks from Burma will be used while Rakhaing language primary texts are being developed.

The declaration of the Light of Sangha regarding the Rakhaing language classes states that Rakhaings had in the past been literate in their mother tongue, but since Bangladesh was first formed as part of Pakistan, the Rakhaing language has not been taught formally. Hence, language and accompanying culture and religion have been starting to fade away from the daily life of the Bangladeshi Rakhaing. This loss of language and culture means that unity and cooperation between Rakhaing people are also starting to disappear with negative social consequences.

It is because of this that the Light of Sangha will be focusing on teaching Rakhaing language classes, the statement says.