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Govt taking preparation to bring children back to schools: PM Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said the government is taking preparations so that children can return to their educational institutions and resume their academic activities normally.

“We hope that good day will come in the future [when] our children will be able to go [back] to their schools [and] carry on their studies normally. We’re preparing to that end,” she said.

The Prime Minister said this while speaking virtually at the Graduation Ceremony of National Defence Course-2020 and Armed Forces War Course-2020 at National Defence College at Sheikh Hasina Complex DSCSC in Mirpur Cantonment from her official residence Ganobhaban.

She said that the government cannot reopen schools because of the existing COVID-19 situation and noted that classes have been continuing through online and television.

In March, shortly after the country reported its first COVID-19 cases, the government shut down educational institutions to protect the students and prevent transmission of the virus.

The closure was extended several times till Dec 19.

“It creates psychological pressure on the children if they cannot go to their schools,” Sheikh Hasina said, noting that the second wave of COVID-19 hit when the government was preparing to reopen educational institutions.

There has been no word on whether the government will reopen educational institutions this year or extend their closure.

Prime Minister Hasina has been warning of a second COVID-19 wave and urging people to properly follow health guidelines to avoid getting infected. The government is running awareness campaigns and strictly implementing ‘no mask, no service’ policy.

National Defence College commandant Lt Gen Ataul Hakim Sarwar Hasan also spoke at the programme.

‘Be ready to defend sovereignty’

The Prime Minister reiterated her firm stance to remain on the side of peace, saying that Bangladesh believes in peace and wants peace. She also put emphasis on being prepared all the time to hit back if the country’s sovereignty is threatened.

“We don’t want war, we want peace [but] if anyone comes to hit on our sovereignty, we must need to attain the capability to hit back. We need to undergo training and take preparations for that. All members of our Armed Forces need to remember this all the time,” she said.

In this connection, she said that more than 1 million Myanmar citizens took shelter in Bangladesh and Bangladesh never went for confrontation with them.

“We’re in discussions to resolve the matter,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina also said that in the world arena Bangladesh urged everyone to solve the crisis quickly as these Myanmar citizens are a huge burden on the country.

She also said that the Armed Forces will always remain ready to ensure the security of the country and the region and establish security in the world arena.

“And we’re working to that end,” she said.

The Prime Minister urged all members of the armed forces to build up themselves imbued with patriotism as the county’s Armed Forces was born through the great Liberation War.

She asked the Armed Forces members to work for the people of the country remaining beside them.

She highly appreciated the Armed Forces for their works in all crisis of the country including the COVID-19 pandemic for the betterment of the mass people.

Sheikh Hasina said that the country got its Independence with the supreme sacrifice of millions.

“This sacrifice must not go in vein, this Independence will take our county to the highest peak of success so that we could roam in the world arena holding our heads high,” she said.

The Prime Minister briefly described various development programmes of the country including Vision-2021, Vision 2041 and Delta Plan-2100.

She also said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country could not advance to its desired level, but still is termed as the role model of development in the world arena.

Earlier, the Prime Minister distributed the certificates to the graduated persons virtually.