Noting that online study will continue until the educational institutions reopen, prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday reiterated her call to countrymen to maintain proper health guidelines to stop COVID-19 spread.
‘The second wave of COVID-19 hit the country when the government started thinking of reopening the educational institutions. If the COVID-19 situation is not improved till January 15, online academic activities will continue,’ she said.
The prime minister said this while inaugurating free textbook distribution activities for pre-primary, primary and ethnic students for 2021 at Bangabandhu International Conference Center, joining virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban.
She urged the parents to give special attention to the children to keep their mental and physical health sound by encouraging them to read other books alongside textbooks and continue playing and physical activities in this coronavirus situation.
Sheikh Hasina said the students can continue their study staying at home as educational institutions are running academic activities using online platforms such as Zoom, Messenger, Facebook, YouTube etc.
Emphasising the evolution of the mental health of the children, the prime minister also called upon the parents to give more time to their kids in this pandemic situation as it is very difficult for the children to confine themselves at home for a long period.
‘Although coronavirus gives us a lot of pain, but you (parents) have got a scope of spending time with your kids alongside daily workloads. So you should utilize this opportunity,’ she said.
The prime minister said that an initiative had been taken to impart training to the educational institution’s head and focal point teacher on how to deal with the mental health problems of secondary level students caused by the longtime closure of schools.
A counseling manual with the help of top psychologists has also been prepared to this end, she added.
Putting emphasis on maintaining the health protocols again, Sheikh Hasina urged all to wear facemask during movement outside. ‘Wearing face mask and washing hands with soap are the main protection from coronavirus,’ she said.
She also highlighted different initiatives taken by the government for students and teachers in this COVID-19 pandemic period.
She said salaries, allowances and retire benefit were provided to 2,055 teachers and employees of 1,646 schools and colleges through MPO enrollment and appointment of 676 trade instructors by introducing stipend courses in 640 educational institutions was made.
Besides, retire benefit of Tk 517.33 crore was given to 5,351 non-government teachers and employees and Tk 218.63 crore to 5,446 teacher and employees by solving application of welfare allowance, she went on saying.
Amid the coronavirus situation, the government is distributing new books to about 4.5 crore students free of cost at the beginning of the new year. A total of 34,36,62,412 textbooks are being distributed in the academic calendar-2021.
On behalf of the prime minister, education minister Dipu Moni and state minister for primary and mass education Md Zakir Hossen handed over the new books to few primary, secondary and technical and madrassah levels students following health protocols.
On January 1, the book distribution will begin at educational institutions across the country. New books will be distributed among sixth to ninth grade students in the next twelve days in phases.
The students are getting free books at the beginning of the year despite the book festival is not being held on January 1 due to the closure of educational institutions amid COVID-19 pandemic. Around 35 crore books are being printed in this regard.
Education minister Dipu Moni and state minister for primary and mass education Md Zakir Hossen spoke on the occasion.
Deputy minister for education Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury and chairmen of the parliamentary standing committees on the ministry of education and ministry of primary and mass educations Afsarul Amin, MP and Mustafizur Rahman, MP respectively were present at BICC.
Principal secretary to the prime minister Ahmad Kaikaus conducted the function.
Cabinet secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam and concerned officials were present at Ganabhaban.
According to primary and mass education ministry, the total number of text book is 10,25,82,555 for next year.
Still images or pictures of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Independence, Liberation War, Language Movement and various development activities of the present government have been added with captions to the new books this time on the occasion of Mujib Barsha.
Of the books, 2, 59,92,671 are for first-second class students while 6,96,,97,374 books for third-fourth and fifth grade students.
Special language books will be distributed to 94,275 tribal students (Chakma, Marma, Tripura, Garo and Sadri) from pre-primary to third grade and the books have been printed in five languages.
This time, Braille books will be distributed to 9,196 visually impaired students.
According to education ministry, in the academic year of 2021, work is underway to print 24 crore 33 lakh 34 thousand copies of books for secondary students.
Awami League government had been holding a ‘book festival’ on January 1 every year in a festive atmosphere since 2010 with the aim of making education standard and preventing dropout rates.
But, currently it is not possible to hold a book festival due to the global coronavirus.
In the last ten years since 2010, about 331.47 crore primary and secondary books have been distributed across the country.
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