Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday stressed the importance of building ‘educated and skilled manpower’ who will lead Bangladesh towards economic emancipation and help develop it socially and culturally.
“We want educated and skilled manpower who will be able to give us economic emancipation, and help develop the country socially and culturally and take it forward to a dignified position,” she said.
The Prime Minister was distributing prestigious Prime Minister Gold Medal for 2015 and 2016 under the auspices of University Grants Commission (UGC) to 265 talented students from public and private universities for their outstanding achievements in their respective faculties at the Prime Minister’s Office.
She said her government always wants to ensure education for all children of the country because education can help build a hunger- and poverty-free country. “And education has to be modern and time-befitting one. With that view in mind, we’re taking various programmes.”
She said the world is changing fast as newer technologies are coming every day. “We have to move ahead with that spirit. So, it’s essential to ensure modern education.”
Calling today’s students as future leaders of the nation, the Prime Minister advised them to utilise their talents, thoughts and knowledge for the welfare and development of the country so that its independence could not go in vain.
She said the necessity of higher education and efficiency is unbounded, and there is no alternative to quality higher education in this era of globalisation to stand before the world with heads high.
Hasina said steps have been taken to make education a multifaceted one by establishing specialised universities in the country like maritime university, fashion design university, textile university and digital university to create opportunities of employments.
Besides, steps have been taken to establish medical universities in Chittagong, Rajshahi and Sylhet, and such medical universities will also be established in other divisional headquarters in phases, she said.
Describing various steps taken for the expansion of higher education, the Prime Minister said her government has established 12 new science and technology universities in the country since 2009, while approval has been given to establish 44 new universities in the private sector.
She said the country’s literacy rate has reached 72.3 percent following implementation of massive programmes like free textbook distribution and providing stipends, sub-stipends and financial assistance to students after her government came to power in 2009.
The Prime Minister said the government has provided Tk 3.75 crore in 2016-17 fiscal year through the UGC for conducting PhD research, postdoctoral fellowship and other research works. Besides, Tk 4.50 crore was allocated for research works in 2017-2018 fiscal.
Prime Minister’s Gold Medal and UGC awards are also given to meritorious students spending Tk 1.30 crore in the current fiscal.
About ‘Strategic Plan for Higher Education 2017-2030’ recently formulated by the UGC, the Prime Minister said the government will take necessary measures to implement the plan.
A total of 124 students for 2015 and 141 students of 2016 received gold medals.
Held with UGC Chairman Prof Abdul Mannan in the chair, the function was also addressed by Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, Secondary and Higher Education Division Secretary Md Sohrab Hossain and UGC Member Prof Dr Dil Afroza Begum.
Ministers, secretaries from different ministries, former UGC chairmen, present and former members, vice-chancellors from public and private universities, educationists and parents of the awardees and UGC high officials were, among others, present.
The Prime Minister Gold Medal was introduced in 2005 for talented university students of the country.
Noor Mohammad of BUET and Rabaiya Jabin Priota of Jahangirnagr University also spoke expressing their feelings on behalf of the Medal recipients.