The pandemic has caused a number of drawbacks in the education sector, which requires some monetary assistance for recovery
Saying that the education sector needs more importance to compensate for the drawbacks suffered during the pandemic, experts have asked for an allocation of 20% of the total national budget in the sector.
The demand for the increased budget allocation was made to ensure universal stipends for students, school feeding, free internet facilities and uninterrupted electricity.
Additionally, they called for formulating a proper plan for the utilization of the budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.
On Thursday, a virtual dialogue was organized by Mass Literacy Campaign, a government initiative, on the theme, “Education Devastated by Covid-19: What type of budget do we want?”
Planning Minister MA Mannan was the chief guest, while Secretary of the Ministry of Secondary and Higher Education Md Mahbub Hossain was the special guest.
Educationist Kazi Khaliquzzaman, Professor Emeritus of Brac University Manzoor Ahmed and teachers’ community leader Kazi Faruk spoke at the session.
Mass Literacy Campaign Executive Director Rasheda K Chowdhury, who is also the executive director of Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE), moderated the event.
At the event, the speakers stated, around 40 million students of 200,000 educational institutions of the country had been affected by the ongoing pandemic.
One of the speakers pointed out that due to the pandemic the rate of child marriage and unrest among families had increased.
It was also mentioned that though the government had introduced classes through TV, radio and other online sources to compensate for classroom education, many had lagged behind as it had not been possible to reach all levels of society.
Despite government teachers and employees getting regular salaries during the pandemic, teachers and staff of non-MPO educational institutions were living a dehumanized life without salaries and allowances, remarked speakers.
Planning Minister MA Mannan proposed opening all the educational institutions in the country step by step instead of opening them all at once.
Regarding the provision of free internet, he said: "We need to ascertain whether we will use free internet for entertainment or education. We have to make sure where and to whom we give internet services for free. You cannot watch dramas and movies with free internet.”
Education Secretary Md Mahbub Hossain said: "We need to increase the budget for education and use the allocated money properly.”
Prof Manzoor Ahmed said it would be detrimental if the syllabus were reduced in all subjects. Students needed to be given adequate knowledge in basic subjects like Bangla, English and mathematics.