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PM iterates dev priority for women, girls

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pmStaff Reporter
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has iterated her government’s firm commitment to building a developed, prosperous and knowledge-driven society in pursuit of 'Vision-2041' saying that women and girls in Bangladesh will remain in the forefront of national endeavor to this end.
In this regard, the Prime Minister urged the United Nations and the international community to work together with Bangladesh on girls’ and women’s education.
The PM’s voiced her commitment and made the appeal while inaugurating an International Conference on ‘Girls’ and women’s literacy and education: Foundations for sustainable development’ marking the International Literacy Day 2014 at Bangabandhu International Conference Center in the city yesterday.
The program was organized by the Government of Bangladesh in partnership with UNESCO, in support of the UN Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI).
Speaking on the occasion, Hasina said the government believes that in the post-2015 development context, GEFI’s focus on promoting inclusive education, improving quality of education and grooming every child can act as one of the core foundations of sustainable development and a key driving force in universalizing girls’ and women’s literacy and education.
She also expressed her belief that only the right kind of education can make a girl self-reliant economically, socially and emotionally.
In this connection, the Prime Minister said that it is the education that gives girls strength to stand against any wrongdoing and discrimination.
She mentioned that in line with GEFI’s third pillar, one of the main objectives of her government’s education planning is to “groom the children into becoming truly global citizens, standing tall with their Bangalee identity.”
The government wants the boys and girls to be nurtured in the light of their own culture and tradition, she said, hoping that the children would forge ahead on their own merits competing with their peers from all over the world.
Hasina said that in 1996, her government gave highest priority to education, both in terms of policy and funding as well as introduced non-formal education in every district and spearheaded a ‘Total Literacy Movement’.
She said the government was able to increase the literacy rate in only five years to 65 percent. “But the successive government under the leadership of BNP failed to sustain the achievements bringing the literacy rate down to 44 percent.”
On assuming office again in 2009, the Prime Minister said that her government revitalized the entire education sector and formulated a progressive, forward-looking and effective modern National Education Policy in 2010 with far-reaching objectives.
Besides, she added, a National Plan of Action has been developed to ensure Education for All side by side taking initiatives to formulate an Education Act.
As a result, the government has been able to ensure 100 percent enrolment of children in the schools in Bangladesh, Hasina said, adding that Bangladesh got the UNESCO Literacy Award in 2012 for its success in women education.
Citing various steps to support children’s’ education, she said that the government has been distributing free textbooks to students up to secondary level, and providing stipends to the poor and meritorious students.
With a view to promoting ICT based education at the secondary level, the Prime Minister said, multimedia classrooms have been introduced in many schools while creative question system introduced from Primary School Certificate Examination up to Secondary School Certificate Examinations.
In addition, the government has nationalized 26,193 non-government primary schools and services of 104,000 teachers, she added.
Hasina also highlighted her government’s efforts in developing the education sector further by taking various initiatives like setting up of many new universities as well as putting due importance on vocational, technical and Madrasah education aiming to build a knowledge-based society.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, UNESCO director general Irina Bokova, Charge d’Affaires of China to Bangladesh QU Gungzhou and Korean Ambassador to Bangladesh Lee Yun-young also spoke at the function. Primary and Mass Education Minister Mustafizur Rahman delivered the welcome address.