Dhaka, June 12 (UNB) - Comprehensive sexuality education is an essential part of a good quality education that improves reproductive health and contributes to gender equality, argues Facing the Facts.
"Facing the Facts" is a new policy paper by the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report at Unesco that seeks to dispel social and political resistance to sexuality education in many countries.
Globally, each year, 15 million girls marry before the age of 18, some 16 million 15-19 year olds and one million girls under 15 give birth, according to a media release received here from Paris on Wednesday.
Young people moreover account for a third of new HIV infections among adults and across 37 low and middle-income countries, yet only approximately one-thirds of people aged 15-24 years have comprehensive knowledge of HIV prevention and transmission.
“It’s time to face the facts,” argues Director of the GEM Report, Manos Antoninis. “More than one in ten births are among girls between 15 and 19 years old. This not only spells the end of their education, but is often fatal, with pregnancy and childbirth the leading cause of death among this age group.”
The new policy paper presents the evidence of the benefits of age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education.
Even children at the age of five need to understand basic facts about their body, think about family and social relationships and recognise inappropriate behaviour and identify abuse.
Otherwise, many will grow up with inaccurate beliefs, like roughly half the girls in the Islamic Republic of Iran, who believe menstruation to be a disease and 82 percent of girls in Malawi, who know nothing about menstruation before experiencing it themselves.
Children and young people should receive comprehensive sexuality education before they become sexually active.
This helps them protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and promotes values of tolerance, mutual respect and non-violence in relationships.
Nevertheless, vocal resistance to comprehensive sexuality education by some groups in a number of countries has been rising.
In Uganda, a public backlash led the Ministry of Education to withdraw the national sexuality education curriculum, which was subsequently revised.
Antoninis continued: “Comprehensive sexuality education is part and parcel of a good quality education, the achievement of good health outcomes and progress towards gender equality. Yet in many parts of the world, opposition to comprehensive sexuality education has not only halted progress in sexual and reproductive health and rights, but reversed it.”
Introducing comprehensive sexuality education in the curriculum is insufficient without adequate teacher training to bolster instructors’ motivation and confidence in addressing the full range of topics concerned.
Namibia has tackled this by creating scripted lesson plans for teachers, while Tanzania has created online resources that teachers can turn to when in doubt.
The paper has six key recommendations for countries - investing in teacher education and supporting, making curricula relevant and evidence-based, developing monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and ensuring implementation, working with other sectors to bring about real change, notably with the health sector to link schools with health services and leverage funds, engaging with community and parent organisations to overcome resistance that is not based on facts.
Dhaka, June 12 (UNB) – Bangladesh is set to enter a new era as the new finance minister of the Awami League government, which is in its 3rd term in a row, will place the national budget in Parliament on Thursday after a span of 10 years.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal is going to unveil the financial outplay in the House from 3pm.
After the 2008 national election, then Finance Minister AMA Muhith unveiled the budget for the 10 years in a row from 2009-10 fiscal year to 2018-19.
Kamal, who took over the charge of the Finance Ministry in January last, will place the Tk 523,190 crore budget, country’s overall 48th and Awami League government’s 20th, after the special cabinet meeting, which will be held in the cabinet room of the Sangsad Bhaban at 12:30pm and authentication of the President.
As the Finance Minister said it earlier, the new budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year will propose some changes in the financial measures, including implementation of the restructured VAT law to attain an 8.20 percent GDP growth maintaining a 5.5 percent inflation rate.
According to sources at the Finance Ministry and the National Board of Revenue (NBR), the new budget will implement a good number of welfare-oriented initiatives as well as bring some reform initiatives in the banking sector, capital market, savings certificates and the social safety net programmes.
For the next fiscal year, the revenue target has been set at Tk 377,810 crore, which is 17.92 percent more than that in the outgoing fiscal year.
It will also give some positive indications for the much-talked-about Monthly Payment Order (MPO) system for enlisting educational institutions as the government has decided to allocate Tk 1,150 crore to bring around 3,000 more institutions under the system, which remained suspended for several years.
There will be an introduction of the ‘Start-up Fund’ from where youths will be able to take soft-term loans to run their ventures.
The longstanding crop insurance might be introduced on pilot basis aiming to expand it across the country in phases while expatriate Bangladeshis will be under the insurance facilities to minimise their various uncertainties.
According to the NBR sources, the new VAT law, which will come into effect in July, will not increase the VAT on any item and it will be applicable for the tax rate, too.
The new budget will put emphasis on expanding the tax and VAT net through various types of surveys across the country. The NBR will appoint some 10,000 fresh university graduates through outsourcing to identify new taxpayers through door-to-door survey to bring around 1 crore new taxpayers under its tax net.
According to the sources, incentives will be given to remitters to send money from abroad through official channels.
The government also plans to bring an additional 14 lakh people under the social safety net programmes allocating Tk 5,321 crore to raise the overall number of such beneficiaries to 89 lakh.
The highest expenditure of Tk 69,260 crore will go for the salary and allowances of government employees.
The development budget will be Tk 202,721 crore which is 21.38 percent higher than the outgoing fiscal year.
