Haider Ahmed Khan
I must refer the present communication system of the world considering human development. Communication is a very important aspect for any development. One can travel from one corner to another within a short time which was next to impossible for any Bangladeshi even in the eighties. It is the science and technology which has made it to turn into reality. The progress or advancement of science and technology depends much upon education. Science can't move nor run nor operate itself. Every improved technology innovated by science needs a human factor or technician called scientist. A scientist can't be created by nature or by birth. He needs some specialized knowledge which can be obtained through proper education. For example, being a rickshaw puller does not require any formal education but one must have some high skill knowledge to run an aircraft. Now the world is running with the techno-based knowledge and the world is itself a village. However, no nation is economically independent; the success rate is different for different countries. Every government is bound to do something to eradicate poverty. Leaving a substantial portion of people of a country under poverty level no improvement program will be effective.
In 2011, the world population was 6,973.74 million and in Bangladesh it was about 160.00 million with 56.8% literacy rate. The world economy and politics are dominated by a few countries whose par capita income is very high and literally they are also very skilled. On the other hand, the dominants are the countries with low income people and illiterate majorities. According to UNESCO's "Global Monitoring Report on Education for All (2006)", South and West Asia has the lowest regional adult literacy (58.6%), followed by sub-Saharan Africa (59.7%), and the Arab States (62.7%). Countries with the lowest literacy rates in the world are Burkina Faso (12.8%), Niger (14.4%) and Mali (19%). The report shows a clear connection between illiteracy and countries in severe poverty, and between illiteracy and prejudice against women."
The world leaders have realized that poverty is the main hindrance for economic development. A sustainable economic development can only be possible if the total population i.e. including women, can acquire the capacity to purchase its requirements. There is no scope to ignore half of the population representing women. For the betterment of the society, women education is very much essential not only from economic aspect but also for a healthy family atmosphere. For better education and learning, a human child depends on his mother the most. If the mother is educated, she can educate the whole family. So education for all is important. The improvement of the poverty level through education is considered as one of the main objects of every international association or organization. A world famous non-government organization or NGO, involved with quality education for all express their vision as "We acknowledge education as a basic human right, and believe that literacy unlocks the door to a life of learning. Higher literacy levels enable people to overcome the barriers of poverty, disease and fulfill their potential."
Capital resource is essential for every economic development programme. The capital resource includes man, machine and material. It is the man who gives life to the other two resources for the accomplishment of the purpose which it is meant for. Human being is the key factor for every economic activity. He can improve his expertise through learning and having experience. Even for a farmer it is essential to know the advanced technology for the improvement of the cultivation; otherwise, he can't sustain.
Natural resource is an important factor for the development of a country but human resource is very much essential. If any country can develop its human resource as a skilled one then natural resource is not mandatory for development. Singapore can be a very good example in this regard. This country has no natural resource. Even they have to import their drinking water. In Singapore, everybody must learn at least two languages from the list of the Government, the literacy rate is 92.5% and per capita income is US$ 61,503.00 (by gross domestic product at purchasing power parity per capita).
On the other hand, we have various types of natural resource and 160 million people. Our per capita income is about US$ 900.00 and the literacy rate is 56.8% (?). The economy of Singapore is very strong and stable. The monthly remuneration of the Prime Minister of Singapore is the highest in the world. They have the capacity for the payment. Any incident of corruption at state level in Singapore is very rare to hear of. Here it may be noted that any corruption in a country starts for necessity, lawlessness as well as lack of discipline and the level of corruption depends upon the efficiency of the government.
Bangladesh has a history of movement for language, democracy and independence. After about 42 years of independence one third of our total population still have no capacity to buy their own livelihood. Somehow they are managing their food but is the food sufficient? Is it balanced diet? The answer is "No" and as a result they are suffering from male nutrition. Proper nutritious food is very important for the development of physical and mental health. Higher purchasing capacity is essential in an economy to ensure the capability to buy balanced diet. If there is a gap between the required food and the food intake within nine years after birth, the damage cannot be compensated. Here we can see some significant factors for human development from top ten countries as below:
Our government is trying to improve the poverty level by implementing Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) since long with foreign aid but the output is not so satisfactory, still 43% people are illiterate; one third people have no capacity to buy their food even more than four decades of independents. To eradicate the poverty, the government of Bangladesh has set a goal to obtain 100% literacy rate by 2015. In the process of achieving the goal, government has
claimed that 19.3 million (1.93 crore) have enrolled at primary level in the year 2012 which is appreciable but infrastructural development required to educate this huge population is under question. Government statistics show that, we have only 82,020 primary schools and 18,700 secondary schools in our country. Another 15,000 primary schools are required at primary level to accommodate this 19.3 million (1.93 crore) school-going children-considering 200 students per school. If we can sustain our policy, one fifth of 19.3 million (1.93 crore) students i.e. 38, 60,000 students are expected to get admitted in class VI in the year 2017. Additional 20,000 secondary schools will be required to accommodate our future leaders for secondary level education. Common expectation of a society is that 100% students should have secondary school certificate without any dropouts. Illiterate people are the liability for a society.
We have to develop a comprehensive strategy which will be required to achieve MDGs. Planning is important but not the sole way to ensure the achievement. Proper planning along with its effective implementation are the preconditions to attain the desired purpose of development through ensuring proper education, food, shelter and health for poor the people, which are the basic fundamental rights as recognized by the Constitution. All the working days should be utilized with 100% efficiency in education sector as well as other sectors. We have no other option except educating our people with quality to survive with dignity.
The writer, an FCA, is Senior Vice President of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry.