February 23, 2020
We are shocked to learn about the fate of a student hostel which was built at Chelachara village in Kawkhali upazila of Rangamati to provide accommodation to the indigenous children of remote areas. According to a report by The Daily Star on February 21, the hostel, which was constructed some nine years ago, has been lying useless because of fund crisis. The three-storied building, which has eight rooms for 80 students, a kitchen, a dining room and separate living rooms for staffers, was built at the initiative of the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education at a cost of Tk 3.29 crore in the fiscal year 2010-11. The five people who were appointed as caretaker, nightguard, cook and sweeper in 2013 have also been getting their salaries regularly. But surprisingly, there is no boarder at the hostel. According to our correspondent, there are two other student hostels in Rangamati which have faced the same fate.
Such waste of resources and public money is unacceptable while access to education still remains a big challenge for indigenous children in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Since there are not many schools in the remote areas of the hill district, these hostels should be utilised properly so that students from distant villages can stay there and at least have primary education. Already many parents have contacted the superintendent of the hostel, who is also the head teacher of a nearby primary school, for keeping their children in the hostel.
Thus, the government should immediately allocate necessary funds to make this and other such hostels in the district functional. Such a well-thought-out initiative to provide education to the indigenous children should not go down the drain.