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Wed, September 29, 2004

Compiled by SDNP

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Launch Reflect approach to empower marginal people
Speakers tell seminar
Staff Correspondent

The Daily Star

Speakers at a seminar yesterday called for launching Regenerated Freirean Literacy Through Empowering Community Techniques (Reflect) approach for creating social awareness and empowering the marginal people.

They said the Reflect approach enhances not only peoples' economic development but also make them aware of their duties and responsibilities to their neighbours and the nation.

The seminar on 'Marching Towards Millenium Development Goals: Endeavour through Reflect' was organised by Actionaid Bangladesh, an international development organisation, at the Spectra Convention Centre in the city.

The Reflect, as a development and empowerment approach, was invented by Actionaid after conducting a research in Bangladesh, El Salvador and Uganda from 1993 to 95 by integrating the theory of Paolo Freiry, a Brazilian educationist.

Under the system, people in a group discuss, analyse and prioritise their problems and then go for action.

Group members also learn functional literacy through a creative and effective process that enables them to do simple accounting for conducting micro-credit programmes by themselves.

Actionaid launched the Reflect approach in Bangladesh in 1995 with the financial support of the Department for International Development (DFID).

The approach is now being practised by about one lakh people in 30 districts through 56 implementing agencies.

Rasheda K Chowdhury of Campaign for Popular Education, Bangladesh called for strengthening the Reflect approach as it is helping the people to enhance their analytical ability and resolving their problems by themselves.

Zahin Ahmed of Friends in Village Development, Bangladesh said the approach could create a social movement for positive changes in every aspect of life.

Prof Shahed Hassan, chairman of population sciences department of Dhaka University presented an interim study on the approach at the seminar.

Participatory Afforestation
Distribution of cheques begins today
Staff Correspondent

The Daily Star

Ministry of Environment and Forest will begin distribution of cheques among the beneficiaries of the participatory afforestation programme under Tangail Forest Range today.

Official sources said some 2300 local people had participated in woodlot afforestation in forest lands and strip plantation alongside the roads and embankments around six to seven years ago.

They will get Tk 10.26 crore as their profit share.

Minister for Environment and Forest Tariqul Islam will hand over the cheques to the beneficiaries at a simple ceremony at Bhashani Hall in Tangail at 11.00am today.

Officials said that the Department of Forest earned Tk 23.28 crore by selling timber, firewood and wooden pool in the current fiscal.

The forest department with the direct participation of people planted different types of trees on 1874 hectares of land namely woodlot at Madhupur, Ghatail, Kalihati, Mirzapur and Shakhipur forest areas.

The beneficiaries who participated in woodlot gardening will get 45 per cent of shares from the profit while who planted trees alongside roads and embankments and took care of the trees will get 55 per cent share.

Both the groups also planted trees alongside roads and embankments around 43 kilometers in the same areas.

According to the participatory afforestation programme, the trees were sold after being matured in seven to eight years.

At the check distribution programme, Minister for Jute and Textiles Shajhan Siraj, State Minister for Environment and Forest Jafrul Islam Chowdhury, State Minister in-charge of NGO Affairs Lutfor Rahman Khan Azad and Deputy Minister for Industries Abdus Salam Pintu will be present as special guests at the function.

Self-motivated teachers can help improve quality of edn
Staff Corresponden

The Daily Star

Self-motivated teachers can help enhance the quality of primary education, a Japanese expert said yesterday.

"To improve the quality of primary education, the teachers have to think about various and effective ways of teaching for better understanding by students," Yoshinori Yoneyama, a member of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV), told The Daily Star during a field visit by a group of newsmen. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) organised the tour.

Yoneyama, who has been serving as a mathematics teacher at an Upazila Resource Centre (URC) in Mymensingh, believe that every teacher has to think about the easier and effective method of teaching so that students can understand the lessons quickly.

"The future of Bangladesh will be bright if the quality of education is improved," he said.

The JOCV members have been serving as science and mathematics teachers in Mymensingh Primary Training Institute (PTI) and URC in Sadar upazila to train primary teachers.

They have been providing training for the teachers to improve their skills and to ensure quality education in the district.

The volunteers observed that although the country has achieved tremendous success in increasing enrolment in primary schools, the quality of education is not up to the mark.

In primary schools, teachers usually do not concentrate on the practical aspect of science, said Yuka Aso, a volunteer at the Mymensingh PTI.

M Waliul Islam, superintendent of the PTI, said Yuka Aso has been teaching science for the last eight months, which is benefiting the teachers greatly.

JOCV started their activities in Bangladesh in 1973 with a total of 833 volunteers, according to JICA officials. At present, 52 members are working in 29 fields.

Garment workers submit memo to prime minister
Staff Correspondent

The Daily Star

Bangladesh Garment Workers Unity Council submitted a memorandum to the prime minister yesterday demanding effective steps to face challenges in the aftermath of phasing out of quota facilities.

In the memorandum, the council leaders said the garment sector is going to face a tough situation as the Multi Fibre Agreement (MFA) expires at the end of this year.

Thousands of garment workers would lose their jobs, but the government is yet to take any effective steps in this regard, they added.

Backward linkage industries and cooperation from the government are a must for the garment industries to survive in the competitive market, the leaders said.

They also urged the PM to fulfil its 11-point demand, including increased salary and other facilities for garment workers.

The garment workers took out a procession towards the Prime Minister's Office to submit the memorandum, but police intercepted them at Paltan intersection at around 11.30am.

Later, a team of council leaders went to the PM's office to submit it.

Before taking out the procession, the council held a rally at Muktangan where its leaders Salauddin Swapan, Sarder Khorshed, BM Abul Hossain and Zahanara Begum spoke.

Amirul Haque Amin, co-ordinator of the council, presided over the rally.

Nepalese envoy visits Gono Biswabidyalaya

The Dialy Star

Nepalese Ambassador Bhagirath Basnet visited Gono Biswabidyalaya (GB) at Savar on Monday, says a press release.

Vice-Chancellor Dr Abul Quasem Chowdhury and the ambassador discussed matters of mutual interests. Bhagirath Basnet praised the standard of education at the university. He met the Nepalese students studying at the university. Eleven Nepalese students are studying at GB.

The VC stressed the need for closer cooperation between Bangladesh and Nepal in the field of education. He said it would be beneficial for both the countries.

Registrar Delwar Hossain, deans of three faculties were present.

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