We all are aware that the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic has closed educational institutions in Bangladesh for more than ten months. The country’s schools have been closed for more than 11 months due to the effects of the global Corona pandemic. Given the current state of the pandemic, the government is on the verge of reopening schools, which we also want for a better future for children. This process of reopening schools requires collaborative initiatives, extensive preparation, and awareness. Giving the utmost importance to the issue, 15 national and international development organizations working in Bangladesh have joined hands together under the campaign ‘Safe Back to School (SB2S)’. The purpose of this campaign is to make the reopening of schools by the Government a success; so that the children can safely return to mainstream educational activities. The campaign will focus on the local and national level advocacy as well as raising mass- awareness to ensure children’s safe return to the schools.
In the meantime, The Alliance in the meantime has launched an event of ‘Safe Back to School (SB2S)’ campaign held on 10 February 2021at Level- 1, Ballroom-1,2; Hotel Westin, Gulshan-2; Dhaka. Dr. DipuMoni, MP, Hon’ble Minister, Ministry of Education, People’s Republic of Bangladesh has inaugurate the campaign as the chief guest.The Honorable Director General of Directorate of Higher Secondary Educationand theAdditional Director General of Directorate of Primary Educationwere present in the launching program as special guests.
As part of the campaign, today, February 28, 2021, Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) as an Alliance member, organized a meeting with the stakeholders on a campaign program entitled Consultation Meeting with the Stakeholders; “Safe Back to School” (SB2S) Campaign program”. A total of 25 participants including 10 members of national and international organizations (DAM, FIVDB, SCiB, and Sesame Workshop) and 15 DAM NGO school students, parents and teachers were present in the meeting. Besides, 5 representatives from the 5 Alliance member were also attended the meeting through Zoom platform. The meeting was held from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The learners, guardians Teachers and the Supervisors have participated in the open discussion sessionand expressed their opinions. The following are some of their views:
- Guardian (Khuki Begum) says, “We cannot attend in online class. It is difficult for us to attend the online class for regular basis.
- Guardian (2) says: “We are seeing changes in our children. Their behavior is changing. They cannot pay attention to their education activities. They are lagging behind in education”.
- Guardian (Rina) says: “We want our children to get a good education. My son might go out. He can meet with friends. But the daughter can’t do that. She always has to stay at home. I notice she is slowly getting mentally ill. Apart from that, our daily life and our income have changed. We are in financial trouble”.
- Teachers (Sharmin Akhter) says, “We have taken steps to run the teaching-learning through using of electronics device like cell phone and the social media like Facebook, messenger and imo etc. But the learners were not able to join the class. They were already engaged with different jobs. Their financial position were broken down for COVID 19 pandemic”.
- Teachers (Rabeya Akhter) says, “When I came out of the house, I saw some students sitting in a circle at the corner of the road and using their mobile phones. Either they are watching Facebook or something else on mobile, which is very harmful for their adolescent age.
- Reshma Akhter (Supervisor) says, “Girls are suffering more in this situation.
- Mitu Akhter (Student) says, “We were in more danger when the school was closed. Many of our girlfriends have to work due to financial difficulties. One of my neighbors has been married to a boy, which is detrimental to him.
- Afrin Akhter (Student) says, “One of my classmates named Sumaiya is already married. Due to their financial difficulties the opportunity to continue her study has been closed for ever”.
- Md. Younus (Student) says, “One of my girl Classmates, is already married. Some of my friends have already stopped study. They have joined the work to meet the needs of their families.
During the discussion, some slogans/messages were raised for the suggestions of all participantsattended in the meeting particularly the different stakes. They have given their suggestions.