‘Global action needed to ensure safe environment for students’

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

Dhaka, (Asian independent) Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for a concerted global action to ensure a safe and secure environment for students during the ongoing coronavirus crisis as education is one of the sectors deeply affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said this while delivering a video message on the first-ever observance of the “International Day to Protect Education from Attack” on the virtual platform, on Wednesday.

The day is being observed aiming to shed light on the issue of attacks on education and help more marginalised children and youth in conflict-affected countries to have access to quality education opportunities.

In her pre-recorded message, Hasina simultaneously underscored revamping international cooperation to protect education in every situation, saying concerted efforts would surely lead the countries to the desired future.

“On this auspicious occasion, let’s commit to revamping international cooperation to protect education in every situation… our concerted efforts would surely lead us to the future we want,” she said.

She said her government has heavily invested in the education sector as it attaches the highest importance to the field.

“Our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman prioritized education as an important tool for the country’s development. Guided by his vision, we have heavily invested in education,” she said.

Hasina also elaborated a host of measures undertaken by the government to improve education and create a safe environment for every student, including children with special needs.

She said the government has been distributing textbooks among students upto secondary level since 2010, while stipends are being provided to more than 20.3 million students upto higher education level.

“Besides, girls’ education upto higher secondary level has been made free,” she said.

The premier said over 26,193 primary schools and 685 high schools have been nationalised, while 4,361 educational institutions have been brought under Monthly Payment Order (MPO).

Sheikh Hasina said all these measures along with other interventions like gender-sensitive approach, school feeding programme, the establishment of primary schools at almost every village and ward, ICT education have been showing tangible benefits.

“As a result, net enrolment rate rose to 97.74 per cent in 2019 and literacy rate increased to 74 per cent,” she said.

Hasina also said her government has taken steps to modernise madrasah education.

At the outset of her speech, Hasina congratulated all on the first-ever observance of the International Day to Protect Education from Attack and appreciated Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the chairperson of Education Above All Foundation and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocate.

The premier said though the COVID-19 crisis has shown the weakness of the existing education system, Bangladesh has taken various measures to offset the pandemic impact on the education sector.

“We don’t remain idle although educational institutions remained closed. We have launched televised and online learning for the students,” Hasina mentioned.

She said her government is continuing monetary support for the students, while special measures have been taken so that students are engaged in studies.