Child Parliament; making the policy makers listen to the children

Tuesday 31 October 2017

On 16 October, 14th child parliament session was organized with the theme "Impact of Disasters on Children", with the participation of child parliament members from the 35 flood affected districts at Bangladesh Shishu Academy. Meftahun Nahar, speaker, Child Parliament, welcomed the discussion along with two deputy speakers, Ferdous Naeem and Mahmuda Siddiqua. Primary and Mass Education Minister Mostafizur Rahman attended as chief guest with the special guest M, A Mannan, Honorable State Minister of Finance.

This year, around 4000 educational institutions around the country suffered from long interruption due to the flood, putting children at risk of dropouts, deteriorated education outcomes and consequent threats of other social vulnerabilities including child marriage.

The parliament session drawn the attention of the policy makers to ensure safe learning facilities in school and make risk reduction and resilience education for undisrupted education. The child parliamentarians raised their concern addressing disaster and children along with the recommendations to the policy makers.

While addressing the children in the disaster, parliamentarian also added 74% of the education materials have already been damaged while 1693 schools are also being used as a shelter; interrupting regular education. The protection of adolescent also pointed by a parliamentarian while sharing her experience of shelter.

In the recommendations, child parliamentarian added “Temporary school can be set up for the children in the fully damaged school.In addition, sufficient textbook and educational materials must be ensured in the disaster prone area, Mobile school can be set up where the infrastructure fully washed away. Beyond this, a child parliamentarian recommended to form a school level committee for the pre and post disaster education system.

“The budget will be increased following specific need for the education of flood affected children from Education Ministry” remarked the special guest against the recommendations for more allocation for school. Speaker of Child Parliament Meftahun Nahar said, “As a platform, Child Parliament has raised child rights issues to the policymakers which help in addressing the concerns of the children”.

Though the event, the recommendations as well as commitment were gathered from the government actors to take forward the advocacy to the national platform. Going forward, National Children’s Task Force will also follow up on commitments towards children to ensure safe education from disaster.

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