With more and more open spaces being grabbed, children are living in the confines of their homes spending more time with electronic gadgets and in front of TVs, which is seriously impeding their physical and mental development.
Therefore, the authorities concerned should not only preserve or reclaim the remaining open spaces across the country, but also create more playgrounds for children to play and breathe in, said speakers at a programme yesterday.
They also stressed on taking children’s opinion while taking any decision regarding them.
Unicef Bangladesh organised the event at a city hotel, marking 30 years of UN Convention on the Rights of the Child -- a human rights treaty focusing on civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children.
The programme was aimed at engaging children with policymakers in a dialogue. School and college students from country’s eight divisions participated in it and addressed the issues they face.
At the event, speakers also highlighted the rights of children with disabilities and underprivileged children.
Noted economist Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman said children need open space. But such spaces are occupied by grabbers.
He called upon policymakers to expand school feeding programmes across the country to ensure children’s nutrition,
Lawmaker Shamsul Haque Tuku, president of the Parliamentary Caucus on Child Rights, said, “Sports has numerous positive impacts on education and health, and it contributes towards building a healthy nation.”
“Our prime minister also prioritises such activities. That’s why she has said all government schools will have playgrounds,” he added.
Deputy Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad Fazle Rabbi Miah said parents should listen to children and help them take decision.
“Today’s children are tomorrow’s future; we should listen to them,” said the deputy speaker. Regarding government’s activities, he said there is a block allocation of Tk 100 crore for children in every budget.
Unicef Bangladesh Representative Tomoo Hozumi said, “Investing in child’s development is not charity, it is an investment for the future.”
Pointing out different examples, he said, “Bangladesh is doing well in child-related issues; however more needs to be done. For example, around 4.3 million children [aged between 6 and 15] are still out of school…”
Lawmaker Meher Afroz Chumki spoke about the need for vocational training to empower women.
“With that in mind, the government is constructing vocational training centre in every district,” the Gazipur-5 MP added.