Md. Ekram Hossein
The maktab, a school for Islamic studies, is a vital Rohingya community institution. Beginning as early as age three, Rohingya boys and girls attend their village maktab to learn to read the Qur’an, learn to pray, and to study the fundamentals of a good Muslim life. Boys and girls are gender separated into different groups, and study with different religious teachers called mullahs.
Though many Rohingya children do not attend secular schools, almost all Rohingya parents will send their sons and daughters to a maktab for religious training in their early years. A typical session might run from 7 to 9 am, with 50 students in one room studying with three mullahs. A maktab is usually a one-room structure, located near the village mosoit (mosque), with open bamboo walls for ventilation. This maktab model was made by Rohingya carpenter Ekram with Acacia wood, and is modeled after the school in his village. It has three doors and a roof thatched with om fata (nipa palm leaf).