Dhaka, 25 Feb, Abnews: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today put emphasis on quality and time-befitting education to further consolidate country's position in the fast-changing and competitive world.
"We want to build a time-befitting and quality education system so that the nation can move keeping pace with the modern world. To achieve the goal, we're going ahead with various measures," she said while distributing Prime Minister Gold Medals-2015 and 2016 among the meritorious students at her office in the morning.
Laying importance on building a skilled workforce to establish a hunger and poverty-free prosperous Bangladesh, the premier said it (workforce) could bring economic freedom for the people and develop the country socially and flourish culture. "The country will advance further with dignity and honour if such a workforce is built," she added.
University Grants Commission Chairman Professor Abdul Mannan presided over the function, while Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid and Secretary of Secondary and Higher Secondary Division of the Education Ministry Sohrab Hossain were present at the function as the special guests.
UGC Member Professor Dr Dil Afroz Begum delivered the welcome address and PM's Principal Secretary Dr Nojibur Rahman was also present on the dais.
On behalf of the Gold Medal recipients, Rubaya Zabin Priota of the Department of Drama and Dramatics of Jahangirnagar University and Noor Mohammad of the Department of Chemical Engineering of BUET expressed their feelings on receiving the award.
Ministers, the premier's advisers, parliament members, vice-chancellors and senior faculty members of different public and private universities were present on the occasion.
Sheikh Hasina said time befitting higher education is very much essential for human resource development as well as overall uplift of the country.
"In modern era, the necessity of higher education and skill are unbounded," she said, adding the knowledge, skill and innovative power attained through quality education and research can take civilisation to a dignified position overcoming all adversities and hurdles.
Terming today's students as the future leaders of the nation, the prime minister advised them to utilize their talents, thoughts and knowledge for the welfare and development of the country.
"This country is ours and we have achieved the hard earned independence after a long struggle. So you've to remain careful so that independence could not go in vain and this country isn't failed," she said.
Pointing out that no nation could achieve its desired goal without science education, she said her government has so far established 12 science and technology universities in the country to encourage students in pursuing science education.
About recently formulated "Strategic Plan for Higher Education 2017-2030" by the UGC, the prime minister said the government will undertake necessary measures to implement the plan after properly examining it.
The premier said Bangabandhu had given utmost priority to the development of education after independence and he nationalized all primary schools.
"Following his footprint, we have taken various measures for further development of education," she said.
The prime minister said the Father of the Nation established the UGC for flourishing higher education. "We've taken steps for strengthening the commission," she said.
Describing various steps for expansion of higher education, she said the number of public and private universities have significantly increased as the government has been working relentlessly in this regard.
Since 2009, she said, her government has established 12 new science and technology universities in the country, while approval has been given to establish 44 new universities in the private sector.
The prime minister said currently there are 44 public universities in the country, while the number of private universities is 95. "We enacted the Private University Law 2010 to infuse dynamism into the administrative and academic activities of the private universities," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the work on establishing two new medical universities is underway, and a public or private university will be established in those districts which have no university.
The prime minister said Bangladesh is going to be elevated to a developing country from the least developed one soon. "Bangladesh will get the status of a developing country in the next month Insha Allah," she said.
She also expressed her determination to build Bangladesh as a middle income country by 2021 and a developed and prosperous one by 2041. "To materialise the target, the meritorious students will have to work with utmost sincerity with the government," she said.
Congratulating the meritorious students who recipients the Prime Minister Gold Medals, Sheikh Hasina hoped that these achievements will provide more encouragement them in earning knowledge and skill.
"The parents, teachers, universities -- overall the country and nation are proud of your this feat," she said.
The prime minister hoped that the new generation will make contributions to building hunger and poverty free non-communal Bangladesh through their knowledge, merit and honesty by upholding the spirit of the liberation war.
At the outset of her speech, the prime minister recalled the army officers who embraced martyrdom on this day in 2009 during the BDR mutiny. She also prayed for eternal peace of the departed souls of the martyred army officers.
Speaking on the occasion, the UGC chairman informed the prime minister that the commission has made mandatory of studying two subjects -- one Bangla language and other 'the history of emergence of Bangladesh' -- for the public and private universities.
A total of 265 meritorious and successful students received Prime Minister's Gold Medals 2015 and 2016 for their outstanding academic results in their respective disciplines.
Of them 124 students received the Gold Medals for 2015 and 141 students for 2016 for securing the highest marks / CGPA in their respective faculties. - BSS