Sep 21, 2022 21:53:01
That 89 percent of children, or in absolute terms 45 million children under the age of 15, in this country are subjected to physical and psychological violence at will is a scathing comment on child care. It also refers to the outrageous socioeconomic inequalities that seem to have been exacerbated by the negative effects of the pandemic. The total number of children under the age of 15 in this country is nearly 55 million and when 45 million of them are just regularly violently disciplined at home, in most cases a picture of mindless and deplorable upbringing unfolds. The picture of child hostility is made even uglier by the fact that 30 million of them are trapped in child labor and 1.3 million of them in hazardous work.
The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, conducted jointly by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) and the Unicef Bangladesh Country Office, has certainly focused on a socio-economic fault line of seismic proportions that, like the shaking of the Earth’s tectonic plates, can lead to social tremors of the built-in mounting pressure. True, an overwhelming majority of these unfortunate children come from low-income families with subhuman living standards. It is quite possible that most of the deprived themselves do not have the slightest idea of an ideal parenthood. A recent study of children from such backgrounds confirms this. Up to 48 percent of them do not live with their parents when they leave their run-down shelters after the violent incidents they face. They suffer from at least three types of violence – physical, sexual and domestic violence. No wonder they lose interest in formal education and try to learn how to take care of themselves. They become involved in criminal offenses such as mugging, robbery or, if such acts fail, in begging. UNICEF also claims that one in five children drop out of primary school before completing primary school.
What kind of society will the nation build when so large a group of potential contributors to wealth creation and nation building becomes waste or degenerates into negative or antisocial elements? Victims of violence and deprivation from a young age, they soon learn the unwanted art of violence or various other illegal practices such as juvenile gangsterism and drug dealing. Increasing crimes of this anti-social nature have already seriously challenged socio-cultural stability.
Aside from such crimes aimed at tipping the balance in favor of social instability, children who are not subjected to violent domestic discipline are also deprived of their childhood. Without playgrounds and space for their balanced physical and mental development, such children are also robbed of the simple joy of life. Perhaps this explains why the majority of academically successful students do not return after completing their studies abroad. So the country loses in both directions. Now, of course, the main concern is to protect children from all kinds of violence and oppression. In this regard, the PM’s pledge to increase the number of professional social workers from 3,000 to 9,000 offers some hope. As announced, the child protection benefit can complement it very well if only the program is pursued seriously and with commitment.