Quader made the statement while calling for an end to militancy and communalism at the Shornokishoree national convention.
He said: “Drugs, terrorism, communalism and corruption are the main challenges in Bangladesh. Students need to reject each of these.”
The convention was held at Dhanmondi women complex on Saturday morning.
At the programme, Quader, also the road and bridges minister, further stressed that these challenges need to be tackled holistically, with participation from everyone in the community.
“The government is working to bring changes in the education with that aim,” the minister added.
Addressing the students in attendance, he said: “You have to build your life for the sake of life, not for livelihood. You are not examinees, you are learners. If you can do that, quality education is only possible then.
“life is synonymous to challenge, so we have to take the challenge of building a country free of extremism and communalism.”
Quader added that if meritorious people don’t come in to politics, the politics of the country will turn devoid of merit.
The Shornokishoree foundation is working to raise awareness of gender discrimination and ensure the rights of girls. It has members in over 600 schools around the country.
The programme was also addressed by Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, who said the new generation has to be raised with moral teaching.
Nahid said: “Our girls are not lagging behind. They are leaving the mark of their successes and merit in different sectors.”
Citing the talent hunt programme of the education ministry, Nahid said that girls comprise more members in the list of 12 every year, clearly demonstrating that girls perform no worse than boys in all kinds of challenges.
He assured that cooperation will continue to be provided for the development of girls as skilled and qualified citizens.
The education minister added that 51% of the students at primary level, 53% at secondary level, and 45% in higher education are girls.
Nahid also announced at the programme that the government will distribute around 362m books among the students in the first day of the next year. Girls from 491 upazilas participated at the convention.