A group of youths representing various strata of the society have underscored the need for developing a healthy political atmosphere to ensure the youth’s participation in politics, only which, they feel, can build a prosperous Bangladesh.
They say the country will not see leapfrog development unless the voice of the vast number of rural youth is heard and necessary measures are taken for their growth.
Joining a roundtable discussion titled ‘Future Bangladesh: Hopes and Expectations’, the youths spoke of mainstreaming the young people from comparatively marginalised educational, social, and economic backgrounds, improvement of education, maximising use of information technology, women empowerment, and change of society’s outlook towards women.
Daily Prothom Alo in association with Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) organised the roundtable at the Karwan Bazar office of the daily on Saturday.
Welcoming youths, BIPSS president ANM Muniruzzaman, also a retired major general of Bangladesh army, said youths constitute as much as 31 per cent of the country’s total population. “So, it is the youth who will determine the country’s future.”
In reference to a survey conducted by Prothom Alo, Dhaka University’s assistant professor Asif Mohammad Shahan said the country is passing through a “very dangerous time”.
Voicing his concern over youths’ apathy towards politics as depicted in the Prothom Alo survey, he said nothing is outside politics. “And the desired political culture will never be achieved without youths’ participation in it.”
Dhaka University’s International Relations department student AKM Tawsif Tanzim Ahmed alleged the youths are not being utilised for the national development, due to unwelcome gesture.
“The country lacks a healthy political culture. We get no scope to engage in politics. How can I get into the politics? Once I get into politics as a student, I will have to fight with musclemen, and will have to join rallies and processions on a regular basis,” he observed.
He said there should have visible mechanisms, programmes, and actions so that the youth can feel inspired to join politics. “Youths should be given space in politics.”
Prothom Alo staff correspondent Ashraful Islam called on the country’s leadership and the media to think over how the youths can be inspired to join politics.
BUET Debating Club president Towhidur Rahman spoke of mainstreaming of youths from comparatively underprivileged and marginalised sections of the society to embolden the pace of development.
“We need to reach out to the marginalised rural youth and the media can play a bridging role in this regard,” said Towhidur Rahman.
He voiced his concern over the position of Bangladesh’s educational institutions in the global ranking.
“The position of BUET and Dhaka University in the global ranking is not before 22,000. So, how can I compete with a Harvard graduate? The leadership should think of this and necessary measures should be undertaken to improve the quality of education.”
Speaking on the occasion, Alia Madrasa student Abu Sayed Zubair attached importance to uniting all youths irrespective of which educational institutional institutions they have come from.
“Grassroots and marginalised youths must be brought to the mainstream.”
Shedding light on a shabby picture of madrasa education system, he said, “Madrasa teachers are not imparted necessary training and they can’t even survive with the remuneration they get.”
Asian University for Women student Erina Mahmud said there is a huge lack in the sector of research in the country’s educational institution.
She called on the authorities concerned to devise a long-term plan for the education sector, which will eventually ensure a better allocation for research and training in the educational institutions.
Dhaka University’s marketing department student Sylvia Rozario asked what percentage of women joins the country’s workforce after obtaining their graduate degrees.
“And the question is why the women do not join the workforce even after their graduation and what actually obstructs them from joining the workforce. We also need to change society’s outlook towards women.”
Prothom Alo associate editor Abdul Quayum and Muniruzzaman jointly moderated the roundtable.