The recent acts of lining students up along roads to welcome the land minister and a lawmaker of the ruling Awami League have irked government and the party high-ups.
On Tuesday, hundreds of students of 140 educational institutions in Ishwardi in Pabna were made to stand by the roads to welcome Land Minister Samsur Rahman Sharif Dilu marking his maiden visit to his Pabna 6 constituency.
On Saturday, the same occurred when ruling party lawmaker Hasibur Rahman Swapan, elected uncontested, went to his Sirajganj-6 constituency.
Aiming to stop the age-old practice, the education ministry issued a directive in December 2009 prohibiting closing of educational institutions and queuing students up during visits by government high-ups.
It had also asked all district and upazila education offices to remain alert in this regard.
Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury said the prime minister herself has discouraged the ministers and officials in this regard. “The prime minister does not like this culture and she tells us not to do this.”
Matia, also an AL presidium member, said this tradition developed during the era of dictator Ayub Khan and it would take time to come out of the practice.
As a political party, AL never encourages this, she said, adding that sometimes some overenthusiastic teachers indulged in this custom.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid shared his dissatisfaction over the repetition of the practice by his colleagues.
“It was a well-known and age-old practice in our society. Soon after I took charge, I thought this custom must come to an end and we directed the educational institutions not to keep students on the roads in the heat or cold.
“And our directive got positive response as this practice decreased significantly,” Nahid told The Daily Star yesterday.
He urged all not to take any step that hinders children's physical and mental development and disrupt the educational atmosphere.
AL Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said sometimes school headmasters do this to draw attention of ministers or lawmakers to realise demands.
This practice must be stopped as none like it, said the AL lawmaker.
Another lawmaker and AL Organizing Secretary Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said there was a directive of the prime minister to stop such practices which might hamper students' academic lives.