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Speakers at a seminar yesterday urged the government to take measure so that the indigenous children can pursue their education through mother tongue.
The seminar titled 'Education: Opportunity or Right? Reality for Indigenous Children' was jointly organised by Other Vision Communication and Bangladesh Adibashi Odhikar Andolon at the National Press Club in the city.
Speaking as chief guest Prof Hasan Azizul Huq said in modern states education through mother tongue is the right of every child.
No research is necessary to unveil the truth, he added.
Prof Hasan said children of indigenous community are lagging behind due to government's failure to take proper steps in this regard.
“Ensuring indigenous people's education is the responsibility of the government, it is not the responsibility of some non-governmental organisations,” he said, alleging that, “Due to initiatives by some non-governmental organisations, the government is sitting idle.”
Prof Hasan laid emphasis on imparting education to indigenous community through their mother tongue and advocated for special measures so that they have expertise over Bangla and English languages too.
Pointing to the problems related to written form of some indigenous languages, he said, “Academics have varied opinions regarding the alphabets of their languages. Specific plan is needed in this regard."
The director of Campaign for Popular Education (Campe) said traditional schooling system could not contribute much to educating the indigenous children as well as children with disability.
She emphasised that the teachers of indigenous schools should come from indigenous community.
Former director general of the Directorate of Primary Education Prof Saleh Matin said the government's initiative to promote education through indigenous language is inadequate.
He lamented that although some non-governmental organisations are working for indigenous people in the hilly areas, indigenous community living in the plane still remains out of the focus.
Former lawmaker Nurul Islam Nahid admitted that previous governments could not play effective role in promoting education among the indigenous community.
Prof Manzur Ahmed of Brac University chaired the seminar which was also addressed by Executive Director of Other Vision Communcations Tarek Ahmed, General Secretary of Bangladesh Adibashi Forum Sanjib Drong and President of Jatiya Adibashi Parishad Anil Marandi.