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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Make child rights a living reality

Update : 23 Nov 2014, 07:43 PM

On the 25th anniversary of the UN Child Rights Convention, the Child Rights Advocacy Coalition highlighted the fact that Bangladesh has “miles to go,” before the nation can truly say it is upholding children’s rights to education and a good start in life.

Undoubtedly, some progress has been made as laws have been updated and primary school enrollment is much higher than even a decade ago. It is also welcome that government and public awareness have grown and groups like the Jaago Foundation’s Volunteer for Bangladesh initiative are working to providing volunteer education for excluded children.

This has helped encourage innovations such as providing boat based schools to children in remote flood-stricken areas, and has made it easier for children’s advocates to push for positive change.

However, much more still needs to be done. The stark fact is that nearly half the 57 million children in Bangladesh are living below the national poverty line. Typically, they are the group most deprived of access to safe water, proper sanitation, adequate nutrition, shleter, health, and education.

According to Unicef, malnutrition and stunting costs Bangladesh over a billion dollars a year, or around 2-3% of national income, in lost economic productivity. Severe malnutrition currently affects an estimated 600,000 children in Bangladesh.

With poverty and child labour still denying millions of children full access to education, we have to do better. For Bangladesh to take advantage of the demographic dividend, we must do more to ensure all children are enabled to live up to their full potential.

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