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Schools ordered not to keep students standing on roadside

Mohiuddin Alamgir

The primary and mass education ministry on Monday issued a circular asking all concerned authorities to
refrain from lining up students on roadsides to greet public representatives and top government officials during their visits.
Education minister Nurul Islam Nahid also urged all concerned not to keep the student lined up for greeting or welcoming any VIPs.    
Students were forced to line up on both sides of the roads to welcome newly elected ministers and lawmakers defying the education ministry directives last week that such practice had been causing loss of academic hours and pain for the students.    
From January 18 to 25, school students of Sirajganj, Noakhali, Magura, Faridpur, Munshiganj, Rajshahi and Natore were forced to  line up on both sides of the roads, ahead of reception programmes for ministers and  lawmakers, New Age correspondents of the districts reported.  
Reception organisers forced the students to queue up under sky in shivering cold and the boys and girls of tender age often went without food.  Such activities of political parties can put pressure on physical and mental growth of the young children, said a statement of the primary and mass education ministry.
Child rights activists also voiced their concern saying that such use of children for greeting VIPs was a clear violation of child rights.
Article 6.7.4 of the National Children Policy 2011 stipulates: ‘The children cannot be used in the political activity, neither they could be lured and compelled to be involved in such activity.’
Students of Nasirnagar area of Brahamanbaria were forced to line up to greet fisheries and livestock minister Sayedul Haq on January 25.
Students of Rajshahi were queued up along the road for two and a half hours to welcome state minister for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam on January 24.
School children of Faridpur were queued up to welcome expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain and students of Munshiganj were lined up on roadsides to greet  disaster management and relief minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury on January 23.
Students of Magura were lined up to greet youth and sports state minister Biren Sikdar and students of Senbagh of Noakhali were queued up to greet lawmaker Morshed Alam on January 22.
School students of Shahjadpur of Sirajganj were lined up for greeting lawmaker Hasibur Rahman on January 18.
Teachers of the schools said school managing committee members asked them to bring students to greet the lawmakers and ministers.
The primary and mass education ministry circular signed by senior assistant secretary Jazrin Nahar warned that tough measures against headmasters and governing bodies of schools will be taken if the order was violated.
The circular said it was observed how primary school students were being lined up along the roads to greet public representatives and top government officials during their visits. This is hampering educational activities.
A ministry official said the Prime Minister’s Office forwarded the order to the ministry on Monday after reports of receptions of several ministers in their localities were published in different newspapers.
Education minister Nurul Islam Nahid while speaking at a function at National Curriculum and Textbook Board said normal classes and education as well as students suffer a lot when they are kept standing in rain and sun to greet someone.
‘Many fall sick… all should take the matter into consideration,’ he said.
The education ministry issued a directive banning lining up of students on roadsides to greet VIPs.

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