Sufficient budget allocation is necessary for the education sector to produce more skilled and efficient manpower in the health and other technical sectors to combat situations like the prevailing coronavirus pandemic, observed experts, educationists and campaigners.

They emphasised on more budget allocation to have more skilled teachers and trainers who would prepare more skilled manpower in every sector, to ensure infrastructure, training and even security for the female staff and to change the mindsets of the decision-makers to these ends.

Skilled and expert manpower are the key to combating any crisis situation, they also observed.

The government is scheduled to announce the budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year on June 11.

Last year the allocation for education in the proposed 2019-20 national budget was 11.68 per cent while noted and senior educationists said that the money was not sufficient at all as the government was committed to allocating at least 20 per cent of the total budget for the sector.

Against this backdrop, this year the budget is going to be announced in a situation in which the entire country is going through the COVID-19 pandemic that, according to the official figures, claimed 559 lives and infected 40,321 people till Thursday.

The country is now struggling to cope with the situation with inadequate doctors, nurses and other caregivers.

Experts said that the present situation also exposed a lack of experts in almost every sector, especially in technical sectors which could earn huge remittances for the country.

‘What will you do with the budget if doctors and other staff do not want to stay at the health facilities?’ Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury posed the question while talking to New Age on Saturday.

He said that at first the mindsets of the health service providers have to be changed while this type of mindset was closely related to the education system.

In the schools teachers do not teach students as they are involved with coaching centres which must be stopped forthwith and then educated elderly population should be engaged in the teaching profession to ensure quality education, Zafrullah emphasised.

He pointed at the lack of security, especially for female doctors, at the residential facilities as a major problem behind doctors’ reluctance to stay in the areas of their posting.

There should be allocation for residential facilities for doctors along with the treatment facilities in the health facilities, he said.

But, he added, if you do not consider the situation in a holistic approach the level of corruption would increase in the case of allocating more budget for the sector.

Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council president Mohammad Shahidullah said that the number of doctors, nurses and other health carers were increasing. ‘But what to do with them if they are not properly trained?’ he asked.

He demanded budget allocations for the training of doctors, nurses and health technologists at home and abroad.

Rasheda K Choudhury, former caretaker government adviser and the executive director of Campaign for Popular Education, said that more budget allocation was needed to generate trained and skilled teachers.

In the prevailing situation the authorities have also to allocate more money for other sectors like health keeping in mind that in the long run everything will depend on education, she said.

Rasheda also said that the education sector budget in Bangladesh was mainly used for the infrastructure and salaries of teachers but the authorities would have to invest more in creating skilled manpower.

Former interim government adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam said that there was no doubt that more budget should be allocated for the technical education sector to produce more skilled manpower for earning more remittance and ensuring the availability of local experts.

Building the capacity to create skilled doctors, nurses and technologists is also necessary, he added.

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