4.3m children still out of school in Bangladesh: UNICEF

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:03, Nov 24,2019 | Updated: 13:19, Nov 24,2019


Deputy speaker Fazle Rabbi Miah addresses a conference marking the 30th anniversary of the UN convention on the rights of the children at a city hotel on Saturday. — New Age photo

At present 4.3 million children aged between six and 15 years are still out of schools in Bangladesh, said UNICEF’s representative in Dhaka Tomoo Hozumi celebrating 30 years of UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on Saturday.

In a dialogue organised by the UN body between children and policymakers, Hozumi said net primary school attendance in 2019 stood at 86 per cent when it was 65 per cent in 1990.

Annual Primary School Census 2018 published by the Directorate of Primary Education, however, claimed the net enrolment rate in the country was 97.85 per cent.

Hozumi said over 4.4 million children under five years of age suffer from stunting when the birth of 44 per cent of the children under five years of age is reported not to be registered with a civil authority.

Nine out of every 10 children in Bangladesh experience physical punishment or psychological aggression by the caregivers, he said.

Over half of all the marriages take place too early before 18 years of age, he said.

The lives of over 19 million children are threatened by climate change, he said.

‘The records of Bangladesh in the last three decades amply demonstrate that these remaining and emerging challenges can also be successfully addressed as far as there continues to be political will and determination to do so in the country,’  Hozumi said.

He also said Bangladesh made great strides in promoting child rights which included reduction in under-five mortality rate from 151 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 40 per 2019 and reduction of stunting in stunting among children under five years of age to 28 per cent in 2019 from 72 per cent in 1993.

The percentage of fully vaccinated children was 52 per cent in 1991 when it stood at 82 per cent in 2016, he said.

Hozumi gave the data from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, UNICEF officials said.

Children from different walks of life placed their demands at the dialogue with policymakers.

They demanded a sea change in the country’s education system which was forcing them to memorise textbooks for obtaining good results in the public examinations sacrificing their rights to play or perform other activities required for their sound growth.

They also demanded introduction of the job-oriented education system, equal rights for the disabled and oppressed children in every sectors including education.

They also demanded their rights of expressing their own views in the family and in the society in case of making their own choices.

Jatiya Sangsad deputy speaker Fazle Rabbi Miah, Parliamentary Caucus on Child Rights president Shamsul Haque Tuku, parliamentary standing committee on the ministry of women and children affairs chairperson Meher Afroz Chumki and former adviser to a caretaker government Hossain Zillur Rahman said they found logic in the demands of the children.

They said they would pursue those demands to the highest authorities of the government for their inclusion in the upcoming eighth five-year plan.    

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