Statement By Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina Prime Minister Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh at the Panel 1 Discussion of High-level Event on the UN Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI)on 3:00 pm, 24 September 2014.
Trusteeship Council, UN Headquarters
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The MDGs helped us champion education for all, and gender parity. In the post-2015 era, our priority must be ‘quality education’. Bangladesh will have more than 120 million young and active workforce till 2031. My government is determined to unlock their talents and transform them into skilled human capital. Bangladesh’s National Education Policy 2010 laid foundations towards that end. Let me share a few thoughts from our experience.
First, quality education needs quality teachers. My government has trained nearly a million secondary teachers in quality teaching and evaluation methods. Teachers’ evaluation is now performance-based. We have reserved 60% teaching positions in primary schools for women.
For a low-income-country, quality education must ensure access to free textbooks and contemporary curricula. Only in 2014, we distributed 318 million free textbooks to school students. A new national curriculum and a creative assessment system have been developed. Madrassa education has been reformed with mainstreaming of science and ICT education. As part of quality education drive, we have introduced nationwide Grade-V and Grade-VIII School Certificate exams. This has boosted students’ confidence and completion rates significantly. Our ‘Digital Bangladesh’ vision for a technology-driven society inspired us to make ICT knowledge compulsory for school and college students. A well-nourished early learning is key to quality education. Bangladesh has introduced free pre-primary classes and mid-day meals to primary and secondary students.
For quality education, talented students must continue learning. Just in 2013, we gave stipends to 12.8 million meritorious primary-to-bachelor’s students to ensure continued learning. Girls received 75% of these stipends.
Our aim is also to create skilled youths for job markets at home and abroad. Over the last five years, we have increased number of graduates in Technical and Vocational Education Training by seven folds. Quality education must be inclusive. Bangladesh is developing a law towards a uniform education system for all young learners, from mainstream, madrassas and minorities.
I believe, girls and women’s education must remain a pillar of quality education. We need resources for quality education. This fiscal, my government allocated the highest budget for education. We, at the GEFI, must build global partnerships and consensus for resources. We must divert billions we spend for creating war machines and violence to educating our progeny for the ‘world we want’. Let us all invest in quality education for a ‘Culture of Peace and Non-Violence’.