Urban planners in the country have demanded to establish at least one quality school with necessary facilities including playgrounds in every ward of capital Dhaka to ensure the future generation to grow up with standard physical, mental and intellectual ability.
At an event jointly organised by Institute for Planning and Development (IPD) and Save the Children held at the CIRDAP auditorium in the city, they urged the government to initiate separate projects to establish these schools.
They also said that initiative should be taken to build schools, playgrounds and parks in Dhaka proposed by the Detailed Area Plan (DAP) considering the children's opinions.
Professor Dr Akhtar Mahmood, advisor of Institute for Planning and Development (IPD), said, "Dhaka has not been developed as a child-friendly city. We need area-based urban development and a school-based neighbourhood here."
The urban planner said that significant improvement in the city is possible if every ward councillor here can take the initiative to build at least one playground or park during their tenure.
Planner Dr Adil Muhammed Khan said that it is very promising that children's opinions have been taken seriously at various stages of this year's detailed area plan. "Similarly, there is a need to develop legal frameworks and strategies to build an inclusive and livable Dhaka city for children."
"We should also work to educate children about their rights and build institutions that spread awareness at the community and national levels," he said.
Architect Roksana Rashid said that in Canberra, Australia, the government formulates planning by determining the population of the city. "On the contrary, in Bangladesh, the government's plans become ineffective as 'the design population' is not determined."
Planner Khandaker Niaz Rahman, deputy team leader of DAP Project, said, "We need to analyse our failures considering not establishing quality schools in Dhaka after the liberation war. It would take only Tk25,000 crore to build 627 schools as per the DAP recommendation while the government is taking more ambitious projects in the development sector."
Planner Mohammad Ariful Islam, director of IPD, Planner Md Ashraful Islam of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha, Maksud Hashem, chief urban planner of Dhaka North City Corporation, also opined on the issue at the event.
They said the local government, city corporations, Rajuk and other government and private agencies concerned have to come forward in formulating framework and financing to make a livable Dhaka focusing on the children's well-being.
Children from Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Badda, Savar, Khilgaon, Jatrabari areas of Dhaka also participated as negotiators in the dialogue and urged the policymakers to build more playgrounds and parks in the city.