He decided to go on a hunger strike showing his frustration at not getting admission to any schools
Sharif, a visually impaired child from a poor family in Thakurgaon district, is seeking intervention of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni regarding his admission to a secondary school.
A serious illness claimed his sight when he was only three years old. In spite of various limitations, his parents tried to continue the treatment of their son both in Bangladesh and in India. As his parents had financial constraints, they could not continue the advanced treatment.
The government has decided to reopen schools and colleges on September 12, after closure for almost a year and a half due to Covid-19.
For admission in the 6th grade, he contacted the local Government Boys' High School, the Social Service Office, and the deputy commissioner's office several times. Eight months have passed, and everyone who assured him of an admission did not contact him back.
On Sunday, he has decided to go on a hunger strike for a full day, showing his frustration at not getting admission to any schools.
In Sharif's view, visually impaired people are treated as burdens on their families and society. He does not want to be so. He believes living without education is meaningless. Therefore, he sought the attention and cooperation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Minister of Education Dr Dipu Moni regarding his school admission.
Meanwhile, his parents are passing uncertain times about the well-being of their child. Sharif's mother, Shafura Begum, said his son might be helpless after their death unless the well-off section of the society stand by him. Without access to proper education, he will have to rely on begging in the future.
Sharif's father, Ramzan Ali, has alleged that the deputy commissioner had secretly admitted over 50 students to Thakurgaon Government Boys' High School and other government schools in July this year without following the rules and regulations.
The quotas and rules pertaining to admitting visually impaired individuals, however, are not being followed, he added.
Deputy Director of District Social Services Department Md Al Mamun said Sharif is admitted to an integrated visually impaired hostel under the District Social Services Office. As schools and hostels were closed during the pandemic, it created a disruption to education activities. However, efforts are being made for admission of Sharif.
Piyush Kanta Roy, headmaster of Thakurgaon Government Boys' High School, said the school's four other visually impaired students face the same educational barriers. Arrangements will be made after receiving instructions from the Deputy Commissioner and the Department of Education regarding Sharif's admission.
According to government data, there are a total of 1668 visually impaired students in Thakurgaon district. It is difficult for students like them to receive an education due to a lack of qualified teachers, necessary teaching materials, and designated institutions.