About 64 crore students affected due to two years closure of schools



News Desk, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the education of 3 crore 70 lakh children in Bangladesh for more than a year and a half. According to a UNICEF survey, more than 63 crore 50 lakh students worldwide have been affected by the pandemic due to the complete or partial closure of schools worldwide.

On International Education Day and two years after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, UNICEF released the latest data on the impact of the pandemic on children's education.

The Bangladesh government has announced the closure of schools from January 23 to February 6, 2022 due to the resurgence of coronavirus infection.

UNICEF representative in Bangladesh Sheldon Yate said: "In order to deal with the Covid-19, the school must be closed on a temporary basis as a last resort. Among the steps we are taking to tackle the tide of infection, schools should be the last to close and the first to open. ”

UNICEF's head of education, Robert Janeconsi, said: Simply put, we are seeing almost irreparable damage to children's education, but this barrier to learning needs to be removed, and reopening schools alone is not enough. Students need intensive support to overcome the loss of learning. In order to restore the mental and physical health, social development and nutrition of the children, the schools have to go beyond the prescribed limits of teaching. '

According to a UNICEF survey, 70 per cent of 10-year-olds in the low- and middle-income countries have not been able to read or understand simple text books due to the loss of education due to school closures, 53 per cent more than before the pandemic.

UNICEF says children have lost basic counting and literacy skills due to school closures during the pandemic. Globally, disruption of learning means that millions of children have been significantly deprived of the academic education they could have had if they had been in the classroom, where younger and more marginalized children have suffered the most.

UNICEF estimates that Ethiopian primary school children have learned only 30 to 40 percent of the mathematics they could have learned in a normal school year.

In several Brazilian provinces, 3 out of 4 children in grade 2 have deviated from reading skills which was one in every two children before the pandemic. In the country, 1 in 10 students aged 10-15 reported. They have no plans to return to school after reopening their school. In Texas 2021, two-thirds of Grade 3 children had poor math skills for their grades. In 2019, this rate was half that of children.

In the United States, there has been a loss of education in many states, including Texas, California, Colorado, Tennessee, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Maryland.

In South Africa, schoolchildren are 75 to 100 percent behind in the school year. Between March 2020 and July 2021, about 4 to 5 lakh students dropped out of school.

School closures affect the mental health of children as well as the loss of education, reduce their regular sources of nutrition and increase their risk of bullying.

A UNICEF study found that Covid-19 caused high levels of anxiety and depression among children and young people, with a higher rate among adolescents and children living in rural areas.

UNICEF also said that more than 37 core children worldwide were deprived of school meals during school closures, which is the only reliable source of food and daily nutrition for some children and they lose it.

Padma Bridge, the Wonder of Bangladesh



News Desk, Barta24.com
Padma Bridge, the Wonder of Bangladesh

Padma Bridge, the Wonder of Bangladesh

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The wait period is over. The dream came true. Today (June 25), the door of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, which stands on the two banks of the river Padma, is opening.

This dream bridge of about 60 million people in 21 districts of the south-west is a proud history of the whole country. The wonder of the whole world. The bridge connecting Mawa in Munshiganj to Banglabazar in Shariatpur is a harbinger of a new day in the country's economy, investment, trade and overall development.

The celebration of Padma victory will touch the whole country today. Various programs have been taken all over the country on the occasion of inauguration of Padma Bridge. The people of the south are happy with the new day.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will open the much-anticipated 6.15-kilometer Padma Bridge for vehicular movement on Saturday which will bring massive progress in road connectivity of 21 south and southwestern districts with the capital of Dhaka and other major cities.

Marking the grand opening of the bridge, a festive mood is prevailing in the country, particularly in the southern and southwestern region which will be directly facilitated through the major road connectivity.

The premier will join the Padma Bridge inaugural ceremony at Mawa point in Munshiganj at 10 am.

As per the premier’s programme schedule, she will also unveil commemorative postage stamps, souvenir sheets, opening day cover and seals at 11am at Mawa point to mark the grand opening of the country’s biggest self-financed mega project which is likely to boost GDP by 1.2 to 2 percent.

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Bangladesh Floods: Six Million People Marooned



News Desk, Barta24.com
Bangladesh Floods: Six Million People Marooned

Bangladesh Floods: Six Million People Marooned

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Incessant rains and gushing waters have marooned at least six million people in Bangladesh, prompting authorities to call in the Army to assist in the rescue and relief operations.

Officials estimate that six million people were marooned at their nearly inundated homes or were forced to take makeshift refuge elsewhere as water level in rivers in northeastern and northern regions continued to rise.

“Water now continued to surpass much above the danger lines in two of the country’s four major river basin. The situation appears to be nearly as bad as that of the 2004 flooding, a Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) spokesman said. The FFWC attributed the flooding to excessive rainfalls simultaneously in upstream Meghlaya and Bangladesh.

