Addressing the deep moral schisms that the pandemic has exposed in Bangladeshi society, speakers on Thursday said educating the younger generation on morality and ethics should be prioritised in textbooks.
They expressed their views at an online seminar titled “Education and COVID-19: The role of ethics education” arranged by the Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ) of Brac University.
Academicians drew on their rich experiences as key actors in the sphere of education to reflect on the divisive social impact of the pandemic.
National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) Chief Editor Prof Santosh Kumar Dhali underscored the importance of adopting targeted policy goals of pluralism and equality.
“Ethics education should be a priority in the textbooks and schooling systems of Bangladesh,” he said earlier.
Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) Deputy Director KM Enamul Hoque called for a more inclusive crisis response in tackling the pandemic’s adverse impacts on education.
He also highlighted the need for a holistic institutional approach to prioritise ethics education in this pandemic.
Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council Presidium Member Kajal Debnath said there is a need for common ethics education for all students from across diverse social groups.
Jamia Iqra Bangladesh Head of Education Mawlana Arif Uddin Maruf drew attention to the varied nature of the pandemic’s social impact and emphasised the importance of religion as a valuable source of moral teachings for the pandemic-induced social crisis.
Brac University School of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Prof Philippe Forêt and CPJ Research Fellow Dr Samia Huq also attended the seminar alongside the students and faculties of various departments of Brac University.
The authorities of Dhaka University (DU) on Thursday approved a Tk 869.56-crore budget for the fiscal year 2020-21.
The approved budget has a 1.09 percent allocation for researches.
DU Pro Vice-Chancellor (administration) Prof Dr Muhammad Samad placed the new budget as the treasurer post is currently vacant.
The budget was presented in the annual session chaired by Vice-chancellor Prof Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman at the Sir Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban in the afternoon.
Like the previous years, a big chunk of the budget will be spent for salary and allowances.
Of the amount, 30.71 percent has been allocated for salary, 24.81 percent for allowance, 22.77 percent for supply and service expense, 14.38 percent for pension and retirement benefits, 3.52 percent for capital grant, and 2.72 percent for other grants.
Altogether, 86.03 percent of the budget, about Tk 748.56 crore, is being sanctioned by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and 8.17 percent, or Tk 71.38 crore, will be collected from the university's internal income sources while the rest Tk 50 crore or 5.81 percent is deficit.
In FY 2019-20, 2018-19, 2017-18 and 2016-17 the proposed budgets were Tk 810.42 cr, Tk 741.13 cr, Tk 664.37cr and Tk 664.11 cr respectively.
Following a rumour over reopening of educational institutions after Eid-ul-Azha, the Ministry of Education clarified that the government is yet to take any decision in this regard.
The Ministry of Education cleared the stance through a press release and urged people not to get confused by baseless rumors.
“Whenever the Ministry takes a decision in this regard, the students will be informed through the media,” it added.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni said on Wednesday that the number of educated unemployed graduates are increasing for the lack of technical and vocational education.
The education minister made the remarks while speaking as the chief guest at an online discussion meeting on the occasion of World Youth Skills Day 2020, organised by the National Skills Development Authority at the Prime Minister's Office in the morning.
“A large number of students are achieving Honours and Masters degree from our education system, but is there demand of such numbers in job market? Now we need to consider it,” said the minister.
The government no longer wants to create such educated unemployed workforce. Considering the issue, the government has given top priority to technical and vocational education and has streamlined the overall education system, said Dipu Moni.
The online discussion meeting was chaired by the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr Ahmed Kaikaus and was attended by representatives of various government agencies, development partners and civil society representatives.
The theme for World Youth Skills Day 2020 is "skills for resilient youth".
"We are now in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We could not take advantage of the previous three industrial revolutions. We want to take maximum advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution," said the minister.
She said that no resource is greater than skilled human resources.
“As a result of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the national and international labour market is changing rapidly. To cope with this, we have to transform our huge population into human resources by combining technology and skills as per the demand. The government is working towards this goal,” she added.
The government on Wednesday announced the reopening of hafizia madrasas across the country from July 12, maintaining recommended health guidelines.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs announced the decision in a statement, saying that it was taken responding to an application of Islamic scholars.
"The madrasas must follow the health guidelines issued by the Directorate General of Health Services," said the ministry.
At the very beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in the country in early March, the government declared general holidays and shut all educational institutions in addition to other offices to curb the spread of the virus.
In June, the authorities restored regular activities on a limited scale but kept the educational institutions shut.
However, the decision to reopen hafizia madrasas came just a few days ahead of Eid-ul-Azha.