The government has taken an initiative to build more schools and hostels at Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban for creating opportunities for the ethnic minority groups to have access to schools.
The Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education on February 18 requested separate assessment reports from field-level officials on the number of potential students, existing schools and hostels in the area and communication problems that the students face in the Chittagong Hill Tracts area.
It asked the district administrations of three districts, upazila nirbahi officers of 26 upazials under the districts as well as education officials to immediately send their reports to the directorate so that the government can set priorities for developing schools and hostels.
The move came after education minister Dipu Moni on February 16 in a virtual meeting on the progress of the directorate’s proposed Tk 694.26-crore project submitted to the ministry in 2017 for developing schools and hostels in CHT ordered it to take field officials’ opinion, directorate director general Syed Md Golam Faruk told New Age on Sunday.
‘We prepared the project to develop schools and hostels in the CHT region for creating equal scope for education of the children of ethnic minority groups living in the area following prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s order,’ Faruk said.
As children living in the remote hill areas faced problems while attending schools, the government should develop hostels in the region for both government and non-government schools, Faruk said.
In 2018, Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics was assigned by the education ministry to conduct a study on the proposed project for developing 11 schools and 74 hostels in 11 upazilas which do not have such facilities, Faruk added.
The BANBEIS study included the number and the location of the existing school and hostel facilities in the region, population size, their purchasing capacity, besides recommending the number of schools and hostels required to be developed in CHT.
The report said that the existing 28 government and 104 non-government schools in Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachhori had very limited hostel facilities.
According to the report, 6,80,442 people live in Khagrachhari, 6,60,557 in Rangamati and 4,30,412 in Bandarban and most of them have interest in sending children to schools but face difficulties for poor communication.
It recommended developing at least 27 hostels for boys and 30 for girls to accommodate an estimated 5,700 primary and secondary schoolchildren of both government and non-government schools.
Educationist and local community leaders welcomed the government move but at the same time demanded participation of local community representatives for setting priorities of the school facilities in the CHT region.
‘It is a good move but the government must involve the Zila Parishad representatives with its planning and execution as the Zila Parishads are responsible for operating education following the CHT accord,’ said Gautam Dewan, the president of CHT citizen’s committee.
Dhaka University’s history department Professor Mesbah Kamal said that the government should develop more quality primary and secondary schools with facilities of multilingual teaching by involving the local communities as teachers.
Former BANBEIS director general Md Fashiullah claimed that they developed the study after a survey of opinion of local community representatives.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Country