Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday urged all, including the public representatives, school committees, guardians, teachers and financially solvent people, to extend their support in implementing ‘midday meal' program in schools in their respective areas aiming to check the school dropout rate.
"If you all come forward, it won’t be a problem for us to introduce ‘midday meal’ in all schools across the country," she said.
The Prime Minister said this while inaugurating the ‘National Primary Education Week-2015’ organized by Primary and Mass Education Ministry at Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the city in the morning.
Hasina said primary education is the main ladder of education and her government is implementing various pragmatic programs to this end.
She mentioned that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman soon after the country’s independence nationalized the primary education to create worthy citizens for building a modern and desired future of an independent nation.
“Bangabandhu took the country towards the first step of advancement in education sector through nationalizing 36, 165 primary schools and services of 157, 724 teachers,” she told the function.
Following Bangabandhu’s footprint, she said, her government formulated a production-oriented, science-based and time-befitting education policy and nationalized over 26,193 primary schools, including the services of about 1.4 lakh teachers during its immediate past term, said Hasina.
Religious education has been made compulsory in the new education policy and the government would make education mandatory up to primary schools in phases, she added.
Referring to the distribution of new textbooks on the first day of the year and turning all the textbooks into e-books, the Prime Minister expressed hope that the students would no longer need to carry books to schools as they would only carry e-book readers.
“New schools are being set up where there is no school, the government increased the number of classrooms and stipends, constructed infrastructures, including setting up of new Primary Teachers’ Training Institutes,” she mentioned.
To improve the standard of education, she said, Primary School Certificate and Junior School Certificate Terminal examinations are being held with common question papers across the country. “As a result, all students are getting extra care and encouragement for pursuing their education and building up their mentality of competition in the tender age,” she said.
She said apart from supplying free 32.6 crore textbooks, stipends are being provided to 1.20 crore students of primary to degree levels.
Prime Minister’s Education Assistance Trust Fund has been constituted with a Tk 1,000 crore seed money to help poor and meritorious students to continue their higher studies, she added.
She also said Bangabandhu Gold Cup and Bangamata Fazilatunnesa Mujib Gold Cup Primary School Football Tournaments are being arranged every year for the students’ physical and mental development as well as to create unity and competitive atmosphere.
Inter-primary sports and cultural competitions are also being arranged from 2011 regularly and initiatives were taken from 2010 to establish student council in every school for flourishing the leadership of children.
Later, the Prime Minister distributed medals among the students for their performance in extracurricular activities and institutions, local government representatives, government officials, teachers and employees for their contribution towards flourishing primary education.
She also witnessed a colorful cultural function performed by the primary students.
Chaired by Minister for Primary and Mass Education Mostafizur Rahman, the function was addressed, among others, by Secretary of the Ministry Kazi Akhter and Director General of the Directorate of Primary Education Md Alamgir.