Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday called upon all concerned, including public representatives, teachers, students, student organisations, other organisation, public and private officials, to take initiatives so that Bangladesh could be declared an illiteracy-free country soon.”It’s my fervent call to you all …if every one of you take a united initiative that no one will remain illiterate in your respective areas and make them literate, then we’ll be able to declare Bangladesh an illiteracy-free country,” she said.The Prime Minister was addressing the opening ceremony of a function at Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the city, marking the International Literacy Day 2016 with Primary and Mass Education Minister Mostafizur Rahman Fizar in the chair.
A message of Unesco Director General Irina Bokova was read out at the programme.This year, the global theme of the day is ‘Education for the 21st Century’. Apart from the global theme, the day in Bangladesh is being celebrated with its own theme: ‘Reading the Past, Writing the Future’.Reminding the students that the country has gained its hard-earned independence through the Liberation War, Sheikh Hasina said the students will have to learn the real history of the great war and the huge sacrifices made by millions of martyrs.She advised them to take their lessons with due attention. “Books are not only meant for showcasing…those will have to be gone through with a deep attention so that all students could lead a better life in the future and take the country ahead.”Hasina said today’s children will have to have their places in various high positions of the state as they could become the Prime Minister, ministers, big job providers, artists and litterateurs completing their academic activities properly.Terming teachers the makers of ‘Sonar Manush’ (golden human being)’, the Prime Minister urged them to build each and every child as an ideal citizen of the country through instilling ethics and values into their minds and hearts.”It’s your (teachers) duty to impart the knowledge of good and bad, justice and injustice, and brotherhood among students and thus build such a generation which would be fit for leading the country towards greater prosperity,” she added.Sheikh Hasina said her government has declared education as a right and now the nation is on its way towards the light from the darkness of illiteracy.Hasina said her government in 2013 had nationalised some 26,193 private primary schools alongside the jobs of some 1,08,200 teachers.The Prime Minister said the country has now achieved around 71 percent literacy rate and her government has been implementing various programmes to raise this rate further.She blasted the BNP-Jamaat government as the literacy rate came down to 44 percent from 65 percent during their misrule in 2001-2006.The Prime Minister said the enrollment rate at the primary level in December 2015 was 97.94 percent while that of dropout now stands at 20.04 percent. “A target is there to further reduce this dropout rate.”Listing various steps of her government for flourishing education, Hasina said some 193 crore of textbooks were distributed free among students up to secondary level over the last seven years while students are also receiving stipends easing the burden on their guardians.Hasina renewed her call for the people of all classes, including the well-off section, to arrange midday meals in those schools which remained out of the midday meal initiatives to check the dropout rates.She reiterated that residential schools will be built in the hilly and haor areas to facilitate the academic activities of the students of those areas.Acting Secretary of the Ministry Md Asif-uz-Zaman delivered the address of welcome while Director General of the Bureau of Non Formal Education Dr Md Ruhul Amin Sarker the vote of thanks at the function, jointly organised by the Primary and Mass Education Ministry and the Bureau of Non-Formal Education.