The overall revenue collection target in the next budget is likely to be Tk 377,810 crore where the NBR is likely to be tasked to realise a revenue collection of Tk 325,600 crore, the Non-NBR revenue collection target is likely to be set at Tk 14,500 crore while the Non-tax revenue collection target is likely to be Tk 37,710 crore. Besides, Tk 4,168 crore is likely to come as foreign grants.
To meet the 5 percent budget deficit which will be Tk 1,41,212 crore, the government is likely to borrow Tk 63,848 crore from foreign sources while the remaining Tk 77,363 crore from local sources.
Dhaka, Jun 12 (UNB) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said the public perception that many Anti-Corruption Commission staff are involved in corruption is not fully false.
“All (ACC staff) are not innocent. No one can guarantee that all are 100 percent honest,” the Prime Minister told parliament in reply to a supplementary question of ruling Awami League MP Maj (retd) Rafiqul Islam (Chandpur-5).
“The ACC will have to be careful from now on about those (ACC staff) who will work [investigate] so that they can’t get involved in such activities that create such public perception,” Sheikh Hasina said.
In his question, Rafiqul Islam demanded Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury expunge the words—many staff of ACC are involved in corruption—from the question of Jatiya Party MP Rowshan Ara Mannan (Reserved Seat-47) that was raised before the Prime Minister.
However, the Prime Minister opposed his demand saying there is nothing wrong with Rowshan Ara Mannan’s question.
Hasina said, “The MP (Rowshan Ara Mannan in her question) mentioned there’s a public perception, but didn’t say they’re certainly involved in corruption. So, there’s no need to expunge those words because it is not totally false.”
In reply to Rowshan Ara’s question, the PM said her government has a special plan to gradually reduce corruption to a zero level through strengthening the ACC, raising public awareness and using modern information technology.
“The government is determined to uplift socio-economic condition and establish a good governance-based administrative structure for building a welfare country,” she added.
Hasina said there is no need to form a separate agency comprising of manpower from different elite force as the ACC now gets cooperation from any government agency whenever the anti-graft body seeks.
Mentioning that the ACC is an independent and autonomous body, she said the commission explores and investigates any corruption allegation neutrally.
Therefore, the trend of corruption among staff and officials of different ministries and departments is decreasing gradually, said the Prime Minister.
Responding to a supplementary question from Rowshan Ara, Sheikh Hasina said it is essential to socially resist the culprits involved in sexual harassment against girls in educational institutions as it is not possible to deal with it only with the law.
She urged the public representatives to form a committee in every locality comprising guardians, teachers, representatives from religious institutions and distinguished personalities of society to prevent sexual harassment.
The committee will not tolerate such offences in society, she said, adding that she even does not spare her party men involved in such activities.
She said all injustice will be eliminated from society if the public representatives work together with all sections of people in their own locality to this end.
In an oblique reference to the transfer order of Monjur Mohammad Shahriar, deputy director (Dhaka division) of the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP), Hasina said it was not acceptable to her that an officer was transferred for conducting a drive against some big business outlets during Ramadan. “I’m also saying today that he (Shahriar) will have to be kept in the same charge.”
Even owners of famed business outlets cannot guarantee that there is nothing bad in their firms, she said.
In reply to a query from Jatiya Party MP Dr Rustum Ali Faraji (Pirojpur-3), the Prime Minister said her government has taken various measures to ensure fair prices of paddy.
She said the government has already increased import duty to discourage rice import and decided to export surplus rice.
Dhaka, Jun 12 (UNB)- President Abdul Hamid will leave Dhaka for Tajikistan on Thursday on a seven-day official visit.
The President will attend the 5th Summit of Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) to be held in the capital of Tajikistan from June 14 and 15.
A VVIP flight ( BG-1516) of Biman Bangladesh Airlines carrying the President will take off from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 4.40 pm.
Alongside joining the summit, President Abdul Hamid is also scheduled to visit Uzbekistan.
He will return home on June 19.
Dhaka, June 12 (UNB) - At least 221 people were killed, 652 injured and 375 others got crippled in 185 road accidents on the country's roads and highways in 12 days between May 30 and June 10 during the recent Eid-ul-Fitr vacation.
Besides, four people were killed in five accidents on river routes, while 22 others lost their lives on rail tracks across the country during the period.
President of Jatree Odhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad (Passenger Rights Protection Council) Brig Gen (retd) GM Quamrul Islam revealed it at a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club in the city on Wednesday.
Accident research and monitoring cell members of the organisation prepared the report compiling published reports of 18 national dailies, six regional dailies and 10 online news portals.
The report also stated that Eid journeys were a little bit comfortable this year compared to the past years due to the government’s initiatives as well as rationing in leave arrangements for Eid journeys.
The number of road accidents, causalities and damages has declined slightly compared to the past years, it said.
President of Freedom Fighters’ Foundation Ismail Gazi Delwar, former General Secretary of the Jatiya Press Club Quamrul Islam, General Secretary of the organisation Shamsuddin Chowdhury, Organising Secretary Abdullah Al-Zubayer, Finance Secretary Sayamun and Nahar Zidani were, among others, present.