DIVERT FUND FROM WAR MACHINES TO EDUCATION : SHEIKH HASINA AT UN
“We, at the GEFI, must build global partnerships and consensus for resources. We must divert billions we spend on creating war machines and violence to educating our progeny for the ‘world we want’. Let’s all invest in quality education for a ‘Culture of Peace and Non-Violence,” she said.
Hasina was addressing the Panel Discussion of High-level Event on the UN Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) at Trusteeship Council, UN Headquarters on Wednesday afternoon (local time).
In this connection, the Prime Minister referred to the atrocities in Gaza by Israeli forces, and urged the world leaders to raise their voice against it. “The situation in Gaza is not acceptable, all should raise their voice ‘what is happening in Gaza,” she said.
Turning to education in Bangladesh, Hasina said the MDGs helped the country to be champion in ensuring access to education and, gender parity. “In the post-2015 era, our priority must be ‘quality education.”
Mentioning that Bangladesh will have more than 120 million young and active workforce by 2031, the Prime Minister said, “My government is determined to unlock their talents and transform them into skilled human capital. Bangladesh’s National Education Policy 2010 has laid foundations to that end.
In a low-income-country, she said, quality education must ensure access to free textbooks and contemporary curricula. “Only in 2014, we’ve distributed 318 million free textbooks among primary and secondary students. A new national curriculum and a creative assessment system have been developed. Madrasah education has been reformed with mainstreaming of science and ICT education.”
Hasina said quality education must include an ICT knowledge-base. “In Bangladesh, ICT knowledge is compulsory for secondary and higher secondary students. She said her government’s ‘Digital Bangladesh’ vision for a technology-driven society is implementing a rigorous ICT Master Plan for Education.”
The Prime Minister said talented students must continue learning. “Just in 2013, we gave stipends to nearly 12.8 million meritorious secondary-to-bachelor’s students to ensure continued learning. Girls received 75 percent of these stipends.”
Hasina went on to say, “Our aim is also to create skilled youths for job markets at home and abroad. Over the last five years, we have increased number of graduates in Technical and Vocational Education Training by seven folds.”
Noting that quality education must also ensure the inclusion of the excluded, she said Bangladesh is developing a law towards a uniform education system covering nearly 70 million young learners, from mainstream, madrasahs and minorities. “Girls and women’s education must remain a pillar of quality education.”
“We need resources for quality education. This fiscal, Bangladesh allocated 11.66 percent of its budget for education,” she told the event.
Croatian President Ivo Josipovic, Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina Sanchez, Guyanese President Donald Ramotar, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, President, Andorran Prime Minister Antoni Marti Petit, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, among others, spoke on the occasion.
PM’s daughter and eminent autism expert Saima Wazed Hossain was also present.
SEPTEMBER 25, 2014