Children want more govt allocation in edn, health: UNICEF survey

June 21, 2022

Nine out of ten Bangladeshi children say it is very important for the government to spend more on education, health and other areas that directly impact children, according to a new survey of Unicef.
Around 14,000 children and 37,000 young people – aged 18-24 – participated in the survey, which asked them for their opinions about the national budget.
“Children have a lot to say about what they want from us, about their hopes and aspirations. As public representatives we need to listen to them and engage with them meaningfully. From my position, I will continue to champion their rights and convey their voices to national leaders for a better Bangladesh,” said Md Shamsul Haque Tuku, chairman of the Parliamentary Caucus on Child Rights.
“Every aspect of children’s lives has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the findings from this survey show that they are aware and concerned. It is critical that national leaders listen to them,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh.
Learning loss caused by eighteen months of pandemic school closures was identified as a priority in the survey, according to a press release.
Over 85 percent of children who participated in the survey said that it is very important for Bangladesh to spend more on education to help children recover from learning loss.
A majority of the children also said what is most needed is investment in teacher education and training.
“I want to see more spending on education in the national budget, prioritizing primary and secondary schools. This is needed if we want to end child labour, child marriages and prevent children from dropping out of school,” said 13-year-old Gargee Tanushree Paul.
Quality healthcare at affordable prices also emerged as a pressing concern. For more than 90 percent of the children who participated in the survey, it is very important that Bangladesh invests more to speed up progress towards universal health coverage.
“In the national budget, the allocation for the health sector should be increased. To ensure better health of children and pregnant mothers, we need more investment in trained nurses, midwives and specialized equipment”, said 17-year-old Ibna Al Ramiz.
Despite enormous progress in Bangladesh, millions of children continue to face violence, abuse, and are forced into child marriage or child labour. Recognizing that social workers on the ground play a vital role to protect children, over 65 percent of the children participating in the survey said that it was very important for them to see more spending on social workers.
“We need to carve out more space for children and young people to participate meaningfully in the decisions that affect their future. We need to show them through our actions that their voices do matter. We need to see greater allocation to child sectors in the national budget,” said Yett.

– With The Daily Star input

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