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13 January, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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GIRLS’ EDUCATION

Shafi’s remarks draw widespread criticisms

Statement personal: Dy edn minister
STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka

Friday’s statements by Hefajat-e Islam chief, Shah Ahmed Shafi, that girls should not be sent to school because education would make them disobedient drew widespread criticisms by people from sectors of the society, including civil society members, leaders of different women’s organisations, human rights activists and politicians. While addressing a rally on Friday at an annual gathering at Darul-Ulum Moinul Islam Madrasa in Hathazari upazila of Chattogram, Shah Ahmed Shafi said girls should not receive schooling beyond Grades IV or V because education would make them disobedient. The statement stirred up criticism in social media and across the country.

Former adviser to a caretaker government and human rights activist Sultana Kamal said the remarks are completely anti-constitutional and that the government has commitment to women's empowerment. The responsibility of answering to Shafi’s stance is entirely dependent on the government, she said.

“The government took the responsibility to run the state. Shafi gave comment against the manifesto of the ruling Awami League,” she said.

President of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad Aisha Khanam said  since the last three decades after 1975, the military government, the autocratic government, and the elected governments-- who are democratically committed-- are giving shelter

 to religious groups from strategical perspectives.

“They are getting patronage from the government side. Shafi’s remarks ate unfortunate not only for women but also for everyone,” she said.

Former Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique said it seems incredible that people can talk like this in the 21st century.

“When we are committed to upholding women’s rights, moving forward with the competitive world through women’s empowerment, and expanding the way of women’s education, such comments are unwarranted,” Siddique said.

“No religion dictates to keep people uneducated. We have to be alert so that no child is affected by such speeches. Islam has emphasised not only education but also equality of women in society,” he added.

Telecoms and ICT Minister Mustafa Jabbar also censure Shafi’s comments saying it is impossible to hold back girls in their homes any more as the prime minister has already brought them out for education.

“Our prime minister has already brought out these girls from their home and now development will continue through the hands of these girls and Shafi huzur cannot stop this flow,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mohibul Hassan Chowdhury Nowfel, deputy ministry for education, yesterday said there was no relationship between state policy and Friday’s statements by the Hefajat-e Islam chief, adds our Staff Reporter from Chattogram.  

“Women are far ahead in education. Someone’s personal opinion cannot influence this advancement. The present government has given special importance to women’s education,” said the deputy minister.

Talking to reporters yesterday (Saturday) at his Chattogram Chasma Hill residence, the deputy minister opposed the remarks of the Hefajat-e Islam chief. “Various steps are being taken to improve education during the Awami League (AL) government. A revolutionary change has come about in the education sector. We will try to protect this continuity in the future,” added Nowfel.

“The present scenario of the education sector was not there 18 years ago. For higher education abroad, one has to do the Master’s degree again. Now the quality of the education been improved and the certificates are of international standards. So, bright students can easily attend higher education abroad,” added Nowfel.

“We will try and maintain this standard,” he said. Chattogram zila parishad chairman Abdus Salam, Chattogram Press Club president Kalim Sarwar, secretary Suklal Das, Chittagong Union for Journalists (CUJ) president Nazim Uddin Shymol, Dr Sheikh Shafiul Alam, North district AL vice-president Gias Uddin and others were present at the briefing.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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