BANGLADESH LEADER HASINA TELLS WORLD TO INVEST IN EDUCATION, NOT WEAPONS
Sumon Mahbub from New York, bdnews24.com
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the world to invest in education instead of spending billions on developing new weapons.
“We must divert billions we spend for creating war machines and violence to educating our progeny for the world we want,” she said at a high-level meeting of the ‘Global Education First Initiative’ (GEFI) at the United Nations headquarters on Wednesday.
“Let us all invest in quality education for a culture of peace and non-violence.”
The prime minister urged all to raise their voice against the situation in Gaza which she said was not acceptable.
The UN secretary-general had launched the five-year GEFI in September 2012 to accelerate progress towards the Education for All goal and the education-related Millennium Development Goals.
Hasina mentioned several of her government’s initiatives and plans for Bangladesh’s education sector. She said the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) had helped Bangladesh to ‘champion access to education and gender parity’.
Her government would prioritise ‘quality education’ after 2015.
The prime minister added that there would be over 120 million young and active members in the country’s workforce by 2031.
The National Education Policy was introduced to lay the foundation of that goal and to reach it eventually.
Sharing her thoughts on quality education, Hasina emphasised the need for quality teachers.
“My government has trained nearly a million secondary teachers in quality teaching and evaluation methods. Sixty percent teaching positions in primary schools are reserved for qualified women.”
The prime minister stressed that quality education must ensure access to free textbooks and contemporary curricula in a low-income country.
She mentioned several of her government’s measures such as the distribution of 318 million free textbooks in 2014 at the primary and secondary level, the introduction of a creative assessment system, and modernisation of Madrasa education incorporating inti it science and IT education from the mainstream.
“Talented students must continue learning,” she said, adding that her government, in 2013, gave stipends to nearly 12.8 million secondary-to-bachelor’s students, 75 percent of them girls, to help them continue studies.
The government initiative, Hasina said, had helped increase the number of graduates in technical and vocational education training sevenfold in the past five years.
The prime minister further said Bangladesh was developing a law for a uniform education system covering nearly 70 million young learners from the mainstream, madrasas, and minorities.
She underscored keeping girls’ and women’s education as a pillar of quality education.
“We need resources for quality education. This fiscal, Bangladesh allocated 11.66 percent of its budget for education.”
“We, at the GEFI, must build global partnerships and consensus for resources,” she remarked.
Earlier, Croatia President Ivo Josipovic emphasised importance of qualitative pre-primary education and said education for all must be ensured because only it can guarantee a better life.
Tunisia’s President Moncef Marzouki urged the world leaders to ensure education for all.
According to him, “real education” is something that can contribute in “building society”.
Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar advocated to put emphasis on pre-primary education, saying an investment in the sector is an investment for the future.
He recalled the situation in Gaza and Syria where hundreds of thousands of children could not attend school.
Andorra’s Prime Minister Antoni Marti Petit, Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, among others, addressed the meeting.
Prime Minister Hasina’s daughter and child psychologist Saima Wazed Hossain accompanied her.
SEPTEMBER 25, 2014