|A student in Nepal looks at a photograph |
of his friend who resettled in NYC.
He later asks to be remembered to him.
To repeat, it is helpful to understand the scale of resettlement. When resettlement started in 2007, schools served about 32,121 students (CARITAS, December 2007), and as of June 30th 2010, they serve 19,341. This is a tremendous population change in a short time.
Because of resettlement, students encounter significant social change and many become anxious as classmates and teachers leave in the middle of the term. Some classmates may believe that is is no longer important to go to school, and though schools cannot enforce attendance, counselors meet with families to encourage sending children to school, and teachers may talk to students who are frequently absent. On the academic side, teachers report that students give less attention to studies because they are distracted by the resettlement process. These young people struggle to make sense of their relationships with each other as their community continues to scatter. While schools have put extra resources into coaching and test preparation, it is not surprising that under these conditions students’ test scores have fallen significantly.
As a result, while some resettled students remained in school, others may have gaps in their education.
Teachers: Bhutanese students may have come straight from the classroom in Nepal, or they may have taken a break for several months before rejoining formal education. They may be continuing to wrestle with the sense of loss that comes from the separation they personally experience and that is being experienced by all of their Bhutanese peers.