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Dhaka Tribune

Over 1,000 Barisal govt primary schools do not have Shaheed Minars

  • Educators, parents raise concerns
  • In Mehendiganj upazila, none of 208 primary schools have Shaheed Minars
Update : 20 Feb 2024, 11:00 AM

As the nation gears up to commemorate Language Martyrs Day and International Mother Language Day on February 21, preparations are in full swing across educational institutions throughout the country.

In anticipation of the solemn occasion, plans are being made to adorn Shaheed Minar altars with vibrant floral displays at dawn on February 21. School students are set to actively participate in the morning ceremonies, paying homage to the language martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the recognition of Bangla as the state language.

However, a significant challenge looms over several primary schools in Barisal district. A considerable number of these schools lack a Shaheed Minar, hindering students' ability to honour the martyrs adequately.

Concerns over this inadequacy have been raised by both educators and parents, urging authorities to address the issue by facilitating the construction of Shaheed Minars within primary school premises.

An investigation into the matter reveals stark statistics. A mere 10% of government primary schools in Barisal district boast a Shaheed Minar. Of the 1592 government primary schools in the district, a mere 153 have this essential monument.

Notably, the situation is particularly dire in Mehendiganj upazila, where none of the 208 primary schools have a Shaheed Minar.

In other parts of the district, the presence of Shaheed Minars remains scarce. For instance, Agailjhara upazila has only 2 out of 97 primary schools equipped with this monument, while Wazirpur upazila counts 30 out of 181 schools. Similarly, other upazilas such as Gournadi, Sadar, Bakerganj, Banaripara, Babuganj, and Muladi also report low percentages of primary schools with Shaheed Minars.

The plight of Nagerkathi Government Primary School in Bakerganj Upazila epitomizes the issue at hand. Established in 1970 in Rangashree Union, the school's 140 students are unable to pay their respects to the martyrs due to the absence of a Shaheed Minar.

Newaz Mallik, the headmaster of Nagerkathi Government Primary School, lamented the situation, emphasizing the urgent need for a Shaheed Minar. Despite repeated appeals to the authorities, a Shaheed Minar is yet to be constructed.

Echoing Mallik's sentiments, fifth-grade student Sarah voiced her disappointment, highlighting how the absence of a Shaheed Minar deprives them of the opportunity to honour the martyrs.

Barisal District Primary Education Officer SM Aktaruzzaman held out the assurance that efforts would be made to address the issue. However, he stressed the importance of budget allocation at the governmental level for such endeavours.

Renowned educationist Dasgupta Ashish Kumar underscored the significance of Shaheed Minars in educating the younger generation about the sacrifices made in 1952 for the recognition of the Bengali language as the language of the state in erstwhile Pakistan.

Sohail Maruf, additional deputy commissioner (education and ICT) of Barisal, emphasized the need for every school to have a Shaheed Minar, pledging the district administration's full cooperation in overcoming any obstacles hindering its construction.

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