Many people were forced to initially take refuge on their rooftops amid gushing rising waters until rescue boats came in Sunamganj, said local officials. Meanwhile, due to huge rainfall, many districts of norther Bangladeh are facing threat of fresh flood.

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CHT, Bay of Bengal and Security Perspective



Dr. Mahfuz Parvez
CHT, Bay of Bengal and Security Perspective

CHT, Bay of Bengal and Security Perspective

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The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) is a group of districts within the Chittagong Division in southeastern Bangladesh, bordering India and Myanmar (Burma) and covering 13,295 square kilometers. Historically settled by tribal groups, now the CHT is also inhabited by huge Bengali settlers.

The CHT region witnessed bloodshed beginning in the early 1970s, when ethnic groups protested the government’s policy of recognizing only the Bengali culture and language and designating all Bangladeshi citizens as Bengalis.

The CHT Peace Accord, signed in 1997 with the promise to end ethnic insurgency and grant a host of benefits to the people, was hailed by all.

With two decades passed since the signing of the CHT Accord, its lack of implementation has reached alarming levels. Ethnic groups and Bengali community are also demanding different types of political, citizenship and land rights.

As per ground realities, there could be fresh tension, political confrontation and security problem in the CHT if the emerging issues are not addressed.

The fact that the CHT people are overwhelmingly in favor of peace as a necessary precondition to all round development of the region is good augury. But the biggest challenge is to continue the peace that has emerged from the conflict with the wisdom, determination and political skill of the leadership.

However, the proximity of the Chittagong Hill Tracts to the Bay of Bengal (BoB) poses a security risk. In a research report, Angshuman Choudhury, Siddharth Anil Nair, Ashutosh Nagda & Garima Maheshwari mentioned the BoB region is one of the most climate-vulnerable in the world. Its strategic, political, social and economic faultlines are also extensive. Together they create fertile ground for volatile security dynamics, social friction and violent conflict. It is a textbook example of the complex relationship between climate change and security, and how an aggregate of both could create emerging challenges for policy-planners (CLIMATE SECURITY IN THE BAY OF BENGAL, 18 Jan, 2022, 212, IPCS Special Report).

Growing strategic significance of the Bay of Bengal within the emerging and increasingly contested geography of the Indo-Pacific, is sharply visible in various ways. BoB's strategic location at the heart of the Indo-Pacific, and ponders the unfolding challenges to regionalism in the Bay of Bengal. It is important for Bangladesh to intensify its efforts to construct a more secure and cooperative Bay of Bengal littoral (C. Raja Mohan, "The Bay of Bengal in the Emerging Indo-Pacific").

Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Professor, Political Science, University of Chittagong, Bangladesh; Associate Editor, www.barta24.com



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Dr. Kamal's Writ Hearing on Tax Evasion Adjourned for a Week



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Dr. Kamal's Writ Hearing on Tax Evasion Adjourned for a Week

Dr. Kamal's Writ Hearing on Tax Evasion Adjourned for a Week

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The High Court has adjourned the hearing of prominent lawyer, constitutional expert Dr. Kamal Hossain's writ petition for a week.

A High Court bench of Justice Syed Rifat Ahmed and Justice Mohammad Mahbub-ul-Islam granted the order on behalf of Kamal Hossain on Sunday (June 5).

Junior lawyer Barrister Tanim Hossain Shaon appeared for the writ petition. "We asked for a one-day court hearing," the lawyer said. The court has given one week time.

Earlier, a writ petition was filed in the High Court by Kamal Hossain over a dispute over the amount of income tax applicable to him for one year. The writ petition challenging the order of the tax appeals tribunal was on the agenda for hearing today.

Writ has said, for the tax year 2018-19, Kamal Hossain in his income tax return file shows annual income of 1 crore 4 lakh 3 thousand 495 Taka. On the other hand, it is mentioned in the return file that the applicable tax has been deducted at the source as 76 lakh 41 thousand 548 Taka.

Meanwhile, on December 30, 2019, the Deputy Tax Commissioner in an order fixed Kamal's annual income at 20 crore 11 lakh 4 thousand 219 Taka. Due to non-submission on time, with a late charge of 87 lakh 35 thousand 634 Taka,
a total of 6 crore 9 lakh 85 thousand 351 Taka income tax was demanded from Kamal Hossain.

Against the decision of the Deputy Commissioner, Dr. Kamal Hossain appealed to the Tax Appeal Tribunal. However, the tribunal dismissed the appeal.

Later, a writ petition was filed in the High Court on behalf of Dr. Kamal Hossain. The High Court on Sunday (June 5) adjourned the hearing of the writ petition for a week.

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