#thenewscompany : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today sought the support of the university teachers in the coming election to continue the country’s current pace of development.
“We want your support so that country’s present pace of development continues, as all our works, those we did from 1996 to 2001, were destroyed after the change in government in 2001,” she said.
She was addressing a ‘University Teachers’ Conference’ organized by the Federation of Bangladesh University Teachers Association (FBUTA) at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre here.
The prime minister said, “Bangladesh would go forward, it doesn’t matter whether we are in power or not. We will come to power if we get people’s mandate.”
“And, I would have no regret if we don’t come to power again,” she said adding that “however I expect that you would take care of the pace of development that we have already achieved.”
The prime minister said, “We want to take forward the country” to make it a poverty and hunger free nation as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
“But a nation is unable to get rid of poverty and hunger without education. So we always give importance to education and teachers proactive role in this regard,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has already done everything that it should do for the teachers including their salary hike and service age limit.
“Side by side we give importance to research through which we have made the country self reliant in food, fish, fruits and vegetable production,” she said.
Instead of making the existing universities more crowded, Sheikh Hasina said her government is willing to build more universities in new areas to allow the students to have their higher education from their house.
“It will also help the students to remain under vigilance of their guardians and society during their studies and debar them from being associated with militancy and anti-social activities,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has brought the Madrasa education to the mainstream of the society, creating opportunities for about 15 million children to get the scope of higher studies.
“Bangladesh was born with secular spirit and we want to build the country in that way so that superstation and communalism don’t grasp our children.”
About the demands of the university teachers the prime minister asked them to give their demands in writing saying her government may consider those demands if it comes to power for next tenure.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, University Grants Commission Chairman Prof. Abdul Mannan and Secretary of the Secondary and Higher Education Division Sohrab Hossain attended the function as special guests.
President of FBUTA ASM Maksud Kamal was in the chair while Secretary General Prof. Shibli Rubayet Ul Islam conducted the function.
At the very outset, a documentary on the programms taken by the present government for development of the education sector was screened.
Sheikh Hasina said the financial ability of the people of Bangladesh up to rural level has been increased with the development of almost every sector. “We have to sustain the development,” she said.
“If people think it is important to continue the existing trend of development, I hope they will again elect us by giving their vote,” she said amidst claps of audience.
“However, I have already fulfilled my goal to make the development visible like the Padma Bridge,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has not only taken the country toward economic prosperity but also enhanced country’s image abroad.
The whole world sees Bangladesh differently after her government’s decision on constructing the Padma Bridge with own finance, she said.
Sheikh Hasina lamented that Novel laureate Dr Mohammad Yunus and the editor of an English daily pursued the then US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to ask the World Bank to suspend its credit programme for Padma Bridge on a false allegation of corruption.
“They had launched an orchestrated campaign against us to brand me, my sister and children as corrupt. But their allegations finally proved false.”
“We had to suffer torment and faced intimidation, but never bowed to any pressure,” she said adding that Bangladesh was liberated through a war and the liberation was achieved without support of the USA.
“So, why wouldn’t we be able to build a bridge without their support?” she asked saying that “we have to learn how to live keeping our head high and to build our country on our own.”
Quoting Bangabandhu the prime minister said Bangabandhu has taught us that allocation of money for education is the best investment. So, he gave utmost importance to the education sector side by side with rebuilding the war-ravaged country after independence, she added.
Sheikh Hasina said her government also underlined the importance on eradication of illiteracy, modernization of education particularly vocational education, creation of enthusiasm among people for education and boosting educational scopes for females.
The prime minister lamented that country’s literacy rate fell down during the BNP regime as it showed failures in electricity production, food production, primary health services and other sectors.
“Now, you see a different picture of Bangladesh in all sectors of socioeconomic development as the country has attained success in every area,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has taken steps so that children can avail the opportunities of vocational education, science studies and higher education.
Twelve science and technology universities were established and specialized institutions are being set up to provide education in multiple disciplines, she said.
The prime minister said her government has been making strides aimed at making Bangladesh a middle income country by 2021 and Bangladesh would achieve full status of a ‘developing country’ by 2024 as the country has already fulfilled all three criterions.
By 2041, Bangladesh would emerge as a developed country in South Asia, she hoped saying her government has prepared the Delta Plan 2100 to make sure sustainable development of the country overcoming the challenges of climate change and natural disasters.
“It does not matter whether we’re in power or not. Bangladesh will go ahead and none would be able to suppress indomitable Bangladesh,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina praised the role and sacrifice of university students and teachers in the War of Liberation and all democratic movements saying they have a very crucial role in all national achievements.