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POST TIME: 9 December, 2019 08:47:38 PM
Light of education hardly reaches shoal areas
UNB, Kurigram

Light of education hardly reaches shoal areas

Lack of an educational institution and connectivity with the mainland have forced an estimated 200 schoolchildren in Amtala Char of Chilmari Upazila to quit studies.

Most of them now spend their days working in the fields or grazing cattle. Afsana, a young member of a newly-settled family, said she used to go to school when her family lived at Lal Chamar Char of Char Rajibpur upazila. The family took shelter at Amtala char after their homestead disappeared into the river.

"It's tough to continue studies in the absence of a school," she told UNB. Rubel, another former student, said he grazes cattle and works in crop field instead of going to school. Chilmari Union Parishad Chairman Gausol Haq acknowledged that the lack of educational institution in the river island was forcing students to quit studies. "No school has been set up here although a good number of people have been living here for some years now," he said. Over 400 families have so far settled on the river island that surfaced around four years ago. Most of them used to live in chars but were forced to move when the river devoured their homesteads.

The nearest school, located in Brahmaputra Char, is an hour's boat ride from Amtala. But distance and hazardous boat journey could not deter everyone. Nazim, a resident of the char, said some of them attend that school. "We've to start early in the morning to reach school in time," he added.

However, dozens of children like Afsana and Rubel, who cannot make the journey have no choice but to get involved in laborious activities to contribute to family income. Residents of the river island feared that the children may get involved in anti-social activities if the situation does not improve. They urged the authorities concerned to establish a school there as soon as possible.

Enamul Haque, an assistant teacher at Dushmara Government Primary School of the upazila, said it has been several years since people started inhabiting in the river island. "Now, it's essential to establish an educational institute to ensure that children get the opportunity to study," he said. When approached, State Minister for Primary and Mass Education Md Zakir Hossain said, "We'll keep an eye on the issue so that those children don't lag behind. A primary school will be established there, if needed."