An Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) is the chairman of almost all committees at upazila level. In the meetings of these committees, the general issues of the upazila are discussed and decisions are taken. So an UNO can play an important role in decision making.
Primary education is the foundation of a country's education system. If quality education for the new generation is not ensured at the primary level, then it becomes difficult to ensure it later in life. It will not be possible to indoctrinate the future generation to become ideal, patriotic, obedient citizens if they are not controlled in activities beyond formal education, such as cultural activities, camping activities, sports, moral education, etc.
Education is the backbone of the nation. No nation can progress without education. Teachers are said to be artisans who manufacture people. An UNO can motivate teachers by participating in their training, which is organised at different times for the teachers at the upazila level. An UNO can give directions to improve the quality of education.
As a result, teaching in the classroom will be ensured according to the teacher's guidelines. Also, many children in rural areas drop out every year compared to urban schools, and are also deprived of compulsory primary education. They become a burden to the society rather than an asset to the nation.
The children studying in these schools stay for long periods of time without eating. If a midday meal in every school were to be introduced, children would happily focus on their lessons and attend school regularly. This will reduce the number of children who fall through the cracks. An UNO can start a midday meal programme in every school with the financial support of local public representatives of the society, well-to-do people, students, various donor organisations, and the Social Marketing Company. This will reduce the dropout rate. Younger students can concentrate better after a refreshing lunch break.
The role of parents is crucial in the schooling of the new generation of children, but our rural parents are not very aware of this. They are used to employing children as helpers in their professions to provide for themselves more effectively. Of course, their poverty is the main reason for this case. Therefore, in order to increase awareness among parents for the improvement of education, a parents' assembly can be organised from time to time in each school under the initiative of an UNO.
Students can communicate with their parents about regular school attendance. At the same time, they can take necessary steps for an immediate solution by taking various opinions or suggestions for the improvement of various problems in the school. It is necessary to ensure that our children do not acquire the accursed habit of plagiarism at the very beginning of their educational life.
An UNO can provide support to primary schools by negotiating various government projects to ensure a beautiful school environment. They can do it by providing canopies for parents to sit in, creating flower gardens in front of the school, clearing the surrounding bushes and forests, and planting various fruit trees and flowering trees.
Apart from this, to ensure an adequate educational environment, an UNO can take actions to make buildings and rooms, as well as to provide chairs, tables, tool benches, white boards, fans, water filters, flower tops, connecting roads, the construction of boundary walls, field filling, the construction of toilets and tubewells, etc., according to the needs of each primary school. In these matters, if necessary, an UNO can request financial allocation from the higher authorities.
If law and order is maintained, it is possible to improve all fields, including education and culture. As the president of an upazila law and order committee, an UNO plays a special role in the management of law and order. An UNO can take action through mobile court so mothers, sisters, workers, and female teachers who come with school going children can perform their duties safely. Moreover, if there is a local problem with the land of the school, an UNO can quickly take legal action to solve the problem.
Apart from this, cub scouting activities are a fruitful step in the physical and mental indoctrination of children. Every school needs to have a cub scout programme. An UNO can take measures to enforce a daily assembly and mandatory physical exercise, as well as hoisting the national flag before the start of classes and a 'camp fire' once a year. An UNO, as the president of Upazila Scout, can enforce the children to do various tasks as team members and implanting a mindset of living together peacefully in the society.
All textbooks for primary education are freely provided by the government. An UNO can ensure that new textbooks reach children on 1 January every year. If the new textbooks are guaranteed to reach children on time, children will go to school happily and concentrate on their studies. Therefore, an UNO can arrange strict supervision through the Upazila Education Officer to ensure that there is no irregularity in the distribution of books.
Moreover, the inadequacy of warehouses for storing books exists in almost every upazila. If an UNO pays attention to this issue, this problem can be solved easily.
Above all, an UNO can organise a programme to honour the students who have won scholarships in the final examinations every year by motivating charitable people in the upazila. This award ceremony can be organised by the upazila's local political leaders, parents, and teachers. So, the students of the schools will focus on their studies and it will be possible to create positive competition between schools to achieve good results. Therefore, the role of an UNO in the overall control of primary education in each upazila is undeniable.
Md Harun-Or-Rashid is an Upazila Nirbahi Officer at Austagram, Kishoreganj