RN Desk: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today expressed her firm optimism that the educated new generation would be able to create a safe and secure world for future generations to ensure peace and development instead of war and destruction.
In this regard, she urged the young generation to work closely together as one family and said the day is not too far when they would sweep away all challenges and barriers caused by the climate change and natural disasters.
The Prime Minister was delivering a speech on “Education and Empowerment of the Youth” at the renowned Waseda University here.
She also joined an interaction session with the students there.
Vice president of the university Uchida Katsuichi also spoke
on the occasion.
Putting emphasis on empowerment of the young generation
through education, she said, it is the duty and responsibility of
our generation to ensure empowerment of the young students to
face and overcome those challenges.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has given highest priority
to education as the educated youths are highly empowered to meet
the challenges before them.
In this regard, she said education sector is receiving the
highest allocation in country’s annual budgets covering 2.3
percent of GDP and 14 percent of government expenditure to ensure
“Education for All” and achieve the MDGs.
“Our government is providing free textbooks to the students
up to secondary level and stipends to the poor meritorious
students at all levels, she said.
She mentioned that in January this year, 317 million text
books were distributed free of cost among 37 million students.
“These have also helped in achieving gender parity up to higher
secondary level and it continues until graduation with free
tuition for girls,” she said.
The Prime Minister said such noble initiatives of her
government have made it possible to ensure almost 100 percent
enrollment at primary level of all children.
Mentioning Japan as the trusted and largest development
partner of Bangladesh, she said its economic assistance helped
Bangladesh’s socioeconomic progress, poverty reduction and
achievement of many of the MDGs.
In this context, Sheikh Hasina highlighted some major
achievements during last five years of her government including
self-sufficiency in food, internet facility to 47.5 million
users, introduction of 3G technology and with 4G in the offing,
use of 110 million SIM cards, establishment of 13,500 community
health clinics reaching medical treatment to the poors.
Besides, her government has also been able to increase of
life expectancy to 69 from 65 in 2005, reduce infant mortality
rate to 33 from 65 in 2005 and maternal mortality rate to 182
from 322 in 2001 and ensure social safety nets for low-income and
distressed people, she said.
Citing progress with children challenged by autism and other
developmental disorders, the Prime Minister said Bangladesh is
unique in South and South East Asia in developing systems for
“Bangladesh’s technical and vocational education is also
being developed to suit the needs of the modern sector as well as
that of youths and underprivileged groups,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina mentioned that significant portion of the
country’s young population of 160 million people are students and
a number of them travel abroad every year for advanced education
and research in countries like Japan.
The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction that the students,
on completion of studies, return home and contribute to
Bangladesh’s development in various fields of science,
technology, medicine and ICT.
Praising the role of Japanese Overseas Cooperative
Association for sending young volunteers to Bangladesh over the
last 40 years, she said, they are contributing to the rural
economy, education and infrastructural development of Bangladesh.
Recalling her previous visit to the Waseda University in
1997, Sheikh Hasina said: “On entering this prestigious seat of
learning, the animated faces of the students and the quiet
dignity of the academia, reminded me of my previous visit here in
She mentioned that the esteemed Waseda University conferred
on her on that occasion the Honorary Doctorate of Law and she
cherish the wonderful memories of that special day.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh and Japan today enjoy
excellent relations and it began when the people of Japan
mobilised support and assistance to our Great Liberation War.
At that time, she said, even the schoolchildren of Japan
saved and gave their tiffin money for the distressed humanity.
Our two countries’ recent history of destruction and development
“Just as Japan rose for the devastation of World War II to
where it is today, so did Bangladesh from a similar state,
suffered during our War of Liberation,” she said.