How did the school system start? Who started it?
The Bhutanese Refugee Education Program (BREP) was started in late 1991. Initially, the Student Union of Bhutan and refugees who were former teachers in Bhutan organized schools on the riverbank or under trees.
By 1992, CARITAS (an international Catholic relief agency) provided money and materials to the schools. When CARITAS joined the Student Union as an implementing partner, The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (the UNHCR) was able to fund the primary education, pre-primary (PP) to eighth grade. CARITAS funded secondary education (9th and 10th grades). CARITAS is responsible for the organization and implementation of the educational program in the nine main schools at seven refugee camps. The structure of these schools is broken down into smaller divisions, and these divisions have changed as the population has shifted.
To begin to appreciate the change in the numbers served by the schools since resettlement, it is instructive to look at the school populations in 2007, when third country resettlement began, and in 2010. According to CARITAS’s data, in December of 2007, the schools served 32,121 students. By the end of June, 2010, the most recent date for which data was available, the schools served 19,341 